In these times of career uncertainty, when more people than ever before are choosing to work for themselves, it is essential that IT freelancers create the right environment in which to operate. An ergonomically designed home office can boost creativity and productivity, ensure that you are comfortable while at work, and reduce stress and injury.
Creating a comfortable, ergonomic workspace
Ergonomics is the process of designing products, systems, or environments, taking into account the interaction between item, or space, and its user. Creating an ergonomic home office involves analysing the ways in which the space will be used and tailoring it to meet a freelancer’s exclusive needs. This is particularly important when you work from home as so many freelancers are prone to operating wherever they find a spare corner. It is essential that you establish a more permanent workstation as soon as possible, as poor posture and distraction can lead to decreasing productivity and a risk of permanent injury.
One of the most important things in your home office is your chair; preferably an adjustable seat with arm rests, which will allow you to rest your feet firmly on the floor at a 90-degree angle. This will ensure that you maintain a good posture while working, as well as keeping you comfortable. Wrist strain, or repetitive strain, is another common injury that can be sustained in an unsuitable working environment. This can be reduced with the introduction of a wrist rest at your desk, as well as making sure that everything you need is kept close at hand.
It’s all in the detail
Second to your chair is the surface on which you work. If you have room, be sure to invest in a sturdy desk with plenty of storage so that you can keep everything within reach. If your space is substantially smaller, choose a corner unit, or even a laptop workstation; simply make sure that you have a flat surface upon which to operate your computer. It is essential to organise this space, keeping an extensive filing system so that you can always find the things. Document holders, for occasions when you’re transcribing, or researching ideas, are a good idea, saving you from constantly looking between paper and screen.
A home office should also offer both natural and artificial lighting as working in poorly lit spaces can severely increase your risks of headaches and eyestrain. Reduce glare on your computer screen by carefully positioning your computer, or use curtains or practical window shutters to ensure you’re receiving the best natural light without impeding your vision.
Keep décor and accessories to a minimum, and reduce distractions by storing paperwork and other essential work items in cleverly concealed cupboards and shelves. Pinboards and whiteboards, inspirational posters, and textbooks can all increase productivity and creativity, while tea and coffee makers will keep you refreshed on the job; make sure you get up from time to time, though, as movement is key towards keeping you healthy.
Ultimately, your new home office should be a space in which you can work, and rest, in comfort. It should offer opportunities for productivity and creativity in equal measures, and ensure that your working needs are met wherever possible.