By Sarah Marinos
Last updated on: March 20, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Thanks to technology like cloud-based software, high-speed internet, video conferencing, laptops and mobiles, many people can now be at the office without leaving their home.
Around 2 in 3 Australians spend part of their working week at home, getting the job done remotely and avoiding the trials of a daily commute to the office.
Now, with more Aussies working from home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, having your own space to work from is more important than ever.
Whether you’ve got a dedicated office or you’re setting up at the kitchen bench, here are our top tips for creating a home office that works for you.
So, what are the essentials of an efficient home office?
Set up your office in a dedicated room – not in the corner of your lounge or bedroom.
Organise a space that you associate with work, so when you enter that room, you switch into work mode and avoid distractions.
Then you can shut the door and leave work behind at the end of the day.
If you can’t have a separate room, look for a nook or corner of your home that doesn’t get too busy when everyone arrives home from work or school.
Start with the basics when buying furniture
You don’t necessarily need a big desk, as they can become dumping grounds for your mail and things you’ll file away… eventually.
A desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing is ideal.
If you have a standing desk, you’ll spend around an hour less sitting down, according to the Heart Foundation.
Why does that matter? Well, a growing body of evidence is linking prolonged sitting to health issues like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke.
If you can’t avoid sitting for long periods, your office chair should be ergonomically designed to reduce your risk of back injuries.
Choose one that allows you to adjust the angle and height of the backrest, the seating position, tilt and armrests.
Many office furniture suppliers advertise chairs suitable for casual, moderate and all-day use.
Let there be light
Natural light is great, but a desk lamp is useful outside daylight hours and for focused tasks like writing and reading.
Choose a lamp with a clear, bright light. Look for LEDs with a colour rendering index of 85 to 100 – this defines how realistic colours look beneath the light.
Choose a lamp with a focused beam which is adjustable, so you can direct the beam to where you need it.
Choose clever storage
A filing cabinet will keep important paperwork organised and in one place.
Keep your desktop clutter-free with storage trays or racks so everything has its place and you can prioritise what needs to be dealt with first.
Harvard Business Review research has found that if you work in an uncluttered space, you can stay focused around 50% longer.
Decorate your home office in colours that evoke a sense of calm
Colour psychologists say soft blues encourage clear thinking, while green suggests harmony and balance because of its links to nature.
All white is clean but clinical – try it combined with darker blues or greens.