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  • Sarah OConnor


Updated: Dec 7, 2021

How to be most productive when working from home

July 2020

Are you beginning to realise that working from home is going to last a lot longer than you anticipated and now you really should re-think working from the kitchen table which is giving you a sore neck, shoulders and back ache?

Many companies have started to announce that they will change the way they will work and leave it up to employee as to whether they want to come back into the office at all or a few days a week. Are you likely to be one of those taking them up on this?

It is time to really look around the house and see if there is a little space you can carve out for yourself, it doesn’t need to be a whole room or a big space – just a niche under the stairs or a blank wall between two areas that you can add a fold out desk and some shelves if needed. Your office space just needs to work for you. I have carved out a space in my apartment measuring 1m x 1m which manages to house a large monitor, a keyboard and mouse and it works wonderfully. I have now added a good office desk chair which ensures I am sitting comfortably. Most companies are also offering their employees office equipment like this to enable better working. If yours is, take advantage, as you could be here for some time.

The world is changing and working from home is going to become the new norm for many.

Let's have a look at the 5 key things you should consider when looking to create an office space?

DESK This is achieved simply and easily. IKEA do desks for €45 and they have a storage drawer, but many other companies are offering great solutions too. Check out Irish company GIBSS design they have unique designs for €149. If you are in an apartment and are struggling to find space, you can consider a fold down desk that you can attach to the wall.

LIGHTING Ideally, if you can place your desk near a window you will gain the therapeutic benefits from natural light and whatever view is outside your window. A study conducted by researchers from the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University found that working in sunlight-illuminated offices were 84% less likely to suffer from eyestrain and headaches. If this is not achievable and your space needs to be in a darker corner, then you will need a table lamp or overhead light, ideally as bright as it can be to mimick natural lighting. Try to use a 3,000 to 5,000 Kelvin lightbulb where you can.

STORAGE As you will need somewhere to write, try and keep as much info/data as possible on your laptop and adopt a minamalist approach to your desk (although a nice plant will also work wonders). A mouse, keyboard and laptop only, is ideal, but if you are a person who needs much more near or around you, try to put up a shelf and any desk you buy, try to get one with a drawer to store pens, pads etc.

CHAIR This is very important and worthwhile going to buy one if you don’t have an ergonomic chair you can use. This will affect your health long term if you end up hunched over your desk with incorrect neck alignment and bad posture. The most important thing to consider when choosing an office chair is how it supports your back. Your office chair should feature additional fabric or material on the bottom of

backrest to protect against low back pain.

DECOR If you want to get greater benefits from your new office space, you can add to it by making it look good. When you are at the office you have no control over this, now you do and it will help your mental wellbeing. It can also affect your productivity and overall success. Paint it whatever colour you desire, but remember, reds and oranges can instill a feeling of anxiety, so best to choose colours that are calming and relaxing, such as blues, greens or more neutral colours. You can use this colour on a feature wall as oppose to painting the whole room. Alternatively, you can hang a poster or a favourite picture to inspire you and remind you what you work for, such as a picture of a holiday destination or a family photo. Try adding some nice wallpaper on the wall in front of your desk or to the sides, as it will separate it from the other space it sits within and zone it as a dedicated office space.

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