As the shift to remote work came unexpectedly for many, most Canadians weren’t, and still aren’t, equipped with an ideal home office set-up. Some of us may be sharing a “desk” (i.e. the kitchen table) with a toddler or spouse, and an overturned plate of spaghetti. Ultimately, how and where we work can impact our emotional wellbeing.
Since employee mental wellness is of utmost importance to us, we wanted to share five quick tips to optimize home office space to reap mental health benefits.
One way to optimize space for healthier remote work is to encourage your team to work from an area that isn’t where they sleep or lounge (if it’s a possibility for them, of course), in order to create separation between “work” and “home”. This distinction is important to avoid feeling work stress in places normally associated with comfort and rest.
Suddenly there’s no commute time needed to get to work. That means extra time for sleep, family, or even a work out. Strive to set a new daily routine for yourself so that your mind can differentiate between time spent at home, and time spent working at home. It allows us to decompress and mentally separate the two parts of day. And when you sit down at your desk (or your kitchen counter) to work, you know it’s time for business.
Another proven benefit for mental health is having some exposure to natural light. If possible, employees should try and set up their desk by a window. If this isn’t feasible, taking a break to get outside during the day will be a great mood-booster as well. About 15 minutes of exposure to natural light is all that’s needed to trigger the release of endorphins (happy hormones).
Nature is proven to help us all feel more grounded. Encourage your team to flex their green thumbs (or at least try to!). Indoor plants around the workspace are proven to reduce stress levels and reduce symptoms of depression. Just remember not to overwater those succulents!
Proper home office ergonomics help prevent injuries, ensure pain-free motion and maintain your overall health. Changing tasks, standing up, stretching and looking away from the screen, even momentarily, can help reduce injuries. Set up your workspace to be comfortable and prevent long-term strain. Check out these tips for some tricks on optimizing your ergonomics at home.