How to Create the Ultimate Home Office
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people working remotely has increased exponentially in recent weeks. Although much of the environmental benefit could revert as soon as manufacturing resumes normal pre-corona levels; the trend of home working could be here to stay - at least to some, increased, extent.
If that is the case, then it may well be worth investing some time, effort and money into converting the spare room into a custom-designed home office.
Start with a floor plan and go from there...
Find the Best Location in Your Home
Creating your home office starts with pinpointing the location. It may be the case that you’ll have to make do with a corner of the bedroom or the dining room table. If you are running your own business however, as you expand and hopefully generate more profit, you may be able to invest in a separate room or location for your office.
Having a physical barrier between home and business is always helpful, as having boundaries can be vital for reducing stress levels. It can also help to prevent any arguments with the family who may unwittingly interrupt you in your work-flow mind set.
If you do decide to invest in a separate home office, it can be worth weighing up the pros and cons of building an outhouse, an extension - or just buying a bigger house!
Start with the Right Chair
Bad backs and necks are a big problem. By its nature, sitting applies stress to the discs in the spine and the fact that you are going to be sat down for hours at a time makes finding the right chair a priority.
Make sure that you invest in a chair that has adjustable seat height and lumbar support.
There are many alternatives available to the standard office chair. For example, you could purchase a standing desk instead. You can also use a stability ball instead of a chair - engaging your core which helps to support the spine.
Kneeling chairs are also popular; possibly because they are affordable, relatively small and effective at relieving back pain.
The ultimate home office would have space and budget to use several different types of chairs and desks. Rotating between chairs at set intervals during the day would be beneficial in terms of back pain and posture.
Decide What Computer Hardware & Software You Need
Unless you are old-school and prefer to write with a pen & paper, then investing in a computer of some sort will be necessary for your home office.
Using a laptop has many benefits, as you can work from any room that has a wifi signal. You can even work in the garden, weather providing. If your budget is limited and you want to enjoy the benefits of both a laptop and a desktop computer, consider buying a laptop and a desktop monitor.
Connecting the laptop to the monitor typically involves connected them with a single cable. With the addition of a mouse and a mouse mat, you now have a desktop computer, that can quickly be disconnected to provide a portable laptop.
The ultimate office would no doubt have Apple iMac Pro with a Macbook for a separate laptop.
Get the Lighting Right
Gadgets Can Make You More Productive & Healthier
One of the great benefits of working at home is that you can kit the space out however you want it, without being judged by office colleagues.
Some of the gadgets that the ultimate office would no doubt contain, would include a SAD lamp, a grounding mat, a massage chair, humidifier and even a massage gun!
A SAD lamp is not just for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Check with your doctor before purchasing one - however, it is thought by many that if you are working indoors all day, investing in a SAD lamp can help you produce enough vitamin D3, serotonin and melatonin to significantly improve wellbeing and your mood - compared to working indoors and not getting any natural sunlight.
A grounding (or earthing) mats have been used by electricians for years. Not only do they protect you from potentially fatal electric shocks, but grounding mats also have several potential health benefits that are now supported by scientific research. The flow of ‘negative ions’ is said to reduce inflammation and regulate stress-hormone response. You can read more about the benefits of grounding mats in this scientific paper
Aches and pains can be a big problem if you are sitting down all day. As discussed previously, getting the right chair or chairs, is a priority. In addition, a massage chair or cushion can help with circulation and tight muscles. Massage guns have also seen a huge increase in popularity recently, thanks to their ability to reduce muscle tension in specific spots, such as the hips, lower back and neck.
A footrest, fan and even a posture app - that uses your laptop's webcam to check your head-position, are all additional gadgets that the ultimate home office is sure to be equipped with.
A Virtual Receptionist to Take Calls
No self-respecting office would be complete without its own receptionist. Most home offices don't have room for a full-time employee but this should not prove an issue thanks to the number of telephone answering apps are available.
With a virtual receptionist app like the ones available from Moneypenny and astraqom, you can enjoy many of the benefits of a full time hire, without having to invest in a separate desk within your office. With the 24/7 service, you also enjoy the luxury of switching off mentally, knowing that your virtual receptionist will handle all of your incoming calls; disturbing you only in an emergency.
Plants Are Great for Air Quality
Plants not only improve the air quality in an office, but they also improve the mood of those around them.
In one study:
“participants reported higher levels of mood, perceived office attractiveness, and (in some cases) perceived comfort when plants were present than when they were not present”.
The best plants for oxygen production include Motherinlaw’s tongue (sounds lovely) and the Areca Palm, whereas the money plant is said to be the best plant to have in the office or home in terms of air purification.
If you live in a highly polluted area, it’s possible that having a number of plants (at least four) in your office, could reduce the incidence of dry eyes and even improve lung function.
Just make sure that children and animals can’t get to the plants for a quick nibble, as many of them are poisonous.
A Room with a View
The ultimate home office would definitely enjoy floor to ceiling windows with a view of the sea - with blinds or a tint so that you could still see your monitor and use the top of the range iMac!
Research conducted by American scientists using data from New Zealand found that people who enjoyed a view of the ocean were significantly happier than those who didn’t. The data was so compelling that the researches recommended that more affordable housing should be built near coastlines so that more people could enjoy the benefits of a ‘blue view’.
If you don't live especially near to the coast, perhaps you could convert a campervan into a mobile office?