- If your most common workplace of today is home, then it’s essential to think about ways in which you can make your home office healthier.
- In particular, plants are a natural and easy way to make your home office healthier — but remember to use winter-hardy varieties, as heated homes mean plants require more water.
- These 4 ways to make your home office healthier are easy to implement, and include tips on how to maximize natural light, declutter your space and find the right furniture.
With many countries going into a second lockdown, those that had finally gone back to the office are now, once again, left with no choice but to work from home.
With winter here and cases still high, it’s not surprising that stress levels continue to mount and that loneliness is once again on the rise.
Back in September, survey results from MetLife pointed to an imminent mental health breaking point. Two months after, it’s likely that we’ve reached that breaking point, especially as the weather worsens, which prevents us from enjoying outdoor activities.
The conclusions from the MetLife survey were later confirmed by a survey commissioned by AXA, which found that the number of people stating that they had poor mental health tripled during the pandemic.
Research throughout the years has found that the workplace can have a profound effect on a person’s wellbeing. If the most common workplace of today is home, then we need to think about ways in which we can make our home office healthier.
How to Make Your Home Office Healthier
Almost a year into the pandemic and the return to the office is as uncertain today as it was back in March.
Whether we like to work from home or not, the reality is that we may be looking at an additional several months of home working before we all head back to the office.
How can we make this time more bearable and productive? How can we prevent seasonal affective disorder from getting to us while we socially distance and stay cooped up at home most days?
Below are some ways you can easily create a healthier working environment in your home.
1. Let the light in
This might seem like a challenge, especially during the short, grey days of winter. But allowing natural light has been proven to improve our mood, energy levels, and make us more productive.
If your home allows it, consider setting up your home office near a window and make sure that your curtains are open throughout the day.
If your home doesn’t allow for much natural light to come in, consider using these tricks to maximize the amount of daylight that comes in. One affordable way to do this is to use strategically placed mirrors so that they can bounce light back into the room.
2. Add a green touch
The color green has been said to help lower anxiety levels and help us restore our sense of balance. This is due to the fact that we tend to associate green with nature; and nature has a therapeutic benefit.
One easy way to add a touch of green to your home workspace is by incorporating plants. Here is a list of low-maintenance plants for indoor environments.
Depending on your gardening abilities and your current location, you may want to consider different plant options.
Some winter-friendly plants (that don’t require much light and that can tolerate colder temperatures) are:
- Snake plant
- Aloe vera
- Jade plant
- Rubber tree
If taking care of another living being seems like too much of a daunting task at the moment (we don’t blame you), then consider getting a plastic plant. Though it won’t bring as many benefits, it can still have a soothing effect.
3. Declutter your space
Whichever room you decide to set up your home office, make sure that it’s kept neat and tidy.
Visual clutter can clutter our minds, which can lead to increased stress levels and anxiety. Clutter can also lead to lower productivity levels and you may find that you’re more easily distracted throughout your working hours.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t have any clutter at all in your home. It just means that you should aim to keep your work area as organized and clean as possible.
Some tips to keeping the home office organized (even in small spaces):
- Invest in some storage options (a filing cabinet, a plastic box, decorative boxes).
- Keep cords and cables to a minimum and if possible, keep them untangled.
- Make sure that whatever is on top of your desk is only what you need; everything else can be stored away until you need to use it.
- Categorize items and label them, if applicable.
- If you have to print a lot of documents, make sure you’re only printing those that are necessary and have a filing system in place. This will not only help keep your desk clutter-free, but it will also make it easier to find the right document in a matter of seconds.
4. Invest in the right furniture
Depending on the size of your home, you may have an entire room dedicated to your home office… or you may find yourself working from the living room couch.
Regardless of the setup you pick, it’s crucial that you have the right support in place (literally and metaphorically speaking).
Consider investing in an ergonomic chair if you’re working from a desk or consider investing in a couch desk if you’re working from your sofa.
The right furniture can go a long way in preventing common aches and pains like backaches, headaches, and overall body stiffness.
Our physical and mental health are interconnected. Ensuring that we don’t strain ourselves physically will help keep our mental health in check.