Spa for your back
Home is where the heart is’ crooned Elvis Presley. But for over a year now, since the pandemic, it has become a case of ‘work is where the home is’. The home office is now the most important room in your house and with no information on when you will be back in office, it’s time to make your workspace luxurious. And the first thing to do is to get that all-comfortable chair.
Did you know that on average, you sit over 2,000 hours annually on your office chair? This is considering you work eight hours a day, Monday to Friday. It’s important that those hours are as comfortable as possible. A comfortable chair can lead to increase in productivity, better focus and improve health.
While you may go for an antique wingback upholstered armchair, or an ornate Louis XV fauteuil, we suggest an ergonomic chair which relieves body stress. An ergonomic chair will have features such as adjustable height, adjustable arm and back rest, lumbar support and so on. Check out chairs from Herman Miller – a century-old US company known for office furniture. Its Embody Chair is designed with inputs from over 30 physicians and supposedly increases blood circulation to improve oxygen flow and lower your heart rate. Price: Rs 1,57,500.
Fresh Air at Work
We all know air pollution is bad for our health. But did you know that it also impacts productivity? A Harvard Business Review study found a 5-6 per cent fall in productivity among office workers when the AQI is unhealthy, that is, between 150 and 200. Cities like Delhi have these AQI levels for half the year. Investing in an air purifier is not a luxury but a necessity. Check out Dyson’s pure cool advanced technology tower with 350-degree oscillation and vacuum-sealed filters that capture gases, pollutants and viruses. Price: Rs 1,01,000.
While an air purifier is a must, we also suggest you brighten up your workspace with a few indoor plants that purify air. NASA’s Clean Air Study has found that there are several air purifying plants that can detoxify your home from airborne toxins, dust and germs. These include English Ivy, Snake Plant, Spider Plant and Aloe Vera, among others.
Cut Out the Noise
Working from home has its own distractions, primarily the sounds – television, music, running water, kitchen blender, dog barking, you name it. Several researchers have concluded that noise, especially loud intermittent noise, reduces cognitive performance. On the other hand, listening to music or having ambient background noise increases productivity. Investing in a good pair of noise-cancellation headphones is, therefore, a must. Take your pick from industry leaders such as Sony, Bose and Sennheiser. Sony’s WH-1000XM4 (Rs 26,990) with its sleek business-like look and 30-hour battery life is a good bet. It has a high-quality microphone, making it ideal for Zoom meetings. If you use an iPhone or a Mac, you could go for Apple’s noise-cancelling over-ears – the Apple AirPods Max available in silver, pink and sky blue colours. Price: Rs 59,900.
A Treat For the Eyes
If you really want to give your home office the feel of the C-suite, you must hang some beautiful art on your walls. Thanks to Zoom calls, others are now privy to the interiors of your home. Let them feast their eyes on gorgeous art. Of course, art will bring you pleasure and enliven your surroundings, too.
What’s more, art helps improve creativity, increase productivity and reduce stress. According to a University of London study, viewing beautiful art increases blood flow to a part of the brain that ‘gives joy’. It can help you see things from a different perspective — you can also admire art for an out-of-the-box approach. In another survey on employee well-being, of 800 employees working in 32 US companies, 78 per cent of the respondents said that art in the workplace helped reduce their stress levels. Well, you don’t really need hard facts to see how a beautiful piece of art can have a calming effect on you.
Most CEOs have some art in their offices. Bring that culture home. You could take your pick from modern masters to contemporary artists. Bid online at a Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Saffronart auction or check out galleries such as DAG or Jehangir Art Gallery.
Let There Be Light
The perfect lighting can make all the difference to your home office. You neither want it too bright nor too dim. If you don’t want cords messing up your desk, you could check out rechargeable lamps or lights with a USB connection that can connect to your computer. Different areas of your home office will require different types of lighting – ambient lighting, task lighting or accent lighting. You can have an overhead light for more general room illumination and use a desk lamp for focus lighting. As long as your eyes are comfortable and you create the right ambience, your productivity may increase. Avoid fluorescent lighting as it is known to cause eye strain and may also trigger migraines.
While you may miss the office coffee breaks, there is no reason to not enjoy a good cup of coffee when working from home. In fact, now that you are home, indulge in a great cup of coffee and not the brown liquid that passes off as coffee in most offices. Try artisanal coffees where the focus is on high-quality beans from single-origin estates, roasted in small batches to ensure freshness. These are also ground as per your preferred method of brewing – French Press, mocha pot, aero press and so on. Some of the artisanal coffee brands include Blue Tokai, Araku and Halli Berri.
Having a couple of cups of coffee a day will also increase your energy levels. Many controlled studies show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function, including mood, memory, vigilance and reaction time – much needed when you are working from home.
If you are a fan of espresso-based drinks, check out the range of coffee machines from Nespresso that use their patented pod-based system – select your favourite from their coffee offerings, pop the pod in the machine and voila, you have a cup of great coffee. The Creatista Plus is perfect for making lattes and other drinks as it has an integrated steam wand for milk frothing. The LCD menu allows you to select from different temperature and milk settings. Price: Rs 64,999.
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