Create a healthy home office

& make working from home more bearable

Photo image by @mrlefvander

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We are certainly living in wild times, people fighting over toilet paper, the tube closing down for an entire weekend and almost everyone in London working from home … the city has officially gone into hibernation.

As more and more people find themselves turning the dining table into the ‘home office’ we thought it would be a perfect time to pass some tips on how to create a workspace at home that will enhance your productivity and wellbeing. Whether you are after a quick fix or looking to invest in a set up for long term use, we have you covered.

Photo image: @consolidatedpropertiesgroup

transform the humble chair

Believe it, you can transform your existing dining chair into an ergonomic chair immediately, it’s all about your posture and pelvic tilt. Almost every chair has one of two problems: they’re either too deep or too soft. However, if you follow these two simple steps below you can make any chair comfortable and sit with a straight spine.

Quick fix

step 1: Sit on the edge of the chair
This means forgetting your backrest and siting towards the edge of your seat. Ideally your knees should be at about 120DEG (not 90DEG) which prevents your pelvis from tilting in the wrong direction and avoiding the ‘C’ shape in the spine. Having our legs at 120 degrees achieves what NASA calls neutral body position, which is the ideal position for sitting for long lengths of time.

step 2: Build a perch
OK you are now officially ‘perched’ but if your chair is upholstered it is more than likely too soft. Balance expert Jean Couch recommends fixing this by ideally buying a sitting wedge or just simply fold up a wool jumper. This helps in two ways, firstly it prevents the hip bones from falling back and secondly it aids in getting our knees to the desired 120DEG angle. Check out Sitting Well for some affordable wedge options.

Long term investment

If working from home is going to be you for the foreseeable future, then investing in an ergonomic chair is worth considering. The height adjustability, lumbar support and even seat tilt mechanism in some will offer that next level support. There are plenty on the market, though the tricky part is finding an option that is within budget and doesn’t look like a call centre office chair.

Best Looking – Saul Chair
Most Affordable – House Chair
Best for Posture – HAG Chair
Best all rounder – Sayl Chair

source image: @mrlefvander

get level with your screen

Quick fix

So now the dining chair is ergonomically sorted, it’s time to pimp out your table. Just adding a laptop stand or a monitor arm, will make a huge difference to your posture and overall work environment. It is really important to ensure the screen is centred and at the correct height for your eyesight as this will help prevent any twisting in the neck.

See below some of our top picks for monitor stands, they look great and are mostly made of sustainably sourced timber. Books underneath the laptop to prop up the screen, combined with a wireless keyboard and mouse also work as an immediate solution.

Huxlo
Helmm
Freedesk

Long term investment

For most people the above will be a suitable solution, but for those of us that are looking for something that will adapt at the press of a button, then perhaps investing in an automatic sit to stand desk is worth considering. The Woods Adjustable Desk or Flex Height Desk are great options as they do not look too corporate and can blend nicely into your home office vibes.

source image: @normarchitects

set the right light

Knowing the difference between good vs bad blue light and when it’s required to produce certain hormones like cortisol or melatonin throughout your day is vital in creating a healthy home and work environment.

So how do we best support our hormone function whilst working from home? Nothing beats the positive effects of natural light. Orientating the desk towards a window that overlooks nature is a great start. The natural light will signal to the brain to be awake and functioning whilst looking out the window every hour, particularly onto nature, is a perfect resting point for the eyes.

To minimise eye strain even further, we recommend installing software that reduces the ‘bad’ blue light and flicker emitted from our screens. This flicker is not visible to the eye and can cause severe eye strain and headaches over a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, our monitors are not the only thing that emit bad blue light, the LED globes in our lighting do too. As a compromise we would recommend fitting any existing task light with an LED globe that has customisable temperature control so that the light being emitted from you task lighting mimics the sun.

Quick fix

Flux software is free to download and adapts to all timezones so the colour of your screen will adapt accordingly to nature’s clock.

Long term investment

Iris takes things to the next level. It decreases the amount of blue light emitted from the screen and allows users to control the brightness without the flicker. Alternatively, if you are really concerned about flicker then special monitors can be purchased with flicker free technology.

source image: @nicolasschuybrowek

breathe in some good air

Indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Increase ventilation by throwing open the windows, this reduces moisture levels and allows stale indoor air and heating systems to circulate better.

Quick fix

Open the window for 15-20mins every few hours. This gets the fresh air circulating which is essential, especially if you’ve been cooking with gas close by as this releases toxic nitrogen dioxide.

Long term investment

An air purifier on its own does not reduce air pollution adequately, however combining it with opening the windows as well as regular cleaning with eco friendly cleaning products will make a huge difference. Make sure the air purifier has a HEPA filter system which ensures the removal of smaller particles. Our favourites are Blueair 405 Air Purifier , Phillips Air Purifier, Blue Air Blue Pure 411.

Alternatively, for a natural solution plants like English Ivy are great positioned near computers and printers as they assist in purifying the air by absorbing toxins like ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene.

image source: @marsplusask

declutter the space

Here we like to put our Marie Kondo hats on and encourage the elimination of clutter to make space for the work that really matters. The key philosophy is to be a little bit more introspective and consider what items are actually needed to have a productive day. Surrounding yourself with clutter and mess will contribute to a feeling of disorder and anxiety, even if it is on a subconscious level. So, make sure you have sufficient storage to hide away your work life in order to switch off better in the evenings.

Quick fix

Consider all of the items surrounding your workspace and ask the question whether they are required to fulfil your workday potential. This can range from a notepad and pen to a piece of art that you find restful to look at. Remember to commit yourself to tidying up, do a little bit each day to prevent the mess from snowballing and becoming an unbearable task.

Long term investment

16 boxes a Berlin company creating sustainable and minimalist furniture storage which is perfect for those who like flexibility.

Kartotek a Danish design and stationery brand who produces probably the most beautifully simplistic pieces. They are very conscious with their suppliers to ensure earth friendly production.

 

WHO ARE WE?

We’re two down-to-earth Aussie gals sharing a passion for quality design and designing spaces that improve your well-being.

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