We’ve all become remote workers, and no matter how much we might be sick of hearing this, it looks as if remote working is fast becoming the new normal.
Co-workers are now floating heads on computer screens. If working from home is “the future of work”, how do we elevate our space to differentiate our desk from the couch?
Whether you work full-time or part-time, you’re at least partially locked inside your home office on workdays, and you may be feeling sick of the conditions of your workspace.
Hunched over your laptop, you’ll have experienced back pain, sore wrists and burnout.
We’ve all been there.
But remote work doesn’t have to be such a slog! You can enjoy being productive, even at home.
All it takes is a few switches in your WFH setup so that you can make the most of your time and get in the right headspace.
We’ve compiled a list of upgrades to help ease you through your workflow so you can get s**t done.
You can’t go wrong with the basics
To work at home, you’ll need to get the basics down first. These essential items include a desk, a chair, sufficient lighting, and a power outlet.
You’ve probably set some of these up in your home over the last year, but we’re here to show you how you can crank things up a notch!
A home office desk for getting the job done
Although you might be tempted to use the dining table, a coffee table or a cheap desk (you found in the hard rubbish), a good desk is a worthwhile investment.
Of course, any decent quality desk will do the trick, but have you considered a standing desk?
In case you were wondering, it’s a table that can automatically adjust its height at the touch of a button.
This setup could be a lifesaver for your work from home schedule, especially after long hours sitting down.
Being able to stand up to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing is worth more than the potential savings from that old desk that’s been taking up all your space.
An ergonomic chair for your back and bum
But if sitting is an essential part of your working process, then don’t just sit on any spare chair in your house.
Get your backside in an ergonomic chair, and your bum will thank you for it!
An ergonomic chair has the improved cushioning and ample support that your lower back, arms, neck, and head desperately need! (Especially after sitting down all day.)
A solid ergonomic chair will also allow you to adjust different parts of the seat and customise it to your liking.
Still not ready to splurge? Just add an ergonomic seat cushion to upgrade a chair you already own.
Light for alertness and clear sight
Relying on your ceiling lights may be good enough for some, but after being made to stare at a screen all day … you deserve something more!
A desk lamp or standing lamp will keep your desk lit up for all the activities or tasks that you need to accomplish.
During the day, natural sunlight might offer enough illumination for your desk, but a good lamp (LED for something modern or a classic Anglepoise for the traditionalists) will provide that extra light to keep you alert and awake.
A charging dock for power
A power outlet is fine if you only have a laptop and a printer, but for those who depend on tech for work, you’ll need a charging dock where your devices can getallthe power they need.
On top of the functionality, a charging dock makes for a cleaner, minimal set up, which is ideal for those prone to anxiety during the work day.
If your smartphone supports it, wireless charging is another option you can look into.
There’s also a wire basket/organiser if cables are more your thing but you still want to keep them at bay.
Customise your space for flexibility and comfort
Once you have upgraded your setup with the right furniture and tools, it’s time to look into some additions to make your work life a *breeze*.
You can expect more comfort, increased productivity, and a flexible environment, depending on what you mix into your WFH space.
Arranging an ergonomic computer setup
You’ve got your ergonomic chair and standing desk; why not complete your computer setup with some peripherals?
Keep an ergonomic keyboard in mind if your job requires typing-heavy work. In addition, an ergonomic mouse with a soft mousepad will also come in handy with all the clicking you have to do (our wrists are tired just thinking about it).
Speaking of a mousepad, there are larger ones available that will work as a protective cover for your desk while doubling as a mouse.
Expanding your virtual workspace
Once you have your desk setup in order, you can think about your virtual space next.
You’ll either have a laptop or a desktop computer. Whichever you like to work from, you may work better with an extra monitor (or two) on your desk.
An additional monitor will allow you to work on multiple tasks at the same time. You can also open a number of windows, which will make it easier to read in one program and type in the other.
Raise portable gadgets to eye level
An extra monitor grants you additional space for your virtual work, especially if you only have a laptop.
If you purchase a monitor, you might consider a laptop stand to go along with it.
A stand will raise your screen (be it desktop, tablet, mobile or laptop) to a more comfortable level; no more slumped posture the entire day.
Look straight ahead and turn left or right to view all your screens. Easy right?
On a minor note, a tablet or phone stand might might also be a good option for YouTube workouts, following a recipe video in the kitchen and FaceTiming friends.
Greening up the space
Not everything in your work setup has to be mechanical or automated. Bring things down to earth with some houseplants in your room.
Plants have therapeutic qualities, are important for air ventilation and can increase productivity, all of these health benefits are more than welcome in your WFH life.
Mix things up with music
Finally, Bluetooth speakers or noise-cancelling headphones (Top notch goes a long way), or some AirPods if you want to be on trend.
You can immerse yourself in your favourite tracks as you work, giving you some space to breathe amidst your assignments.
For some people, music can help with concentration but If music is too distracting for you, switch to white noise when focussing on your work.
Create a calming and mindful atmosphere
Make it smell fragrant
Now, it all comes down to preference: you can have flowers near you or essential oils for some fragrance. Candles or a simple diffuser might be more your jam.
Either way, scents can be soothing and relaxing, two qualities workers sorely need.
Set the vibes in your home office
You can enhance your houseplants with crystal companions. Crystals are becoming a trend in workspaces now since they bring a different element (literally) to your environment.
Look up “crystal botany”, the combination of crystals and houseplants, and you may become spellbound.
Keep on your bedside table for better sleep and to heal the soul.
Switch off screens (sometimes)
If you want to minimise the eye strain from all the technology, a TV screen that doubles as a piece of art is easier on the eyes.
Or use a screensaver that displays the time for a tranquil view when out of office (so to speak).
Prepare for comfort and keep a massage gun within reach
You can never have ENOUGH comfort while you work.
As long as you’re not in a meeting, you can ditch the “smart casual” and drape yourself in loungewear throughout the workday. (This style is a bit more dressed up than pyjamas but without compromising on the cosiness.)
Keep a massager nearby as well to relieve muscle tension quickly when your neck or back starts hurting.
Bring the cafe to your home
Of course, desk accessories will never be complete without your daily caffeine fix.
You may be at home, but you can still get the perfect brew on your own.
Separate from your desk, keep a small brewing area nearby. Alternatively, take a trip to the kitchen during your break. And voila! Cuppa in hand.
A simple press or plunger works for most, but if you’re in the market for one why not go for an espresso machine?
Make sure you get yourself some biodegradable pods — you can opt for a home delivery service to minimise the work!
Get your blood pumping between tasks
If you’re after the kind of energy lift that caffeine won’t supply, get your body moving with a short workout session!
In moderation, a brief burst of exercise may be the boost you need to get you through a long workday. And some stretches could help with the stiff muscles and joints.
Your regime doesn’t have to be high-intensity either. Even if you lay out a mat and do some yoga, use a kettle bell or an elastic band; that may be all you need to release some endorphins.
Work the way you want
These are just a few ways to improve your home workspace to cater to your needs and desires.
The benefit of working from home is the amount of customisation you can do without needing the approval of others.
So, choose what’s best for you, and remote work might just be the workplace of your dreams!
And when it’s finally time for your head to hit the pillow, a memory foam pillow is the best bet for getting your body the rest and recover it needs.