A Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Creating A Healthy Work Space

I've been blogging on and off for a couple of years now but it's only really since March this year that Mother Distracted has become what I regard as my 'job'.  But, much to the consternation of the Husband and my physiotherapist, I've been spending far too long in a run-down armchair typing away with the company of ITV's motley morning crew as a general background noise.

It's not the best working environment now, is it?
Prior to that, I used to work typing away standing up at our breakfast bar (probably much better for my health and back) but, envious of the Husband's work-space in our loft (secret hideaway more like!), I'm coveting a work-space of my own.

When I used to work in office, the emphasis was always on health and safety (lawyers are not going to get caught out on that score!) so the desks were always the right height and the chairs ergonomically designed to support the lower back.  We were trained to have the PC monitor at the right height and distance away and counselled to always take a brief break every 30 minutes or so to rest our eyes, even if that was just by looking around or getting up and having a good stretch.

Now knowing all this, I wonder how many of us take the same care with our work-spaces as we do (or did) in offices?  How many of us are avoiding repetitive strain injury by using wrist rests (or foot rests) when we type.  And how many of us a getting a nice double chin from staring down at a laptop which is far too low for our natural eyeline?

I seem to have conveniently forgotten everything I used to do to protect my health when I was working in marketing legal services. Do I regularly get a cup of fresh water (coffee yes!)?  Do I get out for a walk in the fresh air every lunch hour?  Umm.

No.  My work-space needs to be designed to get me back into some healthier work habits. Don't tell the Husband but I'm planning to 'borrow' some of his loft!

There is already a nice desk and filing cabinet there but I would replace his old office chair with one of these as recommended last year by The Independent newspaper during Back Care Week 2014.

Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair - £925, John Lewis

I appreciate this may be more than you'd like to pay for a chair but given that you'd be sitting in it for years, I think it's a worthwhile investment in the health of your back.

I'd also get a laptop stand like this one to get the laptop screen closer to my eye level.

Slim Cool Laptop Stand - £59.94 - www.posturite.co.uk

together with a decent wrist rest, should the Husband ever let me use the PC.  I have to confess that, as a trained touch typist, I do prefer a 'proper' separate keyboard.

ErgoBeads Keyboard Wrist Rest- £21.22 - www.posturite.co.uk
Another problem we often face when reading a computer or laptop screen is glare from the sun. All that squinting can really give you a headache. We have VELUX windows in our loft and so I'd invest in some smart new VELUX blinds to ensure that I can see the screen clearly even when the sun is shining at its brightest. (Yes, we do get sunshine in Wales occasionally!).

Sholten & Baijings Roman Blind from VELUX
These blinds are part of a colour collection from Amsterdam-based designers, Scholten & Baijings who are inspired by the way light changes from dusk till dawn. The fabrics are cut individually and the blinds can be sculpted as you prefer. You can let in lots of sun light through the transparent blinds or block out the light entirely. Ideal for our loft.  I can only dream about living somewhere that remains pure white and pristine clean!

Then I'd add some funky stationery, some fresh flowers or a spider plant to clear the air and a coffee maker (oh alright then, a water bottle). Incidentally, you can find a list of 15 plants to improve your office air quality here.

Plus a very strong padlock.

What steps have you taken to ensure your work-space is helping you to stay healthy?

*This is a collaborative post.
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