Working from home is often a combination of comfort and chaos.
“Where people spend their time really matters,” says Matthew A. Finn, founder of Cognitive Design in Atlanta. “It makes a huge difference to your quality of life … and it really affects your behavior and your health.”
Finn’s architectural work is influenced by his time working with a clinical psychologist to design therapeutic spaces for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“That experience opened my eyes,” says Finn. “It has fundamentally changed the way I approach designing for health.”
Here are his recommended basics that can help reduce the mess and increase the convenience of working from home.
Your work-from-home setup
Finn says your home office doesn’t have to look like an office in your home.
“You can either work from home or – the negative version of that is – live in your office,” he says.
Its guiding principles for a more productive work environment include:
1. Sit / stand desk
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2. Height adjustable monitor
Since monitors are often positioned too low on a fixed or sitting / standing desk, a height-adjustable monitor is essential, says Finn. He has Knoll Sapper XYZ Monitor arms in his Atlanta office and an easily adjustable monitor base in his work-from-home setup.
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3. Controlled lighting
A well-lit environment helps focus and attention while also relieving eye strain, says Finn. Natural light is best, so work as close as possible to a window. However, glare can be a problem. Therefore, you should use curtains or blinds to adjust the lighting throughout the working day.
He prefers wooden blinds with wide slats to compensate for glare, sheer curtains for privacy and blackout curtains for total light blocking.
In the late afternoon and evening, he suggests using night mode on your computer (Windows or Mac) to lower the blue light, which can disrupt the circadian rhythms that improve the transition to sleep. He also uses dimmer switches with dimmable LED lamps with warm glow throughout his house to adjust the lighting conditions from day to night, lighter to darker.
4. Sound suppression
Clay can interrupt concentration in some people. Finn suggests Bose sleep budsthat produce a variety of white noise sounds and can be worn comfortably during the work day or, of course, at night. Or you have a pair of foam earbuds on hand that cost less than a dollar.
You can also use soundproofing materials to protect your work environment from children, outdoor TVs, or outdoor electric mowers and fans. There are uses for Doors and window.
5. Basic information about video calls
For the video calls required, Finn recommends a suitable background, real or virtual, that is “just right” for your business role. He says this falls under “dressing for the job you want, not the job you have”.
6. A comfortable temperature
If you’ve ever worked in a cold or muggy office, you know how temperature can affect your mood and focus. Instead of cooling or heating your whole house, you can adjust the temperature in the room you are working in with something similar to a Dyson Hot + Cool portable heater / cooler. A fan or portable heater would work as well.
Humidifiers or dehumidifiers can also improve comfort depending on where you live. And air filters and plants can help freshen the air.
to eat and drink
We all miss hanging out in the coffee break room or swapping stories on the water cooler, and Finn says it’s worth keeping these rituals in one form or another. In addition to nourishing your body, eating and drinking can be part of your daily routine to help focus and allow for scheduled breaks from the computer.
Water filters provide clean, healthy water for hydration. If it’s comfortable and tastes good, you’re probably drinking the amount of water your body needs, he says.
“The liability for working from home is that your day is very unstructured,” says Finn. Home-to-work transition rituals can help. For example, when you’re grinding and brewing a cup of coffee, you need to take a break and enjoy the moment – and stop multitasking.
Cooking lunch from scratch and sharing it with family or friends can be another ritual that will keep you from falling into an unstructured and unhealthy lifestyle that is always at work.
Finn says his suggestions can help manage health by optimizing your surroundings, but adds:
“There is a real temptation to pay too much attention to the ‘stuff’, and the ‘stuff you don’t have’ in particular, until it spoils something as simply fun as a morning family coffee ritual.”