The concept of working from home has become widely accepted within recent times, with many organisations offering their employees flexibility around their physical location. Although this has numerous positive benefits, including providing employees with a better work-life balance, it also raises one specific issue regarding setting up an at-home office.
Many factors have to be considered when organising a home-based workplace. Will you receive an optimal amount of lighting, both artificial and natural? Will you be sat in the correct position, thus avoiding any muscle strains or posture fatigue? Is the location of the make-shift office optimal with regards to efficiency, or are you likely to be distracted too frequently?
Although there are many aspects to consider when setting up a workstation at home, there is one that we here at Regatta passionately care about… the incorporation of nature. It is vital whilst working from home to include nature in any possible way, as not only is it beneficial for your health to immerse yourself in the outdoors, but it usually promotes mental stimulation and clarity, which can lead to a better quality of work produced. Therefore, we have pulled together a simple guide with the aim of helping you to not only create an efficient and effective work space within your living quarters, but also to incorporate your garden or outdoor space, ensuring that you will feel at one with nature during your time working from home.
Outhouses & Sheds: A Permanent Solution
An ideal solution to working in your garden is the inclusion of an outhouse, shed or majority-sheltered area which could double as an office space. These locations can offer protection against the elements, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature even on the stormiest of days. Any outdoor building or sheltered space can be transformed into a productive office space using the following steps:
- Clean the area, ensuring that it becomes a space within which you are happy to spend upwards of seven hours a day in.
- Ensure that you have access to electricity, if needed.
- Air out the space, ensuring that it remains fresh and well-ventilated, conducive to a productive workplace.
- Stay insulated either via built-in heating systems or through wardrobe layering, using fleece as an extra layer of warmth.
Outdoor Desks: Ideal for Sun-Drenched Days
If you do not have access to a pre-built outhouse, or are unable to adapt yours suitably, the ideal solution, albeit a temporary one, would be to set up a desk in the garden itself. This option is completely dependent on the weather, but for those days that are dry, sunny and clear (with the latter two being optional), you could work in the very midst of the outdoors. Perfect for large gardens, small backyards and even balconies, outdoor desks can offer a much-needed change of scenery on the days you are working from home. Following these simple steps, you will be able to make the most of your outdoor space:
- Set up a table that is specifically designed for outdoor usage, as these will be weather-resistant and resilient.
- Make sure that the table is well-balanced and stable.
- Add an outdoor chair, perfect for both catching the rays and supporting a good posture.
Posture: Beat the Slouch, Protect Your Back
Whether working from home, in the office or any other location, your posture is one of the most important factors to consider. Your screen being lower or higher than eye level, slouching in your seat and your keyboard being too high can all lead to bad posture, which in turn can cause havoc on your lower back, neck and overall spine, with some cases even leading to migraines, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. So, it is vital to address your posture when setting up your outdoor office, taking note of the following aspects:
- The 90 degree rule - Your knees, hips and elbows should all be comfortably bent at 90 degrees whilst you work.
- Your screen/s should be eye level at all times. Any higher or lower than necessary can lead to strain and tension within the neck.
- Make sure that your hands are not raised higher than your wrists whilst you type, as this can lead to repetitive strain, not to mention more long-term effects.
Hydration: The Key to Everything
An often overlooked factor of maintaining a productive workflow whilst at home, both inside and outdoors, is remaining nourished and hydrated. Whether you set up your office in the garden, outhouse or even indoors, always ensure that you have a water bottle on your desk, with the NHS recommending that you consume at least 1.2 litres per day.
Personalise: An Extension of Your Home
It is important to make your outdoor work-space a place that you want to spend time within. Productivity is key, however, striking a work-life balance is equally as important. With this said, add some personal touches to your workplace, whether that be pictures of your loved ones, a selection of desk plants, fairy lights or your favourite candle (remembering to stay careful around an open flame). Decorate your office/desk the way you want to, taking full advantage of the lack of workplace regulations that you usually have to adhere to!
If you do not have an outdoor space that you can claim, just make sure to incorporate nature into your daily working routine. Setting up a desk near a window, taking fifteen minutes every two hours to stand in the outdoors and eating your lunch outside (weather permitting) are all ways that you can reap the benefits of nature whilst working from home.