News • 20 Apr 2020

Working from home – tips for a creative workspace

With many people now working from home, it’s important to create a working environment that supports your holistic wellbeing, while energising your engagement, productivity and satisfaction.

When we are at work, we are generally in an environment that promotes collaboration and socialising with our colleagues and take breaks throughout the day, even if we don’t realise that we are. When working from home, it can be easy to spend hours on end sitting in one spot.

So how do we transfer the office environment to home?

Here are some tips that can help and, at the same time, increase motivation and keep those creative juices flowing.

Reboot your at-home office space

Select a space that relates best to your workspace—where you feel ready and motivated to complete tasks, has adequate lighting and access to fresh air.

It could be the dining table, a desk in the spare room, or even a quiet spot in the garden.

Key tips to setting up your workspace:

  • Find a spot with good lighting and ensure that artificial lights aren’t reflecting on your screen
  • Choose a position where you can work without distraction
  • Ensure your table is the correct height and you have a chair that gives you good back support and is set-up so that you can sit with your feet flat on the ground. If you need a footstool… improvise by using board games, phone book or reams of paper; the same items can be used for a laptop stand
  • Remove clutter from around (and underneath) the table so that you are comfortable
  • Ensure your forearms are supported on the table top, or unsupported when using an easy to reach keyboard and mouse

Plants, shubbery and grenery are also said to be beneficial to you It has shown to be beneficial to your workspace.

If you’re unable to have a plant near your desk, another option is to sit near a window facing a garden as this can also enrich your work environment.

And remember, if you have other people at home… your headphones will become your best friend!            

Fuel your creative juices and get active

In the office, many of us would be moving around, getting up from our desk, going to meetings or collaborating at a coworker’s desk.

At home, however, there’s the temptation to sit for hours on end to get the tasks done.

Some simple tips to overcome this is to roam your house (or room) when you’re on the phone. By just getting up off your seat, you are stretching the body and getting the heart pumping.

You could also alternate your workspace—try moving your laptop to the kitchen bench for half an hour several times a day.

Moving your workspace around to a new environment can also assist with motivation, alertness and focus. If there are a few people working from home, how about swapping desks a few times during the week? You’ll be surprised how a new environment can give you an energising boost.

Need a whiteboard? How about using the fridge—just make sure you use removable markers!

Don’t forget to move! It’s a good idea to stretch several times a day. Some good stretches include:

  • Squeezing your shoulders blades together several times
  • Shoulder rolls, forwards and backwards
  • Getting up and walking around the house
  • Stretching your neck gently to the left, centre and then right several times
  • Calf raises by standing up, then on your tippy toes, then flat again

It’s a good idea to go for a walk every two hours or so—even just for a quick walk to the letterbox and back will get the blood pumping—and it’s a great mental break for you to be away from your screen.

Take your brain to the gym

Ever wondered what to do with all that time you’re saving travelling to the office? Convert it into recreation time and take your brain to the gym.

Set aside the time you used to spend travelling to your workplace as time to do a puzzle, some sudoku or to upskill by completing those online courses you’ve been thinking about.

Flex your creative muscles on a daily basis. Check out some online exercise classes and think of ways to increase your cardio fitness such as by walking, jogging or skipping.

Feeling unmotivated at home by yourself?

Suggest to your team that they start the day with a morning check-in. Here you can go through the plans for the day, discuss any challenges and assess workloads.

Checking in with your teammates at the start of each working day encourages good mental health, and also provides an outlet for you to discuss if you need to move shift tasks if you aren’t feeling it that day.

At lunch time, a quick walk or movement activity is a great way to up the circulation and have fun with team members. 

Remember, there are plenty of people to talk to. If you feel you can’t speak to your colleagues or manager about an issue, perhaps your employer has as Employee Assistance Program, which provides confidential counselling or support.

There are also online support programs such as SANE Australia or apps that can help calm the mind like Headspace.

To stay up-to-date on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Open Minds, visit our health alert page. This page will be continually updated as new information becomes available.

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