10 Things That Improve Your Health in Your Home Office

by Linsey Knerl on 27 May 2014 2 comments

If you work from home, you spend a great deal of time inside your home office. It is the place where all your brilliant thoughts, amazing connections, and money-making ideas are nurtured.

That same home office could be making you sick. At the very least, it could be inhibiting your health. From back tension to eye strain to lethargy, your home office could be causing some of the ailments you suffer from. However, simple changes to the layout, accessories, and decor of your office could improve your health. Here are 10 ways you can do just that. (See also: 6 Rules of Creating a Powerfully Productive Workspace)

Let There Be Light

Poor lighting induces eye-strain and can put a damper on your mood. Be sure to brighten up — with the right light.

1. Sit Near the Window

Placing your desk near a window allows you to be exposed to as much natural light as possible. The vitamin D your body receives from the sun is also a benefit, especially if you spend a great deal of time indoors. Sitting near a window will help your body maintain a positive work attitude throughout the day.

If your home office must be in a room without a window, it is easy to create natural lighting with the addition of compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs. These light bulbs mimic light from the sun and can give you the same benefits.(See also: Are Your Lights Making You Tired?)

2. Use Task Lighting

Incorrect lighting in a room can cause increased strain on your eyes. This can lead to fatigue, headaches, and poor vision. Add task lighting to your work areas to decrease the amount of strain on your eyes.

Breathe Easy

Many of us find space for a home office anywhere we can. This can mean a basement, a small room without windows, or even a large closet. Often, these spaces have poor air circulation.

3. Install an Air Purifier

Improve the quality of the air you breathe by adding an air purifier to the space. Breathing in cleaner air will improve your overall health, reduce fatigue, and decrease your chances of illness — such as the common cold or flu.

4. Add Houseplants

If adding in an air purifier isn't possible (and even if it is), a houseplant or two can improve the quality of the air you are breathing as well. There are many plants you can buy that will filter out pollutants and clean the air of smells.

Sit Comfortably

You spend a great deal of time sitting in your home office; the chair you use should be providing you with adequate support, enhancing your posture and comfort

5. Check Chair Position

Check for the proper placement of your chair and work space. If not placed properly, you could be causing excessive strain on your back. The chair you use should put you level with the top of your workspace so that your arms create a 90 degree angle when working.

6. Rest Your Feet

Place a foot rest beneath your desk. Adding in a small place for your feet to rest while you are sitting reduces the strain on your lower back and encourages proper blood circulation.

7. Stand in the Place Where You Are

Consider a standing desk. When you are sitting, your body is more prone to going into a relaxed state. Your heart rate decreases, your body slumps, and as you become more tired, you are more likely to lay back (or forward) and take a little nap. A standing desk prohibits your body from doing that. Your body will remain alert longer as you are more likely to move around slightly. This keeps the blood flowing through all parts of your body and your productivity may be less stagnant as the day wears on. (See also: 11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford)

Improve Your Mood

Boost your spirits — and your productivity — with some simple decor decisions.

8. Choose Cheerful Colors

Create a pleasant workspace with cheerful decor and warm colors. These decorating choices that you make from the paint on the walls, to the nick-knacks on the shelves will keep your mood stable and your health optimal. There is some research that suggests colors can enhance your mental health and productivity. Red, for example is a color that energizes; blue has a calming effect. The colors you place in your home office should be colors you feel good around, those that will best benefit your health.

9. Consider Aromatherapy

Consider adding in aromatherapy. Using essential oils to change the scents in your room can help to increase focus, decrease fatigue, and promote general good health. Infusing oils such as orange after a stressful conference call can help you to relax and refocus your mind. While lemon oil is said to calm anxiety, rosemary can stimulate your brain and improve memory. The use of essential oils may improve your health as well as your productivity while working.

10. Get Out!

Although this isn't a change to your home office, it is important to plan breaks throughout the day. Your body needs a few minutes of rest from being in the same position. Your eyes need a break from the constant focus on a screen, and your mood will benefit from the break you take outside in the sun. Whether it's a few minutes walking around your neighborhood or an hour laying outside to read, plan a few breaks throughout the day to keep you healthy while working in your home office.

How do you keep your home office from making you sick? Please share in comments!

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Improve Health

Great article I find having plants in my home office to work well. It just makes it feel more lively like I'm out side. Thanks for these 10 tips.

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Love the R.E.M. reference! Thanks!