Saturday, 21 October 2017

Make sure your home office space is good for you

WITH estimates of up to 59 per cent of UK employers currently offering employees the chance for their staff to

WITH estimates of up to 59 per cent of UK employers currently offering employees the chance for their staff to work remotely at times, Niki Schäfer, founder of Dwell-Being Interior Design, estimates 50 per cent of home workers will have fallen into the traps of poor seating, lighting or lack of personal space.

An additional estimated 4.2 million people are self-employed as their main job in the UK, but Niki believes there is an epidemic of people working from the dining-room table, shared bedroom or living-room space when working from home.

Niki says: “One of the benefits of working from home is that you can work from a place where you are comfortable and relaxed.

“If you are diligent it is certainly time-saving not to be commuting and you can slip in the washing when you take a well-deserved break. That’s the good news. The bad news is if you haven’t got a separate area in your house as designated home office you can end up using a space that isn’t well lit and furniture that isn’t suited to being used for hours on end. Worst of all, often there is no boundary between the work and home life, both physically and mentally.

“Working in your living room can result in little mental distinction between work and life, meaning you will find it harder to ‘switch off’ after a long day’s work, or you won’t be able to ‘switch on’ when you sit down to work.

“Your working space needs to feel professional to you because it puts you in the right frame of mind.

“More than that we have to feel like we have left the office when we finish for the day otherwise the computer can have a magnetic effect, drawing you back to it, which is both draining and unhealthy when you should be having some down or family time.”

Niki believes the space that you choose to work from is just as important as the work you are doing. Her top tips to help you create the perfect work space are as follows:

1. Good lighting is one of the most important aspects of good workspace design. If you have good natural sunlight, fantastic, but make sure you don’t have a glare on your computer screen. Choose a statement desktop lamp to reduce eye-strain. A lack of natural light can have effects on your health, leading to a diminished immune system, diabetes and premature ageing.

2. Make sure you have the right chair and your computer is at the correct height. Hours spent bent over a coffee table or in an uncomfortable chair can lead to serious health issues.

3. Blue is often used to decorate home offices because research has shown that people are more productive in blue rooms. Break it up with solid wood and a splash of red if you are a creative or neutrals if you are a strategist.

4. Limited space in the work environment is often an issue so de-clutter your desk. Remove unnecessary paperwork, catalogues, files and other office paraphernalia. A clear desk can make us feel much better about our accomplishments. In particular, think ‘Feng Shui Friday’ and clear up before the weekend so you can start your Monday afresh — this works for the inbox too.

5. Floors in your work space also need to be considered carefully. Although the look is important, your floors also need to be practical. Not only do wooden floors look great they can be ideal if you have a wheelie chair. However a rug can break the space if you’re trying to encourage different thinking in different zones.

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