How to make your home office a healthy workspace
Working from home is becoming increasingly popular as more and more office workers are given the opportunity to work remotely for at least a few days a week. However, with no need to leave your house to get to work, there is even less opportunity for exercise. You can compensate for that by choosing the right office furniture to make your home workspace a healthy and active environment. These tips will help you get started.
Separate your office from your living space
When working from home it’s tempting to sit back on your sofa with your laptop balanced on your knee, but that’s not a healthy way to work. It’s important to distinguish your work area from the rest of your home and create a dedicated office space where you can sit up properly or even stand at your workstation. This will encourage good posture and an ergonomic working position that helps prevent long term back and neck pain.
Stand up to work
Given that working from home often means that any walking or cycling you would have done as part of your commute is eliminated, it is important to try to fit a little light exercise into your day. Standing at your desk is a great start. Being able to vary your position as you work can make a big difference to your overall health and wellbeing. As the name suggests, a sit stand desk lets you sit for part of the day and then stand for part of it, making it easy for you to switch between the two throughout your working hours. You could add a balance board or active standing desk mat that will encourage you to keep moving as you stand. Electric standing desks are now available fairly cheaply online and are a simple way to add more movement into your workday.
Invest in an ergonomic office chair
If you would prefer to sit to work, make sure you choose the best office chair for your body. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to office chairs but there are some key features to look out for to ensure your chair offers good ergonomic support. Look for a chair that allows you to adjust the angle of both the seat and the backrest and either fix them in position or leave them in rocking mode. It should also give you the option to change both the seat height and backrest height as well as adjust the amount of lumbar support. Find out more about how to choose the right office chair.
Have a home gym and a home office in one!
Save space and money by creating a home office and a home gym in one with a desk bike. At home no-one will know if you’re wearing your gym clothes and looking a bit sweaty so, as long as you’re not on a call, you can exercise while you work. Unlike a normal exercise bike, a desk bike doesn’t have handles so you can still sit comfortably with your forearms resting on the desktop and reach your keyboard. The idea is to maintain a low speed to boost circulation and keep your body moving. Of course, if you want to push yourself to the limits and do a more high-intensity workout either while you work or in your free time, there’s nothing stopping you! The bike will track the speed and distance you pedal as well as calorie consumption, helping to keep you motivated and pushing you to do a little bit more each day.
Sit on an exercise ball desk chair
Continuing with the gym theme, a Pilates chair is a great way to combine your work with a workout! It helps you build your core muscle strength by forcing you to use those muscles to keep yourself upright to counteract the natural bounce and movement of the ball. While sitting at your desk, you will sit with your feet flat on the ground for balance, which improves blood circulation by opening up the angle between your legs and upper body compared to sitting on a regular seat. Improve your fitness further by doing simple Pilates chair exercises.
Get the light right
Make sure the lighting in your office is sufficient. If possible, place your desk near a window to maximise daylight exposure. Natural light will help you to stay focused, awake and productive. Because home lighting is rarely as bright as office lighting, you should use a desk lamp to ensure your workspace is adequately lit so you don’t strain your eyes. This is especially important on dark evenings over the winter months.
Other simple steps can also help you stay fit and active when working from home: walk around the house when you take phone calls, take a proper lunch break and go for a walk or even use the time you save by not commuting to do a morning workout.