As the world’s workforce get used to working from home, our Workplace & Interiors Curator, Helen Buckley, takes a look at how you can maximise your workspace to help improve your wellbeing and productivity.
How to work well from home
We’ve all read the tips on the practicalities of suddenly taking your entire office online; from actually getting out of your pyjamas in the morning, to ensuring your children are locked out for that important conference call, there are lots of simple measures you can take to ensure that you can make the most out of your working day.
You can read the BBC’s full list of tips for working well from home here.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
Take care of yourself at this time. These are not normal circumstances and whilst we are all trying to maintain as much semblance of reality as possible, take extra time to practice self care, exercise your body and mind and keep things in perspective. Stay off social media and news channels as much as possible, surround yourself with beauty and take the time to speak with your loved ones.
You can view the World Health Organisation’s advice on looking after your mental health here.
How to set up your working space
We spoke to Ergonomics expert Kirsty Angerer to get her top five tips on how to create a better working environment at home:
1. Find a space in the house where you can do focused work. Ideally somewhere away from your bedroom or where you rest. If this isn't possible, that's ok, choose a spot in the room and pack your work things away each day to acknowledge that space is a working time and when it is a time for rest.
2. Create a good atmosphere. Add some plants around your workstation, make sure you can see your work properly and it isn't too dark or too bright. Add some background music and set yourself up so you can look outside and be part of nature. Make the space yours and add whatever you need to, to make it feel and look really good.
3. Make sure you create good back support when seated. Add cushions or a rolled up towel if you need to give you additional support in the lower back. Try and sit upright but in a slightly reclined position. If possible keep your feet planted on the floor as this creates a foundation for your posture.
4. If you are using a device like a laptop or tablet as your primary monitor you should ideally use this with a laptop kit so a laptop stand, compact keyboard and mouse. At least then you can set your monitor at eye level and keep your keyboard and mouse close.
5. Take regular breaks. 2-3 times per hour for 30-60 seconds is ideal or at least 5 minutes every hour. This is probably the most important to do throughout the day. Move as much as you can. Take a phone call standing up. Move after every task you complete. Set a reminder in your outlook or download an app that reminds you to move like the 'stand up' app.
Kirsty offers an online course where you can learn more about your body and how best to interact with your environment wherever you’re working. Find out more here.
Art and wellbeing
Art in the workplace has been shown in various studies to boost productivity, lower stress and increase wellbeing. Workers in offices displaying art are 30% more productive than those without and 80% feel art in the workplace improves wellbeing.
Managing the aesthetic dimensions of a workspace leads to positivity and the integration of art helps define and communicate a company’s identity and culture, which in turn is great for attracting and retaining talent.
We have created a collection of artworks aimed especially at enhancing your wellbeing in your home office.