By: Stephen Beresford at REHAU- Head of Marketing and Communications
With many businesses offering flexible working moving forward, now is the time to re-evaluate any temporary, makeshift home office spaces that may have been set up with a short-term vision in mind. With research from REHAU finding that 61 per cent of us still consider our environment to be temporary, despite having worked from home for more than 12 months, it’s more important than ever to create a working environment that works for the long-term.
Stephen Beresford, Head of Marketing and Communications at REHAU, discusses five ways to create a productive and comfortable home office set-up, whether you’re upgrading a full room or adapting a small space:
- Natural Light
“Finding the right lighting is as much about productivity as it is about aesthetics. REHAU’s research found three in 10 office workers have no natural light in their working area, with 65 per cent convinced this affects their productivity.
“If done right, utilising natural light can be as motivational as that morning cup of coffee. Positioning your desk in an area with high exposure to natural light will not only save on your electricity bill, but has been scientifically proven to increase your wellbeing and productivity.
“REHAU’s research found a lack of natural light makes 24 per cent of adults feel less creative, while 36 per cent think it contributes to lack of motivation. Today’s average worker is getting just 22 minutes a day of natural light, so repositioning your desk to utilise your window is a great way to gain some much-needed vitamin D.”
- Window Coverings
“Nobody likes the sun in their eyes, particularly when you’re on an important Zoom meeting or trying to focus. REHAU’s research found that one fifth of us plan to move our working area next to a window, therefore choosing window dressings that best suit your set up is crucial.
“Venetian blinds are a great option, as they can be tilted to let more or less light in the room. This is not only an effective way of creating optimum working conditions, but also allows extra privacy should your working area be overlooked. These blinds are a popular choice as they can create the right balance between natural light, privacy and a stylish, yet professional look and feel. Alternatively, daylight roller blinds or voiles can be great options to alter the light without making your space unworkable.
“For an uncluttered, streamlined look, integral blinds which are encapsulated within the glass of your windows offer a premium quality light control solution that won’t get damaged and will never need cleaning. Smart glass shading is another great way of increasing privacy and protecting from direct sunlight, without disrupting the clean lines of the window.”
- Screen Height
“Making sure your screen is at the right height, is not only important for productivity, but when incorrectly placed, can often be the cause of bad posture and a sore neck. As many as three in 10 adults say they suffer body discomfort from sitting down for too long, so it’s important to get the small things right, as they can make a big difference.
“Your screen should always be an arm’s distance in front of you, with the top of the screen in line with your eyebrows. This will stop you from dropping your neck or slouching over to view the screen. If you are unable to adjust the height of your screen, try adjusting your chair to find the most suitable height.”
- Artificial Lighting
“Of course, it isn’t sunny every day and therefore artificial lighting can help to plug the gap and provide adequate brightness to effectively work – morning, afternoon or evening. The ideal working environment will utilise both natural and artificial lighting, particularly in the darker months or on overcast days.
“Artificial lighting should be sufficient enough to illuminate your workspace, making reading papers or any writing tasks easily visible. On your screen monitor, make sure the brightness is not too bright or dim, as both may cause eyestrain. Ideally, your monitor’s brightness should be a little brighter than your ambient lighting. Adding a desk lamp or a floor lamp by your set-up can create more diffused lighting, especially if you choose an option with a dimmer option. The trick is to illuminate your space without creating glare or unwanted shadows on your screen.”
- Room Temperature
“Getting the temperature of a room right is important for both our wellbeing and ability to concentrate. Central heating can play an important part, but if your surroundings tend to be chilly even when your radiators are on, then it may be worth checking for any draughts – particularly in older properties. Windows that are poorly installed, have seal failure or are generally older than 15 years may benefit from being replaced. Not only will this reduce any draughts creeping in, but it can also help you save money on your energy bills.
“Placing draught excluders by your doors is an easy way to keep warm air in and cold air out, while creating a cosy, inviting space. Also make sure there are no obstructions to your radiators, such as clothes drying on top, or storage blocking the front. It’s a simple step, but can make a big difference.”
For more information about REHAU’s window ranges and to find your nearest installer, visit www.rehau.uk