Whether full-time or only for a few days during the week, many of us are working from home (WFH) for the foreseeable future or even permanently. Several studies have shown that working from home doesn't necessarily have a catastrophic effect on productivity, but if you're concerned about your performance suffering from the transition to remote work, review this guide to help you stay on task and organized by designing your dream home office.
If you want to cultivate a devoted space for work, don't go about it like a rookie. To create a home office that keeps you feeling energized and ready to address your daily tasks, you'll need to follow a few simple rules—first, don't mix work and play. Establish "absolute" workspaces and try not to venture toward the sofa or your bedroom during work hours. Keep your recreational spaces sacred, as you'll need a personal retreat that won't remind you of the workday if you don't have the option of going into an office or working outside of your home at all.
What will you need to get all of your work done? If you're just getting started with your home office plans, create a list of all of the hardware, software, and miscellaneous equipment needed to be effective while working remotely. This may include downloading a word processor, establishing a stronger Wi-Fi connection, purchasing a printer or VPN, or even repurposing an entire room for a home office. If you can't remember everything that you used in your actual office, keep a running list handy throughout the workday to jot down things that come to mind as you work without them for the first time.
If you share your living space with a partner, children, or a roommate, you likely may not enjoy the luxury of total privacy and silence whenever you need to get things done. Communicate with your housemates about your schedule and the appropriate noise level during the workday to help you stay focused. If you frequently need to join video calls and can't close your door because you need to keep an eye on a child or pet, try to at least stay muted to remain courteous to other participants.
How effective can you be from home with a messy workspace? Assign every item in your office a "home" so that you'll know exactly where to find it should you need it. With this in mind, you should make sure that everything in the room is accessible—if your office is cramped, you'll run the risk of knocking things over, accumulating clutter, and frequently losing things.
Believe it or not, colors can have a huge impact on your mood: certain colors can be energizing, soothing, or even inspiring. Surrounding yourself with colors that motivate you or promote creativity can make work more enjoyable. Consider purchasing a rug, lamp, or throw pillow in one of your favorite colors, but for the sake of consistency and aesthetics, try sticking to cohesive themes.
If you're making a sizeable investment in your home office, you're probably planning to spend a lot of time there. You should make sure that everything in this space works as intended without negatively impacting your ability to get work done. Cute-but-cheap Amazon finds aren't always the best way to go—you should always read reviews before purchasing what could end up being more clutter.
The right home office design can actually alleviate stress and keep you calm throughout the workday, but you'll need to put in the effort to protect your space by consistently maintaining it. Limit the items you keep on your desk by keeping the things you use the most often within arm's reach. Browse attractive and functional storage options online to keep your office supplies and trinkets tidy and take advantage of vertical space whenever possible to maintain breathing room (especially if you can't devote an entire room as a workspace). Keep cords neat and organized with twist ties or rubber bands and consider purchasing a desk with drawers or a nightstand.
Studies have shown that houseplants have stress-reducing benefits, which makes them excellent additions to a room you plan on spending plenty of time in. If you're the type that needs to be pried from your desk chair to get things done around the house, opt for low maintenance houseplants like pothos, yucca (if you have plenty of sunlight), aloe vera, or a snake plant. If you aren't keen on taking care of houseplants, you could also open a window to enjoy the view of greenery and foliage whenever you need a quick brain break.
It's no question that natural light offers health and productivity benefits, like reducing eye strain, improved mood, fewer mistakes, and less drowsiness. A 2017 study by the National Sleep Foundation also revealed that individuals with high levels of exposure to sunlight also enjoy more restful sleep because natural light helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms.
You should prioritize keeping every detail of your workspace comfortable, including the temperature! Whether you have a fan, space heater, or central air, you'll need some way to adjust the temperature as needed to keep you focused.
Every few months, you should set aside time to purge your home office and perform a deep clean to eliminate clutter or garbage. While some homeowners have no problem sticking to a strict cleaning schedule, others may need to invest extra time to make up for the growing piles of junk. When you declutter your home, you'll help cut down on the stress that makes getting through remote work difficult.
If you're wondering how to set up an ergonomic workstation on a budget, it's actually quite simple. Shopping online and staying on the lookout for estate sales in your area can help you design a stylish, affordable, and comfortable workspace.
Whether it's an oil diffuser, candle, or incense, you can cultivate a workspace that suits each of your preferences—including scent! Yet another stress reliever, having aromatherapy products in your home office can improve your well-being while keeping you relaxed and calm throughout the day.
Burnout can become a major issue if you don't approach working from home with a defined strategy. Take regular breaks and some time for daily exercise to keep your body and mind healthy. Try to avoid working additional hours if it isn't necessary. As a rule of thumb, make sure you can place your hands flat on your desk and that your chair offers adequate support for your lower back.
If you need advice on how to create a home office, taking advantage of these tips will help you design the perfect space for working at home. However, your dream office won't stay so dreamy without the right organizational strategy. Along with investing in the right tools to keep you comfortable and productive at home, you'll have to commit to keeping your workspace clean and organized. Remember to get rid of the junk that accumulates over time and stick to a consistent organizational plan to help keep your home office functional.