Slowly, but surely I’ve been improving my work environment both at the office as well as at home. If I’m going to spend one quarter of the week in front of a screen earning paycheck, it makes sense to optimize not just the productivity, but perhaps most importantly the external factors that impact my health in the long run. Last year’s back surgery – albeit only a minor operation – was a stark wake-up call for this.
Of course I have more freedom to optimize my work environment at home, so that’s what this article will focus on. Without further ado, here’s what I’ve done so far to upgrade my home office.
- Standing desk. And it truly is a standing desk, as I don’t even have an office chair! I still need to find a proper monitor mount to get both of the screens just a little bit higher to reduce strain on my neck.
- CubeFit TerraMat. Before getting this mat I thought that “encourages movement” is just a marketing phrase. The shapes and mounds on this standing mat are great for massaging soles and stretching my calves, but I’d prefer them being a bit harder for more intense experience. I have a Gymba balancing board over at the office, but TerraMat is way better in every sense. Less standing fatigue, more natural movement, stretching possibilities, etc.
- Natural sunlight, view towards a field and woods. An extremely unappreciated way to balance stress levels and keep your circadian rhythm in sync! Of course the possibility to open the side windows during summer provides fresh air and sound of birds. Sighting a pack of deer in the morning is not uncommon. Can’t beat that in any corporate office!
- Red Light Rising Half Stack. High quality red light panels have begun to be fairly common in self-optimization circles. I’m willing to bet that once the prices of the panels start coming down, we’ll first start seeing them popping up in gyms and fitness centers, and then slowly in homes as well. My review of the Half Stack red light panel can be read here.
- Raanu from my great-grandmother, in South Karelian colors. Two reasons why this made my list. First, I think it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate one’s roots. With all the technology I surround myself with, time and time again it’s proved to be beneficial to go back to basics, back to things and ways of our grandparents or ancestors. There’s a lot to learn in there, both in terms of life skills as well as what we now call biohacking. Second, for me it serves as a reminder to be more connected with my local community. In the famous words of Schwarzenegger: “Whatever path that you take in your lives, you must always find time to give something back, something back to your community, give something back to your state or to your country”.
- A good chair to rest my feet after long periods of standing by the desk. Also having a convenient reading spot to minimize the friction of picking up a book on a whim has multiplied my reading pace.
- Signed copy of Biohacker’s Handbook, 1st edition (2016). I always keep one or two books by the chair so I can take quick and effortless reading breaks throughout the day, working or not.
- Bookshelf (not pictured). Beyond the books themselves, there’s binoculars for opportunistic wildlife spotting and
- Bamboo palm (not pictured). One of the houseplants recommended in NASA’s study “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement”. I’ll have to see if I could find a place for more plants in the future, they’re definitely great bang-for-the-buck to upgrade your surroundings.
- BONUS! My drink of choice for a work day is a good sized cup of black organic coffee, mixed with L-Theanine powder and Lion’s mane mushroom extract. Highly recommended!
Nothing super complicated in the end. I’m aiming for those basic things that have the biggest gains. If you’re in the process of upgrading your work environment, I suggest starting with ergonomics. Here’s few pointers to get you started: