Whether your job is temporarily relocated to your home, or you have a permanent work-from-home position, you will still want the best working atmosphere. While seasoned remote workers find themselves just as productive at the kitchen table for a day, the home base of the in-house office should be one that promotes your success and doesn’t hinder it.
Working from home can be tricky if you’re still correlating your workspace with a comfy, cozy “after work” feel. We wrote about these tips for actually working from home, but now let’s talk about your office space.
1. A Quiet Space
This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised to know how many people just work on the couch in the middle of their living room with their kids running around.
Not everyone has an actual home office, so choosing a quiet space is important. It should not be a place that your family will walk by to get from point A to point B. It should be a place hidden away where one would only need to go if they were going directly to your workspace.
Think of it this way. You want your office in a cul-de-sac, not on the main road.
2. Comfortable Furniture
The best thing you can do for yourself is have your workspace be comfortable. Not being able to comfortably work in your office space for long periods of time will lead to discouragement and frustration.
Purchase a chair that promotes ergonomics. That doesn’t always mean the squishiest one you can find. Sometimes the most ergonomic chairs don’t appear so, or even feel incredibly comfortable when you first sit in them (but your body will thank you after 8 hours in it). Do your research, and head to an office supply store where you can actually sit in them and get a feel. You need to be able to spend a significant amount of time in them, so just grabbing a dining room chair isn’t recommended.
Your desk should be….well, a desk. Not an end table. Not a nightstand. Not a kitchen counter. There are reasons they make separate furniture for you to work at. And one of them is because it’s the right height, ergonomically, for you to be comfortable long-term. Tables that are the wrong height for computer work will cause you to hunch and strain yourself.
If you’ll be working from home permanently, consider investing in a stand-up desk. Either separate from your regular desk, or an all-in-one that moves up and down so you can choose whether to sit or stand. This helps keep you from sitting all day long and promotes good health.
3. Productive Equipment
If you use a laptop for work, consider getting a monitor, external keyboard and mouse you can hook up to, to give it that “desktop” feel. While laptops are great for being mobile, when you’re working in a set office space, the tiny screen isn’t the best for productivity. Not only is the size of the screen tough, but you often need to lean (in an unnatural way) because of the angle the screen needs to be to not reflect light or appear dim.
That being said, consider upping your game to two monitors. Once you have dual monitors, you’ll see your productivity increase, as multitasking becomes almost self-occurring.
You can even get a docking station that allows you to easily hook up and remove your laptop without having to individually unhook power, monitors, keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, etc. Just one thing to plugin as well as unplug.
Sometimes, with your office being in your home, it gets a little more cluttered than if it were a public space. After all, who is going to see it?
Keeping your office clean and clutter-free is key to a productive work environment. Especially your desk space. Tools like pen/pencil cups, drawer organizers, and file holders all help keep everything clean and efficient. You may not even notice your productivity diminishing in a messy space, but it definitely happens!
5. Make the Space Yours
There’s the comfort of furniture, but there’s also the comfort of ambiance. Having your own office at home gives you the ability to adjust things to how you like them.
In my home office, I tend to keep the lights off, unless I need them. There is natural light coming through the window, and I work better when the room has that calm feel to it.
Scents are another thing. Using a melt warmer, oil diffuser or candle and filling the room with whatever scent you wish. Not only can this make for a pleasant working environment, but there are also scented oils that are proven to increase work function.
Adding plants and other subtle decor can also help give your home office a productive ambiance.
If there’s one takeaway from all of these tips, the key is comfort. Being comfortable is the ultimate goal, as it is what will make you the most productive in your home office space. Once you’re comfortable, the creativity and focus can flow!