There are many benefits of working from home – autonomy, flexibility, no office drama, etc.
But one of the biggest – and least utilized – benefits of working from home is the ability to fully customize a healthy work space.
No more being crammed into that cold and dull “junior associate” office, or trying to wade through cubicle land just to send a few e-mails.
Work from home professionals can create a work space that maximizes comfort, health, and inspiration.
Are you ready to design a healthy home office?
Here are four tips to get you started:
Get the right desk
Selecting the “right” work desk is essential – do not simply turn your old kitchen table or dorm room dive find into your new workstation. “Any old desk” simply won’t do.
Desk height is extremely important, as a desk that is too short will force you to hunch over in an unhealthy fashion, while a desk that is too high will cause wrist and shoulder problems. The standard height suggested for an office desk is around 34 inches, but you can alter this slightly for your own specific requirements.
Another consideration with desk selection is workspace – how much workspace do you need vs. how much will simply get covered with unused office clutter. For some professionals, four foot desk top is perfect, for others, eight feet may be necessary. Consider your personal workspace needs and choose accordingly.
We’ve all spent hours in a non-ergometrically designed chair – ugh! In addition to not being comfortable, these chairs are also not healthy. Long term use of ill-fitting chairs can cause a variety of problems: back pain, circulation issues, muscle cramps, etc.
Invest is the best work chair you can possibly get, as this will make a big difference in both your health and productivity. Ergometrically designed chairs offer ample back support and ensure that you are never over-stretching or getting into bad habits as you focus on work.
I’m a big fan of the exercise ball chairs. These unique office additions allow you opportunity for abdominal exercise throughout the day and can drastically improve your sitting posture. While not for everyone, if you’re a yoga lover sick of the old school swirly chair, exercise ball “chair” may be worth a look.
Sitting is the new smoking
Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, stated, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
Sitting is the new smoking – yowsers!
Who’s ready to started eliminating that sitting? Good news: there are a variety of non-sitting options for today’s professionals. Everything from treadmill desks to standing desks. Main thing is to find a sitting alternative that works for you.
Personally, I like varying my desk platforms between sitting and standing throughout the day. You can shop for standing desk converters that can be utilized with most standard desks. Side note: if you’re considering a standing desk, but not ready to take the leap, try working on your kitchen counter (standing). Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, or invest in a cushy rug. While the kitchen counter top work station isn’t exactly like a standing desk, it’ll let you get the feel of working upright and help you decide whether standing is the way for you to go before making a big ticket purchase.
The decor of our office space also plays into our health. Poor lighting, bad ventilation, and an overall depressing interior can certainly drain our energies and dampen our productivity. It’s important to ensure your workspace is not only functional, but inspirational. Here are a few tips for designing an inspirational space just for you:
- Two light sources – utilize both artificial and natural lighting sources for your workstation. Don’t let some blinking iridescent bulb be your primary source – place your desk by a big window and open the blinds. Sometimes, I even take my workspace out on to screen in porch – it’s perfect.
- Wall display – Experts agree that starring at the computer screen continuously will may our eyes tired and can even cause maladies such as headaches. Break up the screen monotony by glancing away at aesthetically pleasing art of even personal pictures. Some psychologists even recommend looking at something green to encourage creativity throughout the day.
- Bring outside in – By bringing outdoor elements like sunlight, green plants, a refreshing breeze, and even our favorite pooch into our office space, we can help improve our quality of health. Plants can improve air circulation, and all elements help make the office look a little more “natural” and relaxing. Your blood pressure will thank you.
Designing a healthy office space is an often neglected element of working from home; however, by implementing proper office furniture, improved working posture, and creating an inspirational space, today’s home based professionals can greatly improve their overall health. Don’t put off creating your productivity powerhouse even longer. Visualize how much better your work experience will be as your health improves and you begin to enjoy a better quality of life.