Working from home has its challenges, and your study space can really impact your wellbeing, especially if there's no separation from work and leisure. Boost your wellbeing by shaking things up.
It can be tough trying to work and study from home, particularly if you’re stuck in a small room in lockdown. Making some simple changes to your work environment can help boost productivity, wellbeing and give you back a sense of control.
Trying to work in a messy workspace is unproductive and can be damaging to our sense of focus. Brain scans of people working in both messy and tidy rooms showed that those working in messy rooms were more distracted and got less done. They were also more likely to feel more stuck, or annoyed, than those working in tidy rooms.
On the flipside - having a tidy workspace that’s just for work and study can help you get a lot more done. And scientists have found that blue rooms that have plants in them are brilliant for focusing and smashing through your to-do list.
So starting today, what changes can you make to your workplace to make it a great place for focused work?
1. Bring nature to your desk
Scientists have found that humans naturally want to spend time outdoors in nature. They think this is because when we can see natural things (like water, trees and plants) that we need for food and shelter, we automatically feel safer, happier and calmer.
But we don’t always have to be outside to feel the benefits of nature. Just looking at indoor plants and pictures of nature is also great for happiness and wellbeing.
Think about how you can bring bits of nature to your study environment - can you brighten your study area up with plants, pictures or even a nature-based screensaver? Can you listen to the sounds of nature as you work? And are you close enough to a source of natural light?
2. Look after your posture
Many of us are working in makeshift workspaces, in particular given the restrictions Covid-19 has thrown up.
If you’ve got a proper workspace and desk - that’s great, and make the most of it! Otherwise, make sure you are sitting upright at a table, with a suitable chair - a dining room table and chair should do fine.
Bear in mind, if you’re using a laptop, your screen may not be at the right height - so try to use an external monitor to raise your field of vision.
Slumping on the sofa or sitting in bed are bad for our posture, as well as bad for helping us compartmentalise work and relaxation - so try and avoid this at all costs.
Sometimes mixing it up is the best thing. Get up and move throughout the day. Get a wireless headset and walk around the room while you’re in calls or meetings - or take a break for yoga, a walk or a run during your working day.
Getting a variety of movement into your day is as important for your physical and psychological health as it is for your posture - so make sure you’re prioritising it if working remotely.
3. Create a study space
Mixing work and play is never a good idea, but if you’re having to sleep, relax and study in the same space, you don’t have much choice.
Make sure you’ve got a dedicated desk and area for study, with your books, laptop and other study materials, so that you can turn your back on it at the end of a long day. At the same time, don’t let your social life distract you from what you should be doing - keep your mobile away from you, or better still switched off, when you need to concentrate.
What changes can you make to improve your workspace? If you’re a Fika user, let us know what you think in the Fika app’s Community feed. Fika has partnerships with 41 universities across the UK. For a list of Fika’s university partners, please click here.
How are you finding studying remotely? Join our panel and let us know your thoughts - you’ll get a £10 voucher just for signing up.