Working From Home: Creating a Zen Office Space
There’s no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis has brought big changes to the ways we work in 2020. Many people have had no choice but to start working from home, and potentially this could be a change that continues on a long-term basis for many industries and countless people around the world.
With ongoing lockdown restrictions we’ve seen working wardrobes evolve into more laid-back versions of themselves, juxtaposing comfort with style, and once formal meetings have blossomed into fun for the whole family. Multitasking home and work life hasn’t been such a prevalent theme in this way before, and it can be hard to separate the two, even at the calmest of times.
Whether you’re working remotely, studying, levelling up your skill set, or spending time searching and applying for work, you can make your space more conducive to your needs.
Find a quiet space
It might seem silly, but sometimes your favourite, most comfortable seat or the most roomy workspace area isn’t going to work for you no matter how lovely they are because others are also sharing the home/building/space outside your window. Trying to work in noisy or busy areas in the home will be stressful in the long run and hinders concentration and productivity.
Solution: Make the swap to a quieter space if possible, even if it’s a temporary setup moving furniture as and when you need to work. The hassle of setting up a few items is worth the peace of mind knowing that you can get in “the zone” without fear of distractions or interruptions.
Make sure you are comfortable
If you have to create a workspace in an unusual but quiet area of the home, it’s important that you aren’t sacrificing your comfort and sitting in an unsuitable position. If possible, it’s worth investing in a suitable chair that works for your requirements – we are all different and have elements that we like and dislike, and things that will depend on how we need to work and move for any extended period of time.
Solution: If your workspace feels uncomfortable, but purchasing new furniture pieces isn’t an option, first check these key elements: is your chair supporting your back properly? Adding cushions is a quick fix that can raise you up to reach a table or desk that’s too high, as well as providing comfort to your back and neck.
A footstool can also help to easily achieve a more ergonomically correct posture and relieve back pain. A makeshift footstool can be sourced from just about any number of boxes or books to reach the right height and size.
In addition to making sure your body is comfortable, adding a few creature comforts that soothe your other senses can also help you to feel relaxed and ready to work – playlists, artwork, plants, and pleasant scents can all have a positive effect on our mood and help us work smarter.
All work and no play
Several studies suggest that people are in fact more productive when working from home, and sometimes the opposing side of having fewer distractions can go against us and mean we forget to take breaks regularly.
Solution: Set timed reminders to ensure you take regular breaks – it’s important to give your eyes a break from looking at a screen, and to stretch and move when sitting in one position for long periods of time.
Treat yourself with targets and little rewards throughout your working day, such as a mindful tea break, a proper lunch break and some light exercise such as a walk or some light dumbbell weight repetitions.
Don’t go it alone
Queer Eye design guru Bobby Berk highlights the importance of maintaining those important human connections when working from home. He acknowledges that it can feel isolating when you’ve been used to working in a traditional space.
Solution: Bobby recommends making business phone calls video calls instead – it’s still fulfilling your work commitments, but adds some human interaction and connection.
“The person you’re calling will probably be feeling the same isolation too. Connecting with friends and family over facetime is also a valuable tool for dealing in this age of social distancing.” – Bobby Berk
More from Michelle Sciarrotta: