House to Home with Rachel Smith: How to get the most out of your home office set-up

Most of you will probably have got your home office set-up sorted after the last couple of years, but are you getting the most out of it?

By Jane Chippindale
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 5:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 10:57 am

Rachel Smith writes: Corporate offices have traditionally been sterile, grey, uninspiring places. In bigger companies at least this seems to be changing and more effort is being made to turn offices into more inspiring places to work, but what about at home?

Most of you will probably have got your home office set-up sorted after the last couple of years, but are you getting the most out of it? Is it just somewhere to sit and work or is it a place that stimulates and motivates you? It’s your office, your choice. You can go as crazy as you like!

First of all let’s talk desks. A height-adjustable desk is a good idea to allow you to stand up when you need to and, unless you’re sitting in front of a window, you should try and move your desk away from the wall.

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It’s your space so you should surround yourself with the things you love. Photo: Adobe

If your desk is shoved up against the wall you are effectively reducing your office to the size of your desk.

However, if you can move your chair around to the other side of the desk (with your back to the wall) then the whole room becomes your office. It also gives you the chance to create an inspiring Zoom/Teams backdrop.

There’s nothing worse than looking like a floating head because you’re busy trying to hide what’s behind you!

With regard to office chairs, make sure you buy the most expensive, supportive and comfortable chair you can afford.

Include plants in your working environment. Photo: Adobe

You spend a lot of hours sitting in it so you will get your money’s worth, and your back and neck will thank you for it.

It’s your space so you should surround yourself with the things you love.

As humans we need visual stimulation so having things to look at on your desk/shelves/walls can only inspire, motivate you, and surround you with positivity.

So how about photos of favourite holidays? Pictures done by the kids? Photos of your dog?

And to my favourite topic: colour. Do you have a creative job where your mind needs to be stimulated, or do you do something that requires a lot of talking? A few hits of yellow and orange should help with that (just a splash though as too much will be over stimulating and quite uncomfortable).

Do you have a job that requires long spells of concentration? Blue is the answer for you.

And let’s not forget nature’s neutral: green - a calming colour that would suit the needs of most people.

Including plants in a work environment can help soften hard edges, bring colour, life, reduce stress, tension, anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue; they can also increase productivity, memory retention, concentration, boost creativity, help reduce noise levels, and purify the air. What’s not to like?

If there’s no room on your desk then have a tall plant next to the desk and/or hang one in a macrame hanger from the ceiling (yes they’re back from the 70s).

And don’t worry, the plants don’t have to be real. You still get most of the same benefits from artificial plants.

Lastly, make sure you open the window every now and again and let the stale air out and some fresh air in. Give yourself and your space the chance to breathe.