By Mackenzie Fox
Adults who work from home spend a long time in the office. Some of us will spend five years of our lives sitting at desks, in fact! So one thing’s clear: that home office had better be a healthy place. Perhaps you built your home office in a cabin to be closer to greenery and natural light? Excellent, but that can bring its own problems.
Before truly settling into your relaxing cabin office, absolutely make sure you’ve read the OHS requirements for home offices. It sounds like a lot of things to have to take into consideration, but it’s perfectly possible to follow all these rules and still have a good, productive cabin office for your use.
A cabin home office has many advantages over the regular home office – but generally, it’ll be smaller. This can provide a problem when it comes to wires. Sure, you’ve probably already invested in as much wireless equipment as you can, but in a cabin the essential wires can suddenly seem a lot more obtrusive than they might be elsewhere. Where else can they go other than the floor?
Well, there are many solutions. Some people turn them into wall art! If you’re not an artist, though, there are other ways. Use eye hooks to attach wires to the underside of your desk, out of sight, or even have them run under the floors or behind the walls. Make sure you check the building codes in your area before starting work on that last one though.
Too much noise
Building a home office in a backyard cabin seems like a great way to escape the noise and chaos of a family home, but distractions may still come from other sources. Roads, loud neighbors, even birdsong can annoy you into not getting enough work done. Worst-case scenario, if there’s a loud source of noise nearby (like building works for example) it could damage your hearing in the long term.
Look into getting double-glazed glass and sliding doors for your cabin office. You can get your ceiling soundproofed too if you need to – plus, that could be absolutely essential if you run a business where confidentiality is key.
Repetitive strain disorder, tiredness, muscle cramps – there’s an endless list of problems one can suffer just from working at a desk. And in a smaller cabin office, there’s less chance to stretch your legs. There’s a solution, though: ergonomic office furniture. This is furniture designed specifically to promote health in the workplace, it’s easy to get hold of, and it’s easy to install in a cabin office.
Examples of ergonomic furniture include:
Standing desks – this may sound odd, but studies have shown that standing up whilst working can help prevent heart disease, low metabolism and er, “dormant butt syndrome.” Plus, workers who stand are generally 10 percent more productive than ones who sit.
Yoga balls – if you’d rather not stand all day, maybe you’d prefer to sit on a big ball instead. Yoga balls aren’t just for gyms anymore: sitting on one whilst working makes your body move constantly, burning calories and helping with your posture.
Adjustable chairs – your office furniture shouldn’t be making you uncomfortable, regardless how tall or short you are. If you have a chair, you should always have one that can be adjusted so your feet reach the floor.
One of the biggest problems with a cabin office can be that not enough light gets in, so the room feels cramped and it’s hard to see. Obviously, struggling to see papers or a computer screen in dim light can lead to eye strain.
What you need to do is let as much natural light as possible into your work area. Position your desk near to a source of light such as a window. And if you’re using the windowsill as an extra storage space, don’t! Remove everything from it so the light shines through.
As for non-natural light, it’s very much possible to have attractive light fixtures that still provide the correct amount of lighting for the room. Investing in a dimming system is recommended, too – it’ll even help you save on your energy bills.
Once you’ve done turning your cabin office into a healthy and safety-conscious space, don’t forget that you can use the same principles to improve any other cabin space – vacation homes or lake homes, for example! After all, it’s also not healthy to be working all the time.