Working From Home: Some Key Considerations

As a business we spend so much time discussing offices. We are always contributing our experience and design prowess to make sure our clients new office spaces are clever, cutting-edge and comfortable. However, given how much we are all now working from home we seem to have neglected our new ‘home offices’.

Some people may be in a dedicated home office, some maybe at the kitchen table, the spare room, sofa or you may have moved yourself out of the house and into the garage or shed! No matter where you now call ‘the office’ you need to make sure you have considered your personal wellbeing, are able to keep productive and maintain a positive work culture.

We have been chatting with one of SM5’s design partners to find out the key considerations for working at home:

Getting enough light

The power of natural light should not be underestimated. It boosts productivity and supports our mental & physical wellbeing. It also helps us get those creative juices flowing whilst making us more efficient.

If it is possible ensure that your home office set up is located near an open window and the room has as much light as possible.

Remaining active

Obviously by working from home we cut out a lot of the moving around we would do when heading to the office. On rainy and cold days that obviously feels like a huge benefit but it is vital that we avoid spending too long in one spot. Often when we work from home we stay in one location and spend most of the day sitting, so it is important to make time to get up and exercise. Whether that is a home workout, a walk round the block, a run or even just pacing around while taking work calls … make sure you avoid spending too long in that chair!

It seems obvious but it is amazing the difference those steps strolling to, from and around the office make when they are removed from our day to day.

Try to set a target of getting up at least once an hour. Even just to go grab a drink or make a phone call from somewhere else. I have a sticky note on the wall to remind me!!

Taking in some nature

Bringing the outside world into your workspace is fantastic for your physical wellbeing and your mental health. Studies have even shown it makes you more productive. It has become a very common theme in office design in recent times, ensuring that spaces have plenty of the great outdoors inside them. Maintaining plants and flowers not only makes the space look nice but watering and caring for them gives you that excuse to get up from the office chair as per the previous point!

It is also important to get out and see the outside nature. Go for a walk if possible to get as much fresh air as possible! You’ll feel much better for it.

Staying connected

We have worked with a few of our clients in 2020 to ensure that their staff are as well set up at home as they were in the office. SM5 have had our engineers out hooking up home offices so that they have everything they need to make sure the business can operate while everyone is working remotely.

We are lucky that in today’s age we have Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp and various other platforms to stay in touch with our colleagues throughout the day. It is important to make the most of these technologies, both from a business efficiency perspective and from a mental wellbeing perspective.

We have lost the social elements of the office by working from home, so it is important to still feel that you still feel part of a team even when working alone. Microsoft Teams and Zoom are great for catch ups and making sure everyone is on the same page work wise and WhatsApp works great for keeping connected informally.

Making sure our furniture is supporting us

We have all sat too long on the sofa with our laptops perched on our knee. It is not particularly comfortable and if we do it for too long, we will quickly start to ache …

When you are at the office, chances are you have an ergonomic chairs and other furniture specially designed to support you and make you comfortable. Laptops and computers are set at the optimum height for our necks and even keyboards support our wrists properly for typing.

Chances are though most of us did not anticipate the amount of time we would be working from home this year and did not invest in ergonomic furniture at home. Working from the dining room chair for eight hours a day is unfortunately going to take its toll after a while.

It really is worth investing in some ergonomic office furniture for the home. Or speak with management about taking some furniture from the office … SM5 have carried out numerous deliveries of office furniture for our clients.

Nobody wants to emerge from lockdown having developed back or hip problems because of the chair they were working from or because they were staring down at the laptop all day.

Coffee breaks

A coffee break is essential when working from home. We need it, not only for a caffeine boost but also it gives us a few minutes break to collect our thoughts and to potentially catch up with colleagues.

Obviously if we were at work your coffee break may be in the kitchen, break out room or local café, which is usually a welcomed opportunity to share your frustrations or achievements with colleagues. Losing this work social life will be tough for some people .. that is why it is vital to still take a break and use the technology available to you to still catch up with colleagues over a cuppa.

Anyway … these are just a few key points we have discussed about making our working from home life easier. We’ve seen a rise in demand for ‘garden offices’ like the one in image above. These are the perfect solution but obviously not practical for everyone!

If you wish to discuss working from home, office solutions or any aspect of design/construction, please feel free to send us a message.

 25th November 2020
/ office

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