Working from home is a trend that has been emerging for a while but if you're new to the world of conference calls and home workspaces, we've got a few tips on how to keep sane and stay productive.
Get up & get dressed
You might have carved out a chunk of free time in the morning by not having to commute to work but don’t be tempted to hit snooze 5 times before dragging yourself to the desk in your PJs.
Instead, get up and take some time to wake up and focus on your mental health. Things as simple as taking a shower, eating breakfast, reading a book, doing a home workout and get dressed can all help.
If you’re looking for some free daily workout ideas, our good friends at Crossfit Omagh have a free to join Facebook page here. It’s a guaranteed sweat!
Set the mood
The one thing we’ve learnt from working at home is that unlike a regular office, you’re in full control of your environment and can optimise everything to make you feel better, work harder and get results.
We’ve been starting our day with a good coffee, with pour over being our brewing technique of choice. We’ve been using the Kinto Brewer with beans from our friends at Origin Coffee (who are currently offering 20% off all online coffee orders).
But wait, what about the workspace itself?
Sure, some people will have a home office in their house already but chances are most of us are coming at this fresh. In our opinion, the location is more important than the equipment at first. You’ll want to identify a space where you can work and one to act as a breakout space (for gathering your thoughts or taking a break).
Author of TheseFourWalls Blog, Abi Dare also recommends creating separation between your work life and home life. This can be with physical boundaries such as a door to your workspace, putting your laptop away in a cupboard at the end of the working day or simply turning off your desktop / computer / phone.
We mentioned before that one benefit of working from home is being the master of your own environment. This is true too of your desk / workstation. Surround yourself with objects that calm you and inspire you - we’re thinking candles, greenery, books etc. Some of us work better in a clutter-free workspace and others find calmness in chaos - it’s up to you to discover what works best for you.
Our Head of Digital Content, Shaun, has found that his newly installed String Pocket Shelf and recently purchases Menu Echasse Vase have been bringing him comfort whilst working from home. He’s also got a few big house plants that are keeping the space feeling fresh!
Need a desk?
Your kitchen worktop or table will do the trick for now but if you’re going to be working from home for an extended period of time, check out our collection of modern, designer desks.
Our eCommerce Director Richard has a String Shelving Workdesk configuration at home and swears by it. We’ve made this a “ready to buy” product on our website and most finishes are in stock now.
It has been suggested that moving from a seated position to standing regularly increases productivity, concentration and creativity. Sitting for long periods isn’t good for our bodies either - it has been linked to all manner of ailments including back pain, neck pain and a higher risk of diabetes and obesity.
Not ready to go fully standing? The String Works Height Adjustable Desk may be exactly what you need.
What about a chair?
The chair you choose is either going to be your best friend or your worst enemy when working from home. The ideal seating solution will be to opt for a task chair (also referred to as office chair). Task chairs are specifically designed with your posture in mind and as the name suggests, for working from.
Many task chairs will allow the user to swivel, recline and / or adjust the height they sit at. Why it this important? Posture, posture, posture. No job is worth a lifetime of back pain. Posturite.co.uk have some great advice and infographics outlining how to sit with your body’s health in mind you can view that here.
If a task chair is not an option right now, then paying attention to your body position and adding a cushion to your usual chair will help you get by.
Getting the lighting right?
Lighting plays a huge role in any space but when it comes to your workspace your choice of lighting is going to help you relax, avoid eye strain and stay productive.
Ambient lighting is essentially a replacement for sunlight, so this will include ceiling lamps / pendant lights. We imagine everyone reading this will already have that covered.
As the name suggests, this is directional lighting that is used to help users perform a required job such as working at a computer, writing and reading. Desk lamps are a popular source of functional task lighting and offer a direct, intense light.
We recommend a lamp with an adjustable arm and shade like the British classic Anglepoise Type 75 or Artemide Tolomeo. These lamps allow you to direct light where it is needed whilst also providing shade to protect your eyes from overwhelming glare.
We’re big fans of dimmable lamps that, much in the same way as candles, can create a relaxing atmosphere in your space. The Menu JWDA with its neutral concrete base and diffused, dimmable light is a great example. Portable lamps such as the Carrie Lamp are also great as they allow you to use the same light source in different areas of your house (so you don’t need to purchase multiple lamps).
Try using a dimmable table / floor lamp in your breakout space to encourage relaxation and calm.
All work and no play make Jack… an unproductive, irritable, cabin fever suffering boy. Don’t be tempted to sit at your desk all day. Take your lunch break. Take 10 minutes to get up and move to another space to reflect.
When working from home, the line between the working day and evening can sometimes get a little blurred, stopping you from fully switching off and potentially causing burnout. In the same way that we suggested having a place designated for working, we recommend having some areas that you identify as relaxation zones.
This could be a lounge chair by the window, a library area, the kitchen to make some food (if that’s your thing) or a home gym. It’s really up to you. Do whatever helps you relax. Your work will benefit from it and so will your mental health.
Structure Your Day
You’re going to be your own manager when working from home and it’s going to be a lot easier to get things done if you create a routine. Assign yourself a start time, a lunch break and a time at which point you finish up for the day.
Start your day by creating a “to do” list and stick to it. We’ve been allocating time slots to our tasks, so that we know we need to get X,Y & Z done before lunch, for example.
Shop our range of journals, diaries and notebooks here.
Have you got any tips for working from home? We'd love to hear about them!