Still working from home? 7 ways to level-up your workspace

Lockdown is lifting and many employers and small businesses are welcoming their staff back to socially distanced workplaces. However, for many freelancers and solo business owners, continuing to work from home could be the best (if not only!) option.

Co-working spaces are opening but with limited capacity, and after a few months of uncertainty you're probably not up for paying through the nose for a fancy hot desk. Your home is your palace and your office for the foreseeable.

If balancing your laptop on the coffee table is giving you back ache, it's time to change how you work from home. This is how.

1. Reflect on what's working and what isn't

If you don't have a home office or a spare bedroom you can lock yourself away in, you've probably parked yourself on the kitchen table/breakfast bar/dining table/or even bed for the past few months. It's working for many of us - 73% have found working from home easier than we thought!

You're practised at this now so you know what works for you and what doesn't. Fix those wobbly tables, invest in noise cancelling headphones to block out distractions, and sort out the little annoyances that have stopped you from working at your best.

2. Add some home comforts

Lockdown has given us a rare opportunity to define where and how we want to work. This is your office and you can make it look and feel however you want.

Blankets. Posh slippers. Fluffy cushions. Plants. The perfect playlist. Candles. Whatever you find comforting, introduce it to your home workspace.

3. Upgrade your chair

You spend at least 8 hours a day sitting in the same chair. If it digs into your back, makes you hunch your shoulders, or is entirely the wrong height, it needs to go.

Now non-essential shops are open you can test some out and find the perfect fit, or you can read reviews and shop online. Big, fancy ergonomic chairs can be astronomically expensive but there's plenty of choice for every budget. These ten office chairs start from just £60.

4. Keep your regular breaks sacred

Most of us laughed at our 'state sanctioned daily walk' at the beginning of lockdown, but getting that daily dose of fresh air really helped.

According to Psychology Today, sitting at a desk for too long is linked to a range of physical health problems. Even if your daily walk or run has lost its appeal, try to get outside at least a few times a week. You'll come back to your desk (wherever it is) feeling refreshed and keep the inevitable cabin fever at bay.

5. Curate your Zoom backdrop

Video conference calls are now the norm when it comes to collaborating and communicating with clients and colleagues. If this is how you're introducing yourself to new people and making a good impression, lose the pile of laundry, put up some artwork, and tidy up your bookshelf.

6. Keep your 'office' tidy

A tidy environment doesn't just benefit the people looking into your home through your webcam, it's important for your own wellbeing. No one wants to work in the middle of a big old mess.

When you're deep in the zone it's very easy for cups and plates to pile up. If you have a free 10 minutes, or you're waiting for a Zoom call to start, clean up after yourself, refresh any droopy flowers or plants, and declutter. It makes all the difference.

7. Accept the realities of WFH

The Institute for Employment Studies' Working at Home Wellbeing Survey found that our main lockdown concerns have included new aches and pains, bad eating and drinking habits, poor sleep, an unhappy work-life balance, and feelings of isolation.

If the challenges of working from home haven't gone away for you, lighting some scented candles and tidying up the laundry won't fix them but it could help in small but significant ways.

As we look ahead to more uncertainty ahead, keep checking in with yourself and asking what you need. You're your own boss so it's important to listen.

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