With one or two exceptions, almost all my solopreneur friends work from home. Some of them are location independent, carrying their office with them in a laptop bag, but pretty much all of them have some kind of home office setup, even if it’s a moveable one, and how healthy your home office environment is can definitely have an impact on productivity.
Working at home has a lot of advantages, but there can also be far more distractions. Family, kids, neighbors, the TV, the laundry, other chores, and many other things can end up competing for the limited attention that we should be focusing on work.
Many of us simply don’t have a great working environment at home. The desk is covered with bills or we’re using the spare dining room chair. Some home offices are just unhealthy, but there are a few very simple things you can do to make your home office healthier and more productive.
Invest in ergonomic furniture
Yes, it’s great that we can work from our kitchen table, a coffee shop, or with our four-year-old on our lap. That doesn’t mean we should. Your back will thank you for investing in a proper ergonomic office chair. And so will your productivity. It’s actually possible to work longer and work more efficiently, when we’re comfortable.
Consider working while standing
There’s a reason many employers are moving to standing workstations. Numerous studies have shown that sitting all day is a leading contributor to all kinds of health problems, and even early death. There are specially designed standing desks and even work stations incorporated into treadmills, but they may not be necessary.
You can probably find a level surface somewhere in your house that will let you experiment with standing up to work. You can even purchase a small table to place on top of your existing desk. If you’re not used to standing for extended periods, your feet might be sore for a few days, but your health will improve. Surprisingly some people find they can concentrate better while standing. So give it a try even if you don’t think it’s really for you.
Clean off your desk
It’s easy for a home desk to become a storage location for everything that can wait until another day. Bills, junk mail, briefcases, purses, hats, gloves, and magazines are just a few of the things that find their way onto your desk area.
Not only does this make it hard to find what you’re looking for, but working in all that clutter is distracting, and can disturb your flow, even if you don’t realise it. It reminds you of all the other things you need to get done, and damages your focus and productivity. Clearing off your desk really can help you get the physical and mental space you need to be at your best.
Consider getting an air purifier
An inexpensive air filter can help remove pollutants and allergens from the air. This can be especially important in a home office, which tends to be smaller than the average office space. Plus we tend to stay in there for extended periods with the door closed. This one is currently less than $40.
Check your lighting
Lighting in the home is frequently chosen to be attractive rather than functional. It’s highly likely you could do with more light than you’re currently working with in your home office. Dim lighting can make you feel sluggish and less productive, so you might need to consider an additional lamp or some brighter bulbs.
How much sound you can tolerate while working is highly individual. Know your limits and try and keep background noise to a level that allows you to stay productive. If you’re not able to minimize the sounds in your work environment, consider getting some noise cancelling headphones (I find these useful anyway for the times I have to work in public, which is why they’re on my list of essential tech tools for digital nomads).
You may prefer to put on headphones and listen to music or nature sounds while you work, but you may find it’s best to avoid music with lyrics. Logically enough, most people find that thinking one thing while hearing another isn’t the most effective way to work.
Block the blue light
I’ve recently invested in a pair of non-prescription blue blocker glasses. They help protect your eyes from the blue light given off by all the screens we surround ourselves with: the light that many sleep experts claim is damaging our ability to switch off and get a decent night’s sleep. This is particularly important if, like many work at home solopreneurs, you tend to work irregular hours that sometimes involve working into the night, or at least way too close to bedtime.
Keep the things you need to be healthy close at hand
Here are some of the things that have lived in my home office over the years:
- A mini-trampoline/rebounder – Great for a quick burst of core-strengthening, aerobic exercise when you need a break from work. This one is a great heavy duty rebounder, but I also like this one, if you’re on a budget and will only need it for fairly light use.
- My yoga mat and blocks – I’m a huge yoga fan and often break from work for a ten minute yoga session.
- An essential oil diffuser – So much better than a burner. And you can use different essential oils for energy, de-stressing, clearing a stuffy nose and even balancing your hormones.
- A Himalayan salt lamp – Fans of salt lamps claim they can clean the air in your home, soothe allergies, boost your mood and help you sleep. Plus they’re just so pretty!
- A jug of filtered water – many of us are dehydrated most of the time. Keeping a jug of water in your home office area with you will help you remember to keep drinking throughout the day.
You can see all my health and wellness recommendations, along with my home office essentials in my Amazon Influencer store. Working from home can be better and more productive than working from a more conventional office setting, if you just take the time to optimize your workspace for both your health and your productivity.
You probably already have some good ideas on how you can apply these tips to your home office space. Let today be the day you start implementing them! Feel free to take a pic of your new healthy home office space, share it, and tag me on Facebook or Instagram, so I can take a look too.
Have you collected your FREE printable workbook for solopreneurs? If not just let us know where to send it. You’ll also get a chance to grab The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit for half-price, and my monthly newsletter with tips, freebies, and special offers.