What the ideal work-from-home space looks like

Whether you’re working from have a home office or your kitchen table, a few tweaks can make your remote desk a healthy and productive place to be.

With working from home – at least on some days – seemingly here to stay, finding a good spot to toil away is becoming increasingly important.

From making sure everything is ergonomically sound to introducing greenery for calm and key tweaks for productivity, here is how to make sure your space is optimised for a better work day.

Invest in your desk

Given the hours you spend at work, your work desk is not something you want to just improvise (we’re looking at you, makeshift ironing board desks).

“The more comfortable you are, the more efficient and productive you are,” says ergonomics expert Marnie Douglas.

“The biggest problem we see is people working directly from a laptop on a desk or dining room table,” says the director of Ergoworks Physiotherapy and Consulting.

A study of 300 students using laptops found more than 77 per cent experienced at least one musculoskeletal complaint.

“Looking down for extended periods of time creates tension through the muscles in the neck and shoulders and can often lead to discomfort,” Marnie says.

“The good news is, this is a really easy fix by using laptop stands with a separate keyboard and mouse, which will raise the height of the screen up to eye level.”

Marnie says it is important to avoid working from the floor, lounge or bed, as this can create a flexed spinal posture.

Ensure everything at your desk is adjusted for comfort.

For example if your desk chair feels too low, Marnie suggests propping yourself up with cushions to ensure you’re at a comfortable height.

indoor plants

Green your environment

Introducing plants into an office space can significantly increase workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality, according to a UK study.

Good indoor plants can positively affect air quality and reduce VOC (volatile organic compound) loads by up to 75 per cent, according to Deakin University plant biologist John Patyowski.

When it comes to choosing office plants, The Plant Society co-founder Jason Chongue suggests looking for species such as:

Devil’s ivy

“This has a creeping and vining nature so you can keep them in smaller pots and allow them to ramble around your office,” says Jason.

Radiator plant

“These are compact growing table plants that can sit on your desk without taking too much valuable paper space,” says Jason.

Zanzibar gem

“If your office suffers from low light, zanzibar gems can withstand lower light conditions and still soften your office with its dark green foliage,” says Jason.

Let the sun flow in

Positioning your work space in the most light-filled spot of your home could have a health and efficiency pay-off.

A US study found workers in day-lit office environments experienced more alertness, an increase in productivity and less symptoms of prolonged device and computer use at work such as headaches, eye strain and blurred vision.

Remind yourself to move

Yes, we want to put in an honest day’s work while working from home but it doesn’t mean you have to chain yourself to your desk.

One of the biggest mistakes people make working from home is not moving enough, says Marnie.

“Changing your posture regularly throughout the day is important, also going for a walk, stretching or even just standing up can help to reduce muscle tension,” she says.

If you’re likely to forget doing this, enlist the help of a timer to remind you to regularly take breaks and move around.

“A good home working set up with the appropriate heights and lots of movement throughout the day should result in less discomfort, allowing you to conduct your job as productively as possible,” says Marnie.

Written by Tania Gomez