Tips to create the perfect home office

Many Canadians are finding themselves working from home to remain compliant with social distancing protocols to curb the coronavirus pandemic. If that's you, you'll want to set up a space in your home to work instead of arbitrarily plunking your paperwork anywhere with an empty space.

Whether you work from home on your own accord or have been forced to carry out your duties remotely because of the current health crisis, setting up a designated workspace that's conducive to productivity and efficiency is key. At the same time, you also want to be comfortable and respect your home life without compromising it with work.

Here are some tips for creating an ideal home office space for maximum comfort and productivity.

Separate your work and living spaces

One mistake that a lot of work-from-home professionals make is not segregating their work stations from their everyday living spaces. Whether it's working from your kitchen table, couch, or even your bed, not defining your workspace can compromise productivity, especially with other family members roaming about.

Your brain needs to associate your office with work, and it will have a tough time doing that if you're working in your bedroom or living room where you would otherwise use those spaces to relax.

You need to focus on your work, and the best way to do that is to create a space that eliminates distractions. Designating a specific room for your home office is an effective way to ensure productivity.

Choose a space with lots of natural light

An office with limited windows is not a pleasant environment to be stuck in for hours at a time. If possible, try to pick a room in your home that has ample natural light filling the space.

A room full of natural light not only feels better, but it can also help boost your productivity levels. What's more, working in a room with plenty of natural light can also improve your attitude and mental health. It can also promote better sleep at night, leaving you feeling more rested and ready to tackle another workday at home.

Install ambient lighting

If your designated workspace has little natural light, consider adding some ambient lighting to keep it bright and cheery. Use a desk lamp or LED rope lights to fill the space with warm, mood-boosting light.

Add some greenery

There's a reason why houseplants are popular. For one, they look pretty and add some decorative flair to an interior. But even more importantly, they're good for our health, both physically and mentally.

Plants can help reduce stress, which is a big perk given the current state of affairs that has prompted you to work from home. But a healthy dose of greenery in your home office can also increase productivity so you can get your work done efficiently.

Go ergonomic

You want your workspace to be designed with comfort and efficiency in mind, which is where ergonomics comes into play. When creating a home office, keep ergonomic principles in mind. Sit in an ergonomic chair at a height that keeps your forearms parallel to the ground and your eyes at the level of your computer screen. Considering how many hours a day you'll be sitting at your desk, getting yourself an ergonomic chair will be worth the investment.

Invest in a desktop

Laptops are convenient, but they're not the ideal type of computer to use if you're going to be typing all day. A traditional keyboard with raised keys that click when pressed is easier and more comfortable to type on than a typical laptop keyboard.

Otherwise, consider getting yourself a separate keyboard that can be synced with your laptop. Sure, they can be a bit noisy, but there are "quiet keyboard" versions available that promise to minimize all that clicking sound that is commonplace with the average model.

Consider adding a second screen

If you're constantly switching from one window to another, you might want to consider an additional computer screen. Instead of clicking back and forth between windows on one screen, you can keep a couple open at the same time on different monitors for the ultimate in multi-tasking and productivity.

Install screen light filtering software on your computer

Your circadian rhythm is an internal process in your body that regulates this cycle and responds to light and darkness. During the day when it's light out, mental alertness is promoted. And when the sun goes down and it gets dark out, your body is supposed to relax.

If you plan to keep late hours while working from home, consider installing a light filtering software for your computer screen. Otherwise, all that "blue light" that your computer screen emits will mess with your sleep-wake cycle.

Ideally, you want to be exposed more to warm light than blue light at night when your body is preparing to rest. Installing a screen light filtering system can help to reduce blue light that is typically emitted from your screen; this will keep your circadian rhythm in check and ensure that you're still able to rest at night and be alert and energetic during the day.

Use a standing desk

There are a lot of things wrong with sitting for too long. It can promote a sedentary lifestyle, which means you're not burning many calories while you work. But at the same time, you have to work to pay the bills.

A standing desk kills two birds with one stone. Research suggests that standing burns 0.15 calories more per minute than sitting. That might not sound like a lot, but when you multiply all the hours you spend at your desk every day, week after week, those numbers can add up. Plus, it just feels good to get up and stretch your legs for a period of time, and with a standing desk, you don't have to take your time or attention away from your work to do that.

Lisa Rennie has been working as a freelance writer for over a decade, crafting unique content aimed to educate Canadian consumers. Her constant state of curiosity and incessant need to get the answers to her never-ending questions serve her well as a content writer. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys trying her hand at exciting new recipes, snuggling with her pup, and reveling in the presence of her kids.

Lisa Rennie is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.

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