The COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge number of people suddenly working from home. All of a sudden, #WFH was a thing, with desk set-ups doing the rounds on social media. You won’t be surprised that we love a good desk (we’ve dedicated a whole article to them before). Some people purchased new furniture to ensure that they could work effectively and in comfort at home (we saw a marked pick-up in sales of our Modsys flat-pack plywood desks from across Europe and the USA), whilst many others will have “made do” until such time as their work place reopens.

Not all workplaces are reopening, however. Working from home has always been a thing in the world of freelance and self-employed, but now larger organisations are embracing it too. Twitter recently announced that employees can now work from home “forever” with no need to return to their offices when they eventually reopen, and Shopify’s CEO declared the end of “office-centricity”. Even as offices reopen, many workers have already expressed a desire to continue to work flexibly from home. If your work situation has changed and it now looks as though you will be working from home for longer than anticipated, what can you do to make your home office set-up and routine as beneficial as possible?

Ne Plus Ultra asked friend, photographer and co-working space founder Mat Arney for his tips on creating an efficient, healthy and positive workspace that are transferrable to the home.

Separate work and play. First up, as a former freelancer who worked from home for many years, if you’re able to then create a dedicated space and call it “work” so that you can keep work and home life separate. Get dressed for work, “go to work” and try to minimise distractions (easier said than done if you are now home-schooling) so that you can be super-efficient and get “home” as soon as possible.

Combine seated work with some time standing up. Whatever you do, don’t spend all day working on your laptop whilst sitting on the sofa, or even sat at your kitchen table. You don’t want to be dealing with a bad back on top off everything else. Even if you have a proper desk all set up, get a box, a stack of books, a small step or a toddler’s chair and put them on top of your desk, your kitchen or utility room worktop (etc…) to create a temporary standing desk. Aim to have your keyboard at elbow height. If you have a separate keyboard or monitor and can manage it, then getting your screen at eye-level is also really good for your posture. Switch between standing and sitting throughout the day (or just stay standing!)

Set a timer to go off once every hour. When it beeps, try hanging from something for one minute (at Hailer there is a pair of gymnastic rings that hang from a beam, but when at home you might have to try something like a beam in your garage, a tree in your garden (if you’re lucky enough to have a mature tree in your garden) or perhaps a pull-up bar across a door frame (if you have one). If like Dave you’re into climbing, then perhaps you could consider a campus board or bolt a couple of big climbing holds to an external wall. Just hang, nothing more. Then spend thirty seconds squatting down on your haunches (heels flat on the floor, trying to get your bum to touch your heels), stand up, and repeat for another thirty seconds. These are two easy minute-long ways to loosen up a body that is likely to be holding a lot of tension right now.

Fresh air breaks. When working from home, it’s easy to get wrapped in things and not leave the house all day. Take advantage of the flexibility granted by working from home, and get out of the house for a walk or some other form of exercise once each day, rather than eating your lunch at your desk. Fresh air does wonders for your productivity and effectiveness.

Any of the tables that we make here at Cord are suitable for use as seated desks. For those of you who are short on space and need an occasional table that you can pull up to a chair to use as a desk, our A11 laptop table is the perfect solution. If you’re interested in a standing desk then get in touch and we can discuss a made-to-measure option from our Nola or Modsys ranges, or a Modsys “desk topper” to elevate your laptop to standing desk height.

We now also offer our Modsys desks with a standing height leg options (based on an adult of average height), so you can order a standing height desk or add standing height legs onto a normal table order to give you the option to swap and change with just a few twists of an allen key.