Working from home has become so common it has even earned its own acronym: WFH. At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Roy Morgan suggested around a third of all Australians were doing their jobs from spare rooms or study nooks, particularly in industries such as finance and insurance, public administration, defence and communications. Many of us plan to keep working from home at least a few days a week in the future and the New Year is the perfect time to breathe fresh life into your at-home work space. Try these home office workspace ideas to make sure it’s somewhere worth rolling out of bed to.

Invest in a Good Chair

Finding the right chair is essential to creating a home office workspace that’s practical and comfortable

Different chairs are right for different people so it’s a good idea to go into a store to physically try some options to see which works for you. The ergonomic experts at Dohrmann Consulting in Melbourne advise that an ideal office chair should be adjustable in height, have a five-star base for stability, be well padded and have an adjustable back rest. If you can’t find the exact chair that works for you, experiment with cushions or a stack of books as a footrest, or even better, design the perfect desk chair that does everything you need.

Choose the Right Desk

A desk needs to be big enough to give you enough room to work but compact enough that everything you need is within easy reach. But if you really want to get the most wellbeing bang for your buck, it’s all about a standing-sitting desk, which lets you switch from sitting to standing throughout the day as you work. A study published in 2020 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found people who used a multi-level workspace showed significant improvements in health and quality of life over a 12-month period.

Monitors Matter

Consider where you position your monitor and keyboard when resetting your home office workspace

A University of Cincinnati study found three quarters of home workers used laptops which were too low relative to the worker’s eye height, which can place a strain on the neck. “Ideally use a separate keyboard, mouse and screen with your laptop and set each of these in their respective comfortable positions,” advises certified professional ergonomist Ted Dohrmann, managing director of Dohrmann Consulting, adding that a screen should sit at or just below your eye height.

Hot Tip: For guidance on your ergonomic set-up at home, see our buying guide.

SEE ALSO: Home Office Ergonomics: A How to Guide

Keep Your Day in Sight

Digital calendars and organisational software aren’t going anywhere but there’s something satisfyingly tactile about seeing your day or week mapped out on paper, and ticking off tasks as you complete them. Investing in a good desk diary is a simple and immediate way to keep track of everything on your plate.

Think Colour Coordination With Your Organisation

A study published in an ergonomic journal found good colour design can affect your mood. Coordinate your office stationery and storage kit such as pen cups, document trays and magazine files to help you feel cool and in control.

SEE ALSO: Home Office Design Ideas to Inspire Productivity

Draw a Line Between Work and Home           

The best tip for a great home office workspace? Being able to close the door when your day ends

If everyone in your household is working out of the office, it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of 24/7 emails, or leaving the finishing touches on that report until after dinner. If you have the space, delineate your worlds by setting up a distinct home office workspace, whether it’s in a spare room or at a hutch desk in a corner of a bedroom or under the stairs. Then, insist that you shut the laptop at the time you normally would in an out-of-home office day and do something physical. “Make a pact with your partner that at 5 or 5.30pm the laptops close and you engage in some non-work activity, such as a walk outside or a trip to the gym,” says meditation and mindfulness expert Luke McLeod from Soul Alive.

Keep up the Watercooler Chat        

“An underestimated part of working in a bustling office space is the emotional gratification of the casual chit-chat with other colleagues,” says McLeod. If you’re flying solo, install chat apps such as Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and Messages onto your laptop to keep in touch with colleagues and friends during the day.

What To Try