Working remotely has become increasingly popular in recent years. Advancements in technology have made it easy to work just about anywhere. Now, thanks to the impact of COVID-19, more people have found themselves working from home than ever before. In fact, before the pandemic one study revealed that 80% of workers wanted to work remotely at least some of the time. Whether you’re starting a home-based business, you’re working remotely due to the pandemic, or your new job is allowing you to work from home, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to set up a practical, functional, personable office space.
Having a designated place to work at home will help to keep you from getting distracted, and it will also make it easier to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Having an office space that speaks to who you are is just as important as having an ideal bedroom space. With that in mind, let’s go over six helpful tips you can use to create the perfect home workspace that will keep you focused and productive as you start your work-from-home chapter.
1. Consider Storage Options
Depending on your space, you might not have many options for storage in your home. If you’re starting your own business, you might have to find space for products, files, paperwork, etc. While it might be easier to work at home than finding office space for your startup somewhere else, you might have to get creative. So, how can you make the most of limited storage space?
It really depends on how much you’re willing to invest in your office. If you’re dedicating an entire room to your work, buying a beautiful bookshelf is a great way to store things in the open so they are at your fingertips when you need them. A well-organized bookshelf also looks great as a backdrop if you have to run Zoom meetings, etc.
But, if your space is truly limited and you’re setting up your office in a guest bedroom of the home, creativity is your friend. Most bedrooms have closets, and by adding a few shelves into that closet, you can turn it into an effective storage space, and no one has to see the clutter. So, the room can still function as a guest bedroom, even though you work there.
2. Make Ergonomic Decisions
Most office spaces actually take employee comfort into great consideration in a way you might not initially do at home. If you’re getting office inspiration online from platforms like Pinterest, think twice about what you really want.
For example, certain ‘vintage’ items might look great in pictures, but they just aren’t practical. You’re not going to want to sit on a 100-year old chair for 8-10 hours each day. Instead, focus on ergonomics when it comes to choosing office furniture and your setup.
Your chair should provide support and encourage you to sit up straight. Your computer should be tilted at just the right angle so you don’t put a strain on your neck. While your office should absolutely be a place to let your personality shine (more on that later), it also needs to be comfortable enough to keep you from getting distracted during the workday.
3. Add a Bit of Comfort
Speaking of being comfortable, it’s okay to have a designated “comfort” spot in your office. You don’t need to be glued to a desk all day. In fact, taking breaks throughout the day can actually help to improve your productivity and make you more focused. So, don’t be afraid to put in a comfortable chair or sofa somewhere in your office. You might be able to come up with better ideas from a comfortable spot, and you can enjoy more leisurely breaks in the comfort of your own home.
4. Use As Much Natural Light as Possible
There are so many benefits to using natural light in your home office space. Natural light can boost your mood throughout the day and give you more energy. Plus, if you have a window next to your desk, it will help to give you something to look at during your breaks.
If you’re in a room without a lot of natural light, invest in a few lamps, and choose bulbs that offer a warm glow. You don’t want your home office to feel like a big box store, or even a traditional office cubicle. So, take advantage of light as much as possible. Not only will it benefit your performance, but playing around with different shades and lamps can make it easier to come up with a unique design space that showcases your personality.
5. Use Color Psychology
Color psychology refers to the way different colors can evoke different emotions. For example, many people use soft yellow in their kitchen because it creates an atmosphere of happiness and makes people more comfortable when congregating there.
For a home office, you’ll want to avoid colors that are overly-neutral. Instead, go for a dark green or blue, but don’t be afraid to mix and match colors that appeal to you and your personal sense of style. If you do go with a more subdued color for the walls, accent it with different pieces of decor, including artwork on the walls, throw pillows, and decorative accent pieces.
6. Get Inspired
Remember, this is your office space. You don’t need to make it look like a standard cubicle. It’s okay to let your personality shine through in as many ways as possible. It’s also a good idea to include some things in your office that inspire you. That could include anything from artwork to motivational quotes. It can even include pictures of your loved ones.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating your home office. Instead, put it together with the things that will keep you motivated each day.
A Few More Tips for Making a Home Office Work
Working from home can be great in many ways. It offers flexibility, and some studies have shown that people who work remotely are actually more productive than their in-office counterparts. But, once you have your dream office officially set up, there are a few “rules” you should put in place as you get started:
- Make your office space exactly that – something used for work only. Don’t set up shop in the living room where the television is running all day. You don’t need to have a lot of space for your office, but it should be somewhere specific without any other home distractions.
- Set working hours for yourself. It’s easy to get out of bed whenever you want, start work whenever you want, etc. But, you will be much more productive and achieve a better work-life balance if you stick to a routine. Try to get up at the same time each day, go through your morning routine, get dressed, and go to your home workspace just as though you were going into an office. Start at the same time each day and end at the same time so you don’t let your work life interfere with your home life.
- Make sure the whole family is on board. When you do set working hours, family members (including kids) who are home need to know that you aren’t available. Now, if your child truly needs something, of course it’s okay to take a break! But, everyone else in the home should understand that when you’re in your office, you’re working, and it isn’t time to socialize.
By combining these tips with the creation of your ideal office space, you can make working from home an incredible opportunity to grow, and have more freedom within your career.