Working from home has numerous benefits, including a short commute time of just 30 seconds. Although working from a couch, backyard, or bed may seem appealing, a dedicated workspace with a desk and chair may boost productivity. When setting up a home office, you have the freedom to personalize it with your own style. However, the following tips will help you create an effective work-from-home space.
Choose the Right Location
Having a dedicated room for a home office is a luxury for some, but not everyone has that option. If you’re tight on space, consider using part of your kitchen table or finding an unused corner in a larger room, a spacious closet, or even under the stairs. With a bit of creativity, any space can be transformed into a functional office. Just keep in mind, if you opt for the kitchen table, you’ll need to pack up your office before each meal. If that doesn’t appeal to you, look for a more permanent solution.
If you have a separate room for your home office, you likely have complete privacy with full-length walls and a solid door. However, if your office is located in a shared space, such as a corner of your bedroom, it can be challenging to separate work from personal life.
To overcome this, consider adding a privacy divider to your home office setup. You can opt for traditional floor-standing dividers, or try hanging a curtain from the ceiling or a rod. Curtains are a cost-effective and versatile option for closing off your workspace and offer the opportunity to choose a design that matches your decor or adds a touch of personality.
Think About Other Users of the Space
When creating your home office, keep in mind the other people who will be using it and choose the location and furniture accordingly. Will children use the office for homework or will your spouse also be working from home? Consider a dual-user desk setup if so.
Will clients be visiting? Meeting them in the living room may not always be the ideal option, so ensure there’s adequate seating and table space for them as well.
Invest in Quality for Lasting Benefits
Setting up a home office requires investing in yourself and creating a professional environment that supports productivity and comfort. While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest furniture options, keep in mind that a low-cost desk might need to be replaced sooner, resulting in additional expenses in the long run. Consider quality when making your purchase, especially if you plan to spend 40 hours a week in your home office. Consider investing in quality to save money in the long run.
While it may seem convenient to use a dining room chair for your home office, spending extended periods sitting at a desk without proper back support can lead to posture issues. To prevent this, it’s important to invest in an ergonomic office chair that provides the necessary comfort and support while you work. Remember, investing in comfortable furniture is an investment in yourself and your health.
An ergonomic chair should have the following adjustable features:
- Height adjustment
- 360-degree swivel base
- Adjustable backrest and armrests
- Adjustable seat depth
- Built-in lumbar support for proper back support
Optimize Screen Position for Neck and Eye Comfort
Proper positioning of your monitor is important for both neck and eye comfort. Find the ideal spot by following these guidelines:
- Maintain a neutral spinal position
- Position the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level
- Place the monitor at least 20 inches from your eyes, or further if you have a large monitor
- Ensure you are looking slightly down at the middle of the screen to maintain proper neck alignment
- Tilt the screen back at an angle of 10 to 20 degrees, or between 30 and 45 degrees if you wear bifocals
- Most monitors are adjustable, but in case of need, a screen riser, books, or an old box can also be used to achieve the right adjustment
Choose the Right Desk for You
When working from home, your desk becomes an integral part of your daily routine. Therefore, it’s important to invest in a desk that fits your budget, supports your workflow, and enhances your overall productivity.
According to various studies, sitting for long periods can lead to aches and pains, or even long-term health issues. Consider opting for an ergonomic height-adjustable desk, which allows you to switch between sitting and standing positions with ease.
In addition to reducing physical discomfort, standing desks have been linked to improved health. Research has shown that standing for six hours a day, instead of sitting, can result in a loss of 2.49 kgs of body fat a year. By choosing a standing desk, you may improve your long-term health while promoting a more active lifestyle.
Store Your Supplies
When working remotely, our first thought often centers on just having a laptop. However, depending on your job, you may need additional items such as papers, pens, other office supplies, or even paper files.
Having dedicated storage solutions can not only benefit your household but also help keep your home office organized by providing a place for your files, papers, stationery, and more. It doesn’t have to be large cabinets or desks with many drawers, a simple cubby system with small bins or plastic storage tubs for easy packing at the end of the day can suffice. Even just dedicating a small section of your existing shelving unit to work items can instantly make you feel more organized.
Secure Sensitive Documents
Not all your storage needs can be met by shelves and cubbies. When you have confidential documents that can’t be left unsecured, it’s wise to invest in locking file cabinets. Luckily, security doesn’t have to compromise aesthetics. There are stylish, locking cabinets and drawers that blend in with your home office design.
Manage Your Cords
Having Wi-Fi is convenient, but it doesn’t mean you’ll escape from cords in your home office. Devices like laptops and smartphones still need to be charged and the home office is the perfect place for cords to accumulate.
Get organized with a cord management system. It could be a simple twist tie or something more sophisticated. Ensure that you implement it once you get it. When your office is located in a shared area, take note of the outlet placement when setting up. If you have to run power strips and extension cords, make sure they are covered and laid out safely.
Additionally, while organising your cords, consider your Wi-Fi coverage. There may be days when you prefer to work from a different location in the house or outside. Ensure that your router provides a strong connection to the desired location, you may need a Wi-Fi extender or mesh system for optimal coverage.
Light Up Your Space
Lighting is often underestimated in the creation of a home office. We often assume that sufficient light is provided by computer monitors and keyboards, but this is not the case. Poor lighting in your office can lead to eye strain and headaches, affecting your overall productivity. So, it’s important to make sure you have the right lighting setup.
Opt for a location in your home office with plenty of natural light. Not only will this improve your mood and potentially increase your productivity, but it’s also environmentally friendly. In cases where natural light is scarce or additional light is required, invest in appropriate lamps.
Overhead lighting may seem like a good idea, but it can cause glare on your screen or desk, making it difficult to see. Task lamps with a solid shade can direct light where it’s needed, while indirect lighting with lamp shades or diffusers can soften the light, reducing glare and eye strain. Just be mindful not to choose a light that is too diffused, as it may affect visibility.
A home office can be designed to your specific needs and located in any area that suits you, whether it be a comfortable corner or an expansive basement. The only restrictions are the available space and your creativity.