AAA members Design Age Institute has been collaborating with researchers from Northumbria University and Loughborough University to explore the principals of working well from home in a new guide on designing better workstations.
More people than ever are working into their later years, and increasing numbers are working from home, including setting up businesses and remote working. Too frequently, many of us are left to set up home offices or workstations with little guidance or understanding on how to work healthily, especially as we get older. To address the lack of specific guidance for setting up home workstations for different health conditions, they have produced “Out of Office: guidance on working from home as we age.”
Their top 20 tips to work well from home are:
1 Separate your home-life from your work-life.
2 Use a dedicated room for work, preferably not shared, promoting privacy.
3 Have control over room temperature, light, noise, air quality and access to fresh air.
4 Situate your workstation in a bright room or close to a window. Ambient and natural
light should ideally be combined to enhance legibility of screens and working
5 Working with an uplifting view of a garden or nature can positively impact your mood.
6 The work space should be comfortably warm during the winter avoiding close proximity to a radiator. During summer, windows should be easy to open to allow cooling.
7 Create an environment that is a pleasure to be in. Add plants, pictures and objects that
have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
8 Background noise should be minimal and adjusted to personal preferences and
9 Alarms, phone rings and other work related sounds should be adjusted to a
10 The floor surface should be sufficiently trip-resistant to prevent slips and falls and
robust enough to withstand wear and tear from a desk chair.
11 Use furniture that is adjustable if possible allowing ease of sitting and standing
12 Select comfortable and adjustable chairs with armrests and large, adjustable desks.
13 Create sufficient storage space for your needs.
14 Work related equipment and material should be within reach and cupboards or
cabinets easy to open.
15 Organise your workstation to make it more efficient to use. Contrasting colours and
transparent cabinets can be helpful to locate the items that you need.
16 Take short frequent breaks throughout the day – movement is key.
17 Establish healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet.
18 Take regular exercise and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
19 Participate in training to use new technologies or develop new skills.
20 Raise awareness of the importance of workstation ergonomics and organisation of
Out of Office, was inspired by workshops with users including Physiotherapists and Occupational Health professionals involved in Home Office to Age in Place project, led by Northumbria University and supported through the Institute’s Pathfinder Innovation Programme.
You can dive into the full research report here.