Give your home office a happy and healthy vibe this year. January is traditionally a time when our thoughts turn towards health and well-being. As well as taking positive steps to improve our physical fitness, more people are also recognizing that the home environment can play a huge role in influencing the way we feel.
'In addition to the predictable 'eat better,' 'join a gym' and 'get more sleep', it’s a great time to set out some resolutions that can positively affect our work well-being too. And with millions of us now spending some, if not all our time working from home,' says Susan White, marketing director, Hillarys.
Hillarys has teamed up with beauty and health expert, Liz Earle for her simple but effective tips on how to make your home office space a sanctuary of calm, productivity and happiness.
Let light in
As light significantly increases energy, creativity and productivity, it is wise to position your desk in front of a window. Wood and Venetian blinds are perfect for home office windows as they filter the light to minimise glare on your computer and the slats can be adjusted to control light levels as the sun moves round during the day. So go for function but don’t forget about style. Roman blinds soften the look and a pretty botanical fabric brings a lovely feel of nature into your office.
Think about seating and posture
If you spend a lot of time seated at your desk, it is imperative that you consider what chair you are using. An ergonomic chair may not give you the designer feel you might be after, but your back will thank you for it! And you can pretty it up with a cosy sheepskin or throw. Consider foot rests, ergonomic mouse instruments shaped to fit your hand and soft keyboard pads that allow rest and relaxation for the wrist, and foot rests.
Craft your space
It doesn't have to cost the earth to decorate your office. Charity shop and car boot sales are perfect hunting grounds for quirky, vintage pieces or why not indulge in some DIY creativity. Cover plain cardboard box files with wallpaper or fabric for a fabulous bespoke look. A pinboard made from a wooden picture frame, foam and fabric is a great way to display photos, to do lists or any other information you want to see at a glance.
Related: Craft room ideas for creative days
Work in wood
Wood is a wonderful material, and one that we should use more of in our homes. Make your office a little more eco-friendly with a desk made from reclaimed scaffolding boards and simple trestle legs. Scaffolding boards can be picked up cheaply from a salvage yard and the beauty of doing this is that you can design your desk according to your space and needs.
Add a touch of nature
It's been proven that plants in the workplace can reduce stress levels and increase productivity. Aside from these health benefits, plants are a cheap and cheerful way to add decoration and bring a lovely touch of nature into your home office. I opt for green, leafy plants like ferns or ivy, avoiding cacti whose spikes can create the opposite of a relaxed feeling, or flowers with a strong scent, which can be distracting or irritating.
Display your favourite pictures
Pictures and photographs can be a great way to inspire creativity and a feeling of wellness. Pick out three or four that are significant to you and make sure those are in your view. But remember that the more stuff you add to your desk, the more your brain has to keep track of. Working in a crowded space can be mentally exhausting, even if you don't realise it.
Conceal the clutter
A cluttered workplace can be depressing and distracting so get creative with your storage. I’ve used soft, floaty voile curtains to cover up a shelving unit.
Make room for a comfy corner
Your desk is for active work, but you probably need a place to read, take a break or just have a cup of coffee. A comfy chair or sofa is a great addition if you have the space. Add plenty of cushions and a throw and you’ll be all set for those all-important thinking breaks.
Squeeze in mini workouts
Just because you have a 9am-5pm job, that doesn't mean you can't fit in a few minutes of exercise at your desk. Yes, really! Even if you can't fit in a full workout, you can still do some simple stretches and strength moves in your office. And even if you don't have equipment, you can do things like chair yoga using nothing but your office furniture.
Have you embraced the well-being trend?
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Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.
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