Have you turned your kitchen table into a pop-up office? Or adapted your ironing board into a makeshift desk? As working from home (WFH) becomes the new normal for many of us, we asked Interior and Environmental Designer Naomi Sweeney how to create the perfect, yet healthy WFH space.
ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY
If you have the space for a dedicated office, investing in task seating which correctly supports your body while sitting minimises the risk of back and neck pain. Your seat should have height adjustment, as a minimum, and be designed so arms and legs are in a correct seating position, with lumbar and neck support.
Movement is one of the best ways to minimise fatigue and RSI related injury. Alternating between standing and sitting is a great way to increase blood flow and there are many home office friendly sit and stand desks available – even ones that can be hidden in a cupboard when not in use. Failing that, kitchen counters make a good impromptu laptop rest!
EMBRACE THE DAY
Daylight is incredibly important for our well-being so spending your working day near a window is beneficial. Consider the position of workspace so as to eliminate glare throughout the day – north light is the most consistent – and allow for compensatory artificial light for times of shading, or in the evenings. Ideally the temperature (colour) of artificial light should vary throughout the day to mimic daylight and advances in lighting technology have introduced colour changing LED to the mass market, meaning a simple light bulb can achieve this in any light fitting at home.
Having plants around us is beneficial for air quality and our inherent need to connect with nature. If you don’t have green fingers, there are an abundance of zero maintenance options available in living walls sized as alternative artworks in the home.
DON’T FORGET THE KIDS!
Creating an ergonomically sound homework corner for kids can be easier than you might think – and can help build good working habits now, for healthy growing bodies. Little changes like making sure desks are at an age-appropriate height, and paired with a wobble stool to build core strength (and embrace the need to fidget!) can improve concentration. Height adjustable furniture will grow with them, and support home study throughout the school years.
SET THE TONE
Colour has a profound effect on our mood and a splash of paint can change a mindset from play to work. The light in a room can change a colour dramatically, so always look at swatches in the room you are working in to see how the change throughout the day. Earthy tones can provide a comfortable base to build colour personality into – it is still your home after all!
Naomi who trained at Duncan of Jordanstone has been advising clients on workplace design, furniture specifications and ergonomics for over 14 years. Tí Design was established to bring together her interiors experience with the architectural training of her husband David, creating a full design service for home and workplace.
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