If you are considering a career change and plan on working from home, you will want to create a customized home office designed for optimum production and comfort. Quite often the focus is all on production. And, with good reason. Production is vital to a successful business.
However, a close second…if not tie…is the importance of a comfortable working space. You could be set up for maximum production, but if you are getting stiff and sore shortly after lunch, or depressed by noon, production will falter, regardless of your equipment.
It is equally important, in my opinion, to be able to spend a few hours in your home office, without giving it a second thought. Therefore, I am going to share 5 tips for optimum comfort, so you can achieve optimum production as well.
1. Picking the Ideal Space
Before you buy anything, even a pad of paper, take a look around your home to see where the ideal space for an office might be. While it doesn’t need to be massive, you do need some room to maneuver, as well as not feel all closed in and confined.
Many people opt to use a spare bedroom. If you are currently using that as a guest room, perhaps you can share it, by using a portable air mattress for when company is visiting. Or, what about the attic…or garage?
After you find space that you can dedicate to your office, with the least amount of distractions, take some measurements…
2. Choosing Furniture and Equipment Built for Comfort
I might not be talking about a pillow top mattress, but your office furniture needs to be as comfortable to the work environment as a mattress is to sleep. And, I believe ergonomics is the way to go, if you want to have your best chance of avoiding the typical aches and pains that come with working at a desk all day.
After chatting with a friend about ergonomics, I decided to put significant focus on this area for the article. She had been seeing a chiropractor (for a personal injury due to an auto accident) when she learned a few tips on applying ergonomics to a home office. According to the chiropractor, they will help reduce stress and strains on various parts of our body.
Here is what she shared with me:
- The desk should be at a height that allows for the least amount of reaching. In other words, your upper arms should be resting at your side when working on the keyboard, as well as the head and upper back not leaning over or down.
- Using a chair with lumbar support will help relieve lower back strain, and the lumbar curve rests comfortably in the curve of your lower back. If you don’t have good lumbar support, or are working in a temporary location, try using a pillow or a rolled up jacket or sweater.
- Keyboards are available now with built-in wrist supports. The padded support will help protect your wrists against carpal tunnel.
- Positioning is equally important, as the chair should be close enough to the desk so you are not reaching, and the monitor should be raised to eye level. Both of these positions will help relieve eye strain, as well as strain on the neck.
- Keeping the chair at a height where your feet rests flat on the floor will reduce strain on your lower back, hips, and legs. If your chair is not adjustable, find a box that you can rest your feet on while working.
I am not just relaying information I have been told. I am also speaking from experience. As someone who utilizes ergonomic techniques, I can tell you it makes a big difference in how I feel at the end of the day. Having the energy to enjoy both a successful career and personal life will be in part due to your comfort level when working.
3. Aesthetically Pleasing
A while back I created a room meant for relaxation. So, I studied up on various things that will help produce that within the room. One big area is the color you choose. Some colors are known for their soothing elements, while others rejuvenate. In other words, your mood can be directly affected by the colors in the room.
Greens and blues are known to be soothing, reds are invigorating, and yellows aid in mental clarity. It would be best to do some research on color therapy yourself, so you know which color would be best suited for your individual needs.
Along with color, choose wall art that will benefit and inspire, such as motivational posters. Or, you could hang photos of previous vacations, or vacations you hope to take as motivation.
4. Air Quality
Make sure you have decent air circulation in the room so you are not breathing stagnant air. An air purifier will also help you clear the air if you have allergies. It will also help in drowning out distracting background noises in the home.
5. Lighting up the Room
Fluorescent lighting can be harsh on the eyes, which will lead to eye strain. This can also lead to less than favorable production, as well as being more tired at the end of the day for personal time.
Natural light would be best, of course. But, it’s not realistic to expect the entire room to be properly lit naturally when you are working on papers. So, placing a couple lamps, such as a table lamp, or floor lamp, will help reduce eye strain.
If you are not comfortable throughout the workday, it will most likely lead to shorter days, or less production overall. The goal for many of us when choosing to work from home is to add more quality to our life. So, let’s not stop with the decision. Take it a step further to make sure you are not straining and stressing your mind and body unnecessarily.
About the Author:
Living in White Rock, B.C., Mark Harris is a successful online marketer and writer. He has written on many topics, and was compelled to write on ergonomics after chatting with a friend and relating it to his own experiences. He is writing a series of articles for Chiropractors in Phoenix. Mark is married, in his 30’s, and enjoys spending some quality time on the local beaches, as well as hiking and kayaking.
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