As more and more people embrace working from home, whether part-time or full, it is important to look at comfort in the home work space. Many people entered the pandemic by putting a laptop on a dining table (or even a coffee table!) and trying to work from there. Unfortunately, dining chairs and sofas simply aren’t designed for sitting up straight for eight hours or more and back pains and other discomforts can arise pretty quickly. If you are not comfortable while working, you will naturally be less productive and have less job satisfaction.
Here’s our guide to the best home office basics:
Office chairs can range from the basic ‘typist’ style through to full leather recliners with built-in foot and armrests (some of them even have massage functions if you want to go all-out) – but they all have one thing in common. A well designed office chair will encourage the user to sit up straight, and in a position most conducive to comfortable, physical strain-free working at a desk.
Whatever your budget, for maximum comfort you should at least get a chair with a height-adjustment function, so you can align your body correctly with your desk and your computer screen.
If you have the space, a dedicated office desk is an absolute must. No more having to pack away your computer and other electronics, no more having to make sure wires are not trailing across your shared living space. An office desk lets you set your equipment and documents up exactly as you want them, and in the most comfortable and easy to access way possible. Think about adding drawers or other storage touches to really improve your space.
So far, so obvious. What is less obvious is the humble chair mat. These are hard-wearing mats designed to provide a barrier between your chair and your carpet or flooring, preventing any scuffs, bald patches or divots from permanently ruining your space. If you don’t have a dedicated office space (ie. you’re in a corner of the living room) you can find chair mats that roll up for easy storage, although most suppliers will be able to provide you with a transparent mat that doesn’t affect your aesthetics too much.
The unavoidable effect of more remote working is more video-calling. You can use a well positioned bookcase as a professional-looking backdrop for your calls – and, if you are making calls to people outside your business, consider company-focused items, awards and products/models. If not, use the space to show off some educational achievements – just make sure that everything is professional so that if your boss calls you unexpectedly, you have nothing to hide!
Unless you are self-employed or freelancing, it’s likely that your computer equipment is supplied by your company. Don’t hesitate to add some peripherals that can improve your comfort and productivity, though; an external keyboard and mouse can make your laptop a lot more comfortable to use at home, and can be picked up very inexpensively.
Desk or room lighting is very important, especially as we move into the winter months – eye strain can result in headaches and poor eyesight, so try and make sure you have a good ambient environment. LED lighting is bright and energy efficient or, if you struggle with lack of vitamin D, you could get a daylight-replicating bulb that helps with seasonal affective disorder.
Lastly, consider the temperature of your office – a cheap desktop fan can be a real game-changer in the summer, while a fan heater can save you money on central heating in the winter months (you don’t need to heat your entire home if you are only in the office!).