Do you need a light like Needlite?

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

The clocks go back at midnight on Sunday, heralding the start of daylight saving time and winter. Justin doesn’t mind it, but it’s not a time of year that I look forward to – the long nights get me down-in-the-dumps. I find it hard to wake up and get going in the morning. It used to be much more of a struggle back when I commuted every day – waking up in the dark, coming home in the dark and spending those few precious daylight hours cooped up indoors. Does your mood change when the clocks go back in the autumn?

Boxed Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

Needlite ™ has recently sent us a pair of their daylight desk lamps to try out and review. They’re LED lights which emit a similar spectrum of light that you get from sunshine. They help alleviate negative mood changes and depression from the lack of natural light; and in so doing, can help improve work performance, productivity and creativity.

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

They’ve been set up, at the advised 45º angle, either side of a large table which we use for both office and craft activities – a simple, two-minute job. They’re sleek and minimalist – and look really great.

Needlite ™ iPhone app screenshots | H is for Home

You can operate the lights manually by finger touch control – or alternatively, you have the option of downloading an app for your smartphone (another 2-minute job) and controlling them that way. You can alter the brightness/dimness and even give yourself a little daylight boost if necessary.  You can also use the app to programme them to switch off at a particular time – a great way of letting you know that your working day is over!

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

I could feel the positive effects immediately – my mood lifting on the dark, drizzly day that we took these photos. Our work room faces almost east, therefore loses direct sunlight pretty early on in the day. With our new Needlite lamps, it will make it feel like it’s south facing!

I think they’re going to be a godsend this winter and they come highly recommended for fellow Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.

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How to create a home office where you’d want to work

Home office

In the 21st century, more and more of us are becoming self-employed – and employers themselves are becoming more flexible about remote working. That means that many people now operate from home. Living and working in the same place can be hard to do – there are so many distractions; domestic chores, family, knocks at the door. To make a success of it, you might need to create a home office where you’d want to work and enjoy spending time. We’ve come up with a few ways that can help you attain this…

Home office desk and chair

Furniture

The first place you’ll want to start is with your office furniture. If you’re going to be spending an entire working day in a room, comfort is paramount. Office chairs should be ergonomic and supportive; sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc with the shoulders, back and spine.

If you have the space, additional office seating such as an armchair or small sofa gives you more options for activities such as reading documents and having meetings etc. It also encourages you to step away and avoid staring at your computer screen for extended periods of time.

Office desks need to be the correct height in relationship to office chairs. Too high or too low and it will affect your posture which could cause discomfort and aches & pains.

home office desk with books and bowl of fresh fruit salad

Lighting

Natural light is the best for working. Have your desk face a window rather than away from it (glare from sunlight on a computer screen can strain your eyes). Besides, being in front of a window can be an effective distraction if the view is over a garden, landscape or cityscape. Staring out helps you think and come up with imaginative ideas!

If natural sunlight isn’t an option, your choice of electric lighting becomes even more important. A desk lamp is the next best thing. It can be positioned to shine in just the spot where it’s needed. If your desk space isn’t large enough to accommodate a lamp, an adjustable floor-standing lamp could be the answer. It is important to choose the correct wattage of bulb – nothing too dim or too bright – something around 50Watts.

Overhead fluorescent strip lights are not recommended as they can cause eye strain and lead to headaches.

Desk with box files

Environment

For you to work effectively, your home office needs to be well organised. As the saying goes, “a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind”. Move mess off your desk and into storage. Install shelves and drawers and put paper into filing trays & boxes. Use a noticeboard Uncluttered, ordered, distraction-free

Keeping your office environment tidy is just the start. Enhance the space with houseplants which purify the air. Keep healthy snacks, bottle of water, tea/coffee maker (just the smell of coffee can boost spirits) to hand.

Finally, you need to think about the ambient temperature. No one enjoys working somewhere where it’s too hot or too cold. There’s no recommended temperature – everyone’s different. However, a YouGov survey found that the average British person says their ideal temperature is 21ºC.

Home office with bright orange feature wall

Colour

There is a psychology of colour, it can subconsciously affect your mood. For instance, blue is associated with feelings of calm, green represents nature, growth and renewal, grey is sophisticated and practical, yellow is warm, energetic and uplifting. You can add colour to your working environment in many ways – a lick of paint, colourful furniture or pretty accessories.

Home office desk with inspiration wall

Inspiration & motivation

We all need inspiration and motivation at work sometimes; getting over the Wednesday hump or when Friday just seems to drag. There are visual and aural methods of improving your productivity – artworks, postcards, photos. Some people need complete silence to work, however, tuning into the radio, playing music or listing to recorded sounds from nature such as birdsong or rain showers can increase your work rate.

Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll be able to create a home office space that makes you comfortable, productive, happy and healthy.

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The dos and don’ts of shared office space

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Shared office space can be a hoot – it can be great for networking, creativity and for saving money on the monthly office rent. It’s also good socially; anyone who works from home on a regular basis will tell you how isolating it can become after a while. However, if you go into a shared office space with the wrong attitude, that office space in Surbiton can easily become a war zone and going to work will become a nightmare for everyone. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you to guarantee a harmonious – and productive – workspace.

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Do be considerate

Get to know your co-workers so you know how they operate. If they need peace and quiet in the afternoons and you’re loud on the phone, go outside when your BFF calls. If you’re a compulsive communicator and your phone and laptop ping every two minutes, set them to silent.

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Don’t be untidy

This is an extension of being considerate and is equally important at your own desk and in shared areas. There are people who simply can’t work in a mess and so your litter, messy shelves and rows of unwashed mugs will actually affect their productivity. They may also feel compelled to clean up after you and that’s just not on. Clean up after yourself!

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Do talk to people

A huge benefit of shared office space is the chance for interaction with people. You can chat, share a coffee and ideas, head out for drinks and maybe even collaborate.

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Don’t talk too much

Keep chit-chat to reasonable levels – no blow-by-blow accounts of drunken antics, TV spoilers or inane jokes, especially if it looks like others are busy. If you’re dying to catch up on some gossip, head out for lunch instead. Also, if someone looks busy, leave them alone.

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Do make it personal

You can make your desk and space your own. Of course you need to check with the leasing agent what you are and aren’t allowed to do, but a few photos won’t hurt. Don’t, however, think your favourite oil burner fragrance or your pet scorpion will be hits with everyone.

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Don’t just huddle at your desk

Use all the amenities – that conference room is there to be used, as is the break-out room and even that patch of garden. If you need to have an awkward conversation with someone, either over the phone or in person, take it away from your desk. If you’re having a meeting, use a meeting room – your desk isn’t the best place for a frank exchange of views.

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Do chip in for the kitty

Give some money to the tea and coffee fund, and stick the kettle on now and then. Bring some biscuits or home-made cakes in once in a while and encourage others to do the same.

Hopefully these tips will help you to create a harmonious atmosphere in your office space. You could also use them to help others to get along, especially if they’re breaking one of these golden rules. We all want harmony at work, right?

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