Worldwide lockdowns obliged almost everyone to work from home, and many had to transform dining room tables, kitchen islands, and bedrooms into (what we thought would be) temporary home offices.
Two years down the line, numerous people continue to work in less-than-ideal ergonomic states – not realising that it can take a massive toll on your health and even lead to long-term pain and problems.
Why invest in quality home office furniture?
Without a dedicated home office space, it is easy to slip into bad habits. Especially with a laptop that makes it effortless to work from bed, meet in front of that presentable wall in your dining room for a call, or catch some late (and maybe early) afternoon rays on the couch. And whilst there is nothing wrong with enjoying your space – the long hours we spend in often awkward positions are doing us no favours.
We can start our day with the best of intentions and do our utmost to maintain our posture, but if we don’t have proper support, our bodies take on unnatural positions.
Most meetings exceed the maximum time we should be sitting in one place, and even if you set out to reset your spine as often as needed, you might not always be able to do so.
When you invest in quality home office furniture, you can focus and get the job done whilst getting optimal support for your body.
Good posture relies on the position of the spine. Therefore, you want your back to be in a neutral state so that there is minimal tension in the spinal structure.
A good office chair should offer lumbar support that helps you to get that backward c-shape in the lower part of your spine. Not only does it neutralise the lumbar curve in your back, but it also helps to open up the thoracic spine to help you breathe better.
This is because the thoracic spine is located roughly between the shoulder and the middle of the abdominal muscles, so it sits in line with your lungs. When you are hunched over, you are reducing the space wherein you can breathe. And when you don’t get enough oxygen, your body starts to send all sorts of stress signals throughout the body, making you feel everything but productive.
At the top of the spine is the third section that curves similarly to the lumbar section. The best way to reduce pain and tension in this area is with ample head and neck support and with proper alignment of the rest of your body. So, even if you have the best office chair, it won’t serve you as best as it can when using it at the dining room table.
There’s a reason why some companies spend a lot of money on creating inspiring spaces where people want to work – these businesses clearly understand that our physical environment has a direct impact on how we feel. One can imagine that a space that is demanding on all one’s senses is not the ideal place to complete stressful and time-sensitive work.
So to remain productive whilst working from home, it is a good idea to invest in quality home office furniture that will help you create an appealing workspace.
Creating an inviting space where you don’t mind spending time will go a long way to boost your productivity whilst working from home. A dedicated workspace is a good idea because it helps you keep work and home separate.
Working in bed all day starts blurring the lines and could easily keep you up all night – thinking about work – because now your body thinks you are still at the office.
You can also bolster your productivity by limiting the distractions in your space. These are not only televisions and other noisy devices but also clutter. Research has uncovered that our brains like order, and those constant visual reminders of disorganisation reduce our ability to focus.
Ideal home office environment
A home office gives us the chance to create a space that inspires productivity, and while comfort is vital in any office, a too casual space may seriously hamper our ability to get things done.
The ideal home office space is also separated from the rest of the goings-on in the home to limit interruptions. Below are some more pointers to help you create the ideal home office environment.
Light it up
A productive home office should have ample light and, if possible, a pleasant view. Look at the colour of the artificial light in the room and opt for globes that emit bright light with high blue content, as this has been proven to help us stay alert and focused.
Try to layer the light in your home office by using a combination of natural, ceiling, and task lighting – like a desk lamp. Recessed lights are also great for a home office space as it diffuses enough light overhead to illuminate the entire room.
Plan your meals
Working in or near your home’s kitchen can be very distracting and may lead to excessive snacking.
The best is to plan your snack and meal times and to prepare meals ahead of time. Ensuring you actually eat is essential because it can be very tempting to just sit at your desk and work through your lunch hour.
Get the height right
A computer desk at the correct height can also help you get more done, and it is definitely worthwhile to get a desk that you can adjust. Most desks are made for people of average proportions, so if your office chair (with armrests) does not fit under the desk when pushed in, you might not be sitting at the best angles.
Take a look at your arms when you sit at your desk. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle, and you should have enough support from your office chair to inhibit you from leaning forward.
Give your mind and body the energy required to function optimally by drinking the right amount of water. A carafe on your desk could help to remind you to take regular sips. You can also add a bit of flavour to help you drink more water instead of sodas. Be mindful of your tea and coffee intake, as caffeinated beverages tend to dehydrate us.