As remote work continues to be the new normal, you may be looking to update your home office. Between your electronics and setup, the elements of your space can greatly impact your performance and well-being. Whether you want to invest in noise-canceling headphones to stay focused or a reverse osmosis system to stay hydrated, here are the best home office upgrades for working remotely.
Your workspace plays a large role in your productivity and health, which is why it’s important to create a designated area that is both comfortable and functional. According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a desk chair should include an adjustable seat, backrest and armrests so it may be tailored to your individual height. It should also have five wheels, rather than four, to provide maximum stability.
Even accessories like your mouse and keyboard should be taken into consideration. Place your mouse directly beside the keyboard, and make sure both devices are positioned close to your body so you don’t have to fully extend your arms. Look for a keyboard with a negative slope that will allow your wrists to maintain a neutral position, avoiding unnecessary strains on nerves and tendons.
An adjustable desk is one of the most expensive – yet most important – investments to make. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that people who stood for at least 66 minutes during the work day reduced upper back and neck pain by 54 percent. Standing desks were also shown to boost participants’ mood and energy while decreasing reported fatigue, tension and depression. Similar benefits are experienced with soft workplace lighting. City, University of London reported that natural light positively impacted eye strain, cognitive performance, problem-solving abilities and mood. As a result, participants felt a stronger sense of job satisfaction and less stress.
Not only can music influence the way you feel and act, it can also affect how you work. Equipping your workspace with high-quality headphones or speakers can help minimize distractions and boost productivity. Many studies have shown music to improve the speed and accuracy of repetitive tasks – particularly data entry and email communications. Stream your favorite songs during simple, routine tasks, and opt for instrumental music when tackling complex projects so you aren’t distracted by the lyrics.
Since water is essential for your physical and mental health, it’s important to have quality drinking water readily available throughout the workday. A 2013 study found that proper hydration improved a person’s mood, attention and reaction. Maximize the benefits by drinking high-quality water. A reverse osmosis (RO) system delivers an unlimited supply of safer, cleaner water right to your tap. This means you can spend less time waiting for your water to filter and more time completing work projects. You can also cut down on plastic consumption, save on the cost of single-use bottles and reduce your carbon footprint. An RO system can bring you better-tasting water at home so you can stay hydrated and focused while working remotely.
Keeping fitness equipment in your home office can promote healthy habits and help you avoid an afternoon slump. In fact, a quick midday stretch can reduce stress and lower the risk of strains and wear on muscles, tendons and nerves. Keeping a yoga mat nearby can serve as a reminder to step back from your work, whether it’s in between meetings or during your lunch break. British researchers found that an afternoon workout improved performance by 79 percent, time management by 72 percent and workload management by 74 percent. Participants also reported improved mood, higher job satisfaction and a greater ability to cope with the pressures of their job. Whether you have time for a 5-minute meditation or a 30-minute workout, movement can improve your focus, productivity and overall well-being.
Our brains associate greenery with feelings of comfort and relaxation, which is why you often see foliage in spas and living spaces. Plants can reduce psychological and physiological stress that often accompanies busy workloads, personal challenges and unforeseen changes, like a new work environment. Some of the top mood-boosting varieties that can help increase productivity include lavender, ivy, lilies and orchids. Many succulents and perennials are low maintenance, requiring only an occasional watering and adequate sunlight to thrive indoors.
Solely working on a 15-inch laptop can be inefficient at times. Using an external monitor can allow you to see more data while spending less time scrolling and clicking through multiple windows. It can also make you more productive by creating efficient processes for certain tasks. For example, researchers at the University of Utah found that copyeditors using a monitor experienced faster completion of tasks and fewer errors. Since these external machines typically have higher resolutions, they can also increase text readability, while decreasing the likelihood of a headache caused by reviewing smaller fonts.
Whiteboards can also be helpful tools for your home office. They have proven effective in classrooms for their ability to increase memory retention and comprehension of complex subjects. The same positive impact can carry over to the office, boosting productivity when writing out key ideas and concepts. In addition, a whiteboard can offer an alternative to brainstorming, allowing you to break up the monotony of your usual work processes.
Home offices should improve performance. Whether you need to invest in a drinking water system, upgrade your equipment or add a touch of greenery, test out different solutions in your space and see what boosts your mood and productivity throughout the workday.