AD | Collaborative post
When you are self-employed, especially if you work from home, it’s easy to get into bad habits. The sofa becomes a make shift office, you can work in your pyjamas and you can scoff a whole cake while you work if you want to. The thing is, as nice as all of this sounds, it doesn’t really make for a good or productive working environment. Now that I’ve been self-employed full time for around 3 years I have learned quite a lot about how kind of environment I need at home.
Separate office space
Up until about a year ago my desk was downstairs. We have a large open plan living room/ dining room with a strange extra space coming off it (looks like an L shape) so my desk went along one of the back walls. This worked okay for a while but the space soon became overtaken by Erin’s toys and it just got in the way. It wasn’t a relaxing place to work at and mostly it just stressed me out.
Last year I made the decision to change one of our spare room into a personal office and it has made such a big difference. Instead of having the distraction of the television, toys, cleaning up etc. I now have a space where I am surrounded by work. This is where I keep any items I have been sent to review, it’s where I have my photography equipment set up and it’s where I can work and concentrate better than anywhere else.
Something I am quite bad at is taking enough breaks during a working day but they are necessary for a positive work environment. While I love my home office, I don’t want to be stuck in there all day (roughly 9:30am to 3pm). Being sat in front of a computer or using bright photography lights is no good for you and you need to take regular breaks from these kinds of things. It’s also good to get up, have a stretch and walk around a bit a couple of times during the day. I like to save my (usually) daily trip to the supermarket until just before lunch time as it means I get to go for a walk outside, get some sunlight and also some fresh air. This, along with a lunch break, really helps to put me in the mood to do some more work in the afternoon.
When I was working downstairs, whether it be on the couch or at my desk, I was never very comfortable. Dining chair are not ideal if you are working for a long stretch of time and I tend to sink into my couch and my legs get really restless. There are so many options when it comes to office furniture and especially when it comes to chairs. From leather office chairs to meeting chairs, there is something for everyone. I personally prefer a leather office chair with a high back and a wide seat so that I can get really comfortable while I work. Everyone has their own personal preference and may find a completely different kind of chair more comfortable.
One of the things I hate the most about working from home, especially during the winter, is the lack of natural light. My office doesn’t have the largest window and even though I work right in front of it, the room can get quite dark. Having a certain level of natural light can help productivity levels and increase general happiness. This is why I ensure I have the blind open during the day, make sure I get outside for at least a little walk and I also have Lumie SAD lamp for those winter months. I feel far less sluggish and much more motivated when I’m working in a well lit work environment.
I’m sure that there are lots more ways that you can make your home working environment better for you. If you have any tips, please do let me know!
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