Having a healthy, comfortable workspace will make you want to get out of bed each morning. While most of us just like to get the eight-hour shift over with, time spent working can be more enjoyable with a little bit of effort. It’s time to take a look at your current desk or cubicle and make some changes to create the ultimate healthy workspace.

Why is it important?

Whether you work from home or go into an office every day, a well-lit and pleasantly decorated ergonomic workspace will keep you feeling productive. It will also increase your mood, even on the most stressful of work days. If you fail to create a space that’s considered healthy and comfortable, you might be putting yourself at risk for accidents and injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tension headaches.

How to create a healthy workspace

Creating a healthy workspace will pay off in more ways than one. You’ll feel more productive, inspired, and happy, which are all key when it comes to working hard. If you’re simply updating your existing desk area or doing a complete overhaul, these tips can help you create a welcoming and healthy work environment.

Choose the right furniture

If you’re working in a large office, you might not have a choice when it comes to what desk or chair you get to use. But many employers have implemented budgets for their employees for workspace upgrades so it’s always worth an ask, especially if you tell them that the new furniture will increase your productivity. Both home and office workspaces should be anchored by an adjustable office chair that supports your back while enabling your feet to sit firmly on the ground.

Those who use a cheap or worn out office chair may find that their posture has become poor or could experience spinal disc and muscle strains. An easy way to check if your posture is being negatively impacted by your desk and chair at work is to look closely at your shoulders in the mirror. If they slump forwards, it’s time for a new ergonomic set up.

Once a new chair is on its way, you may also want to consider purchasing an adjustable desk that will let you switch between sitting and standing. This will encourage you to stand and move more throughout the day, leaving you feeling energized and productive.

Think about the technology

If the majority of your work day is spent working at a computer, an ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic mouse will work wonders. These will reduce the pressure and strain put on your hands and wrists, keeping you from developing painful muscular conditions. Your mouse and keyboard should be placed in a position so that when you work, your arm hangs loosely from the shoulder and the elbow is bent at 90 degrees. Additionally, to prevent neck and eye strain, make sure your monitor is at arm’s length and propped up to eye-level.

Adjust the lighting

The lighting around your desk can impact your energy levels and comfort at work. Your cubicle or home office should have general lighting, as well as task lighting that illuminates the entire space without shadows, glare, or over-the-top brightness. Glare can also be avoided by placing your computer’s monitor perpendicular to windows and using black-out blinds or curtains.

The lighting in an office can make a direct impact on everyone working there, altering their mood and motivation. Working somewhere with dull and dark lighting will definitely impact productivity. Some research has shown that including red light in your workspace can improve sleep, fend off seasonal depression, and increase vitamin D levels in your body. Plus, if you find that you’re sensitive to bright lights and your computer monitor, a pair of blue light blocking glasses can ease any of the irritation that you’re experiencing.

Create a space for movement

Along with using your standing desk when checking emails, it’s a great idea to create a small space for movement in your workspace. Taking a break from your tedious work tasks every hour or so to stretch is an easy way to refresh your muscles and nerves while preventing strains and repetitive motion injuries. If you don’t have any room for movement near your desk, consider breaking your day up with a walk or visit to the nearby gym or fitness studio. The afternoon hours will feel much more tolerable if you’ve woken yourself up with exercise instead of copious amounts of caffeine and sugar.

Be mindful about your posture

At work, it’s easy to fall into bad habits like slouching over your desk or sprawling back into your chair. And when you’ve got a busy work and social life schedule, it’s hard to find the time to exercise. This inactivity can cause muscle weakness, which makes you even more prone to slouching. The complications of poor posture at your desk can result in back and neck pain, spinal dysfunction, shoulders that tilt forwards, and tension headaches. When you’re typing away, try to be mindful of your posture to ensure that your back is straight, shoulders square, and feet sitting flat on the floor. As for your arms, they should be at a 90 degree bend at the elbow when reaching for your ergonomic keyboard.

Decorate it with small things that bring you joy

Adding pictures of your partner, children, friends, and pets to your workspace will help you keep a positive mood while spending the day at your desk. These will also serve as a conversation piece, encouraging coworkers to visit your workspace more often for pleasant chats. But if your workspace is at home, without any coworkers milling around, the photos will keep you motivated. For those who aren’t into photographs, go shopping for a fun mug, book ends, a paper weight, or another joyful accessory that can sit on top of your desk.

If you’ve been blessed with a green thumb, a little cactus or succulent will make the perfect addition to your workspace. It’s something to care for and will brighten up the space. Some plants can even improve the air quality.