By now, you’re probably working from home at least some of the time. Hopefully, you’ve already made sure that you’ve covered your ergonomic bases with your core office equipment. Now it’s time to take this to the next level with tech pieces that make your home office a healthier and happier place.
Possibly one of the biggest advantages of working from home is that you have control over your own lighting. Obviously, your first consideration has to be practicality. In other words, you need ambient lighting and task lighting. You can, however, choose your own bulbs. What’s more, if you choose smart bulbs, you can adjust them as you wish.
Not only can you make your lights brighter and dimmer, but you can also usually change the temperature of the light. Basically, that means you can choose whether the light has warm undertones (e.g. yellows) or cooler undertones (e.g blues). The difference is often subtle but you might be surprised at how much it can change the ambience in your home office.
In on-site working environments, it’s standard for employers to use an industrial-grade air tester to monitor the quality of the air. This is probably a bit excessive for the average home office. It is, however, very definitely worth investing in an air filter. Usually, the most practical way to do this is to buy one that doubles as a fan, preferably a quiet one.
There are two reasons why air-quality matters. The first is health. In a communal working environment, this can literally mean safety. In a home office environment, it’s more likely to mean wellness. Air quality in homes is unlikely to get low enough to make you really ill. It can, however, get low enough to make you feel out of sorts.
The second reason is productivity. Air is literally fuel for your body and brain. That means the quality of the air you breathe is every bit as important as the quality of the food you eat and the water you drink.
If you’re working from home, you’ll be paying your own electric bills. That means you want to heat and cool your home as cost-effectively as possible.
With the warmer weather coming up, cooling is likely to be the priority. In principle, you can cool your home by opening the window. In practice, there are two problems with this.
Firstly, opening a window only cools a home if the air is cooler outside than inside. That may be true in the early days of spring. This is the time when sunlight on glass can heat up a room even though it’s relatively cool outside. As temperatures rise, however, opening a window becomes less and less effective.
Secondly, opening a window doesn’t just let in the air. In fact, depending on the weather, it might not let in any air at all. What it will let in is noise and possibly dust, pollutants and insects as well. A high-quality fan will probably generate less noise than an open window. It will definitely keep out dust, pollutants and insects.
If you invest in a smart fan, it will monitor the air temperature and do the minimum necessary to keep it at your specifications. This means that you can cool your workspace (and its equipment) without running up a high electricity bill.
On similar logic, when temperatures drop, you want to keep warm at the lowest possible cost. Obviously, your most economical option is to layer up and this is definitely recommended. At the same time, you probably don’t want to take videocalls looking as though you’re about to head out to the Arctic.
If you already have smart heating, then you can simply program it to heat your home office but not the rest of the house (or only minimally). If you don’t, or want a backup, then you can buy a standalone electric radiator, again, preferably a smart one. This will ensure that you get only as much heat as you need and only when you need it.
A smart doorbell
This may seem like an odd suggestion but there is logic to it. Working from home means exactly that. In most jobs, it’s fine to pop away for a short while to do something you need (or just want) to do.
The key point, however, is that it should be something that adds value to your life in some way. You wouldn’t be around to answer the door to anyone if you were working on-site. You shouldn’t be expected to jump up and answer the door to just anyone when you’re at home. Use a smart doorbell to check if a distraction is worth your time.