Working from home can take the pressure off from the conventional office setting and is now an acceptable practice for many modern businesses. However, your levels of productivity could potentially be reduced if your home office is not adequately optimized to support your work. Numerous studies have confirmed that a person’s work environment has a profound effect on their quality of work. It has been found that factors such as lighting, air quality, and noise levels are all important to consider concerning a dedicated workspace.
Check out these 12 easy tips to ensure that you are operating at optimum levels while working from your home office.
- Draw up a plan
If you’re going to get organized, you’re going to need a plan. First of all, determine what you can afford and make sure you have a budget before you start. You don’t want to start a particular design concept only to abandon it half-way through for something more affordable. Next, assess your space. Are there any features you would like to highlight? Perhaps a large window or a bare wall that you can transform into a feature wall will do. How big is the area, and what can you fit in it without cramping it? Measure the room with a measuring tape for more accurate results and to ensure that whatever furniture you choose is suitable for the available space.
2. Make sure your workspace serves you
Having to leave your office multiple times a day can be very distracting and detrimental to your productivity. Therefore, boost your efficiency by making sure that your office can accommodate a variety of tasks and activities. What will you be doing in this space? Do you need a spot where you can easily get inspired, have a quick lunch, or take a break? Decide what constitutes your typical “workday” at home and what you would want to get done in your office. Then plot out where you’ll want to have these activities done and design your space accordingly.
3. Get rid of the clutter
Picture this. It took you two minutes to find that piece of paper you were looking for, and another two minutes to find a paperclip to help you keep that paper from wandering off. Like little drops of water, those minutes add up. And not only does clutter waste your time, but studies have also shown that it increases your likelihood of procrastinating. So, declutter your home office to help you save time and make things more easily accessible. Get rid of stuff you don’t use. Or, better yet, get some extra cash by selling off unused items such as toner cartridges to sites like SellToner.com. Clearing up your office space will go a long way to help you focus more on achieving your daily objectives.
4. Mind your body
Whether you’re thinking of investing in ergonomic chairs, a standing desk or a treadmill desk, paying attention to your health while you work is always worth it. Not only will you be avoiding frustrating backaches and neck pain, but also a host of other health problems such as migraines, visual strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Alternate between standing and sitting work areas to make sure you are incorporating some activity into your day. The more active you are, the less likely you are to suffer from diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle such as obesity and heart problems.
5. Go paperless
Papers pile up fast. They add to your clutter, require extra space to organize, and are not eco friendly. If you want to avoid the need for filing cabinets and free up drawer space, try avoiding paper altogether. Scan your important documents and store them digitally so that you no longer need multiple paper copies of them. You don’t even need to buy a scanner to do this. Apps on smartphones and tablets work just fine. Another tip is to recycle or shred any unnecessary paper documents quickly. Also, make it a point to unsubscribe from paper mail that always ends up unread and in the trash.
6. Be wary of wires
Always consider where to position your technology so that it doesn’t get in your way. Be mindful of power outlets and cables from your tech equipment, such as your desktop and WiFi router. Make sure you don’t have wires and cables crisscrossing all over your floor where they might trip you up. Disorganized cables are an unsightly nuisance in any office. Try using cable management clips, boxes, and trays to make sure your wires aren’t crossed.
7. Lighting matters
Good lighting can help minimize fatigue, improve your mood, and enhance overall comfort and productivity. Dim lighting causes you to strain your eyes, whereas excessively bright lights such as the “bright white” fluorescent variety can lead to headaches and difficulty focusing your eyes. The best lighting by far is natural light, so try as much as possible to incorporate that into your space. Draw back the curtains, open the blinds, and let the sunshine in. A room with South-facing windows will serve best to provide your office with ample amounts of natural light, even during the winter. For working at night, LED bulbs, halogen bulbs, and incandescent bulbs are safer options for maintaining visual health.
8. Color your mood
The color palette of your office can significantly affect your mood, which in turn affects your work output. Adding colour is an affordable way to redecorate and optimise your space. Incorporate the colors green and blue into your office space to provide a calming and restful atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, these colors are Mother Nature’s go-to, which makes them naturally compatible with optimizing your functional capacity. On the other hand, dull colors such as grey and beige have been found to be associated with feelings of sadness and depression. So, choose your colors wisely as you pick furniture pieces, office accessories, and wall paints, and remember that moderation is key. Office plants are an easy way to add a touch of green to your office without going overboard.
9. Consider your air quality
In addition to adding some color to your office, plants are also excellent for improving the air quality in the room. Mounting evidence suggests that poor air quality is associated with cognitive decline and can negatively affect your mental health. By 2012, it was estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that more than 140 million U.S. residents lived in areas with air pollution exceeding regulations. Plants such as the snake plant are low-maintenance and extremely efficient at absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the air. Other ways to improve the air quality in your room are to open windows frequently to improve ventilation and avoid harsh chemical detergents when cleaning up.
10. Keep your office to yourself
If possible, your office should be a space entirely dedicated to your work. That means no kids, pets, or other distractions allowed. You can try using a room divider as a compromise if you don’t have an entire room for this purpose. Conversely, if you are someone who needs some background noise to help you focus, keep a sound system in your office to play music or ambient sounds of your choosing. No space for a sound system? Earphones work just as well. Whatever the case, ensure that your family or roommates respect your workspace, especially during your work hours. This helps you to avoid the embarrassment of home interruptions during any work conference calls and to maintain a professional demeanor even as you work from home.
11. Let your office reflect your style
Whether it’s modern, minimalist, or bohemian, your style should be well represented in your office space to make it a welcoming space to you. The more welcoming it is, the more time you will be willing to spend there. Use an inspiration board to guide you on what kind of décor to include and try not to overdo it. Too many decorative pieces can overwhelm your space and turn into a source of distraction from your work. Too few pieces result in a space that lacks personality and falls short of stimulating your mind. Try to strike the perfect balance between function and form to ensure that your space is neither boring nor excessive in terms of style.
12. Decide who does the heavy lifting
If your budget allows for it, an interior designer can be helpful in executing your vision of what you want your office to feel and look like. Otherwise, make the most of this as a “DIY” project and experiment with ideas that appeal to you. It doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion from a family member or friend as you go along or consult home décor sites for inspiration.
Working from home can be a liberating experience without having to compromise on the quality of your work. Whether you are starting from scratch or reorganizing an old space, these simple steps can help you make the most of the space available to you. Organize your home office to promote a productive work environment that boosts your efficiency and allows you to enjoy what you do.