If there’s one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s that most of our homes are not effective places to get work done. While there’s no rule stating that you can’t do your work from the comfort of your couch or bed, it can cause not only productivity problems but serious health problems as well.
Clearly, we need a better approach to working from home. In most cases, this means designing a home office. Not sure how to design a home office that will work for your needs? Our guide will give you some tips and show you what you need to consider.
Noise Control Is Crucial To Focus And Productivity
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If there’s one thing any parents working from home have learned to their detriment, it’s that young children and pets can prove antithetical to focus. Part of the reason for this is due to the sheer amount of noise they can make. It’s rather hard to focus on what you’re doing in your home office if you can hear everyone talking and banging pots.
If you can set up your office in an unused or underused room of the home, away from the main hustle and bustle, that’s the best strategy. However, if you can’t, a solid pair of noise-canceling headphones or some soundproofing foam can help reduce the noise. Blocking out the outside noise can go a long way towards improving your work from home productivity.
Make Your Workspace Somewhere You Want To Be
If you’re wondering how to design a home office that works for the long term, the experts have one tip that will help your productivity. Make your workspace somewhere that you want to be. Fill it with colors, patterns, and quotes that make you happy.
The reason why so many of us feel depressed when we’re in the office is due to the muted color schemes and impersonal environments used there. The last thing you need is to invite that energy into your home. In your effort to boost your work from home productivity, don’t make your home office like a cubicle farm.
By making your home office somewhere that you want to be, you ease the transition into and out of work. This will make you more likely to get work done and less likely to take it with you.
Invest In An Ergonomic Office Chair
When working from home, it can be tempting to use your sofa or bed. However, you’re much better served by investing in an ergonomic office chair. These chairs are designed to keep your spine in proper alignment and help you to sit up straight while you work for hours on end.
It can cost a bit more up-front, but your back and legs will thank you for the support and the break after a few weeks. Plus, you don’t have to sacrifice style for function.
Upgrade Your Office Tech
Another key part of home office design is the technology that you use when you work from home. If you don’t have one provided for you by your job, you need a dedicated work laptop.
Why buy a separate computer for work if you already have a home or family PC? Some of the reasons include:
- Privacy concerns: You don’t need your family digging into your files for work
- If your family PC dies, you could lose your ability to work at all
- The family PC has easy access to everything you use for your free time on your computer
So, if you’re ready to purchase a work laptop, consider researching manufacturers like HP or Lenovo to find one that will work for your specific job’s needs.
Look For Natural Lighting
Another key element of home office design is lighting. If your office is too dark, working on your computer all day can cause serious eye strain. If it’s too bright, you could experience glare on your computer screen.
It’s no exaggeration to say that sunlight, in moderation, is beneficial for our bodies and our psyches. So, if you can set your office up near a window or glass door to allow the sun in, so much the better. Failing that, try to use lightbulbs in natural, daylight hues to avoid overexposure to blue light.
Give Yourself Room To Stand
Sitting for hours and hours can cause serious health complications for your spine, circulation, and metabolism. So, if you can invest in a standing desk conversion, make sure to do so.
Giving yourself the chance to stand up can help you stretch your legs and recenter in the middle of a long workday. Plus, if ever you get tired of standing, you can reset your desk back to its seated configuration and sit down.
Ensure Ample Storage Space
There are a ridiculous amount of office essentials that most desk jobs want you to keep handy. Notepads, sticky notes, pens, paper clips, stickers, staples, folders, and many other supplies take up a ridiculous amount of space when allowed to sprawl across your desk. So, any home office you have should have ample and accessible storage space.
You need enough accessible storage to have everything you could possibly need for a workday within an arm’s reach. If you have to bend, stoop, or stand for it while you’re working, it’s too far away.
Balance Comfort And Productivity
When deciding how to design a home office, another key thing to keep in mind is the balance between comfort and productivity. You’re not likely to get much work done in a space that’s too hot or too cold. Nor will you feel willing to work if you’re settling in for a nap on your couch.
You don’t need to be uncomfortable to ensure productivity while working from home. However, if you make yourself too comfortable, the allure of the TV, a nice nap, or a Netflix binge might prove impossible to resist. So, do your best to strike that balance and give yourself the best chance to succeed.
Wrangle Your Cords And Tame The Tangle
Another key portion of designing your home office comes in the form of organization. Specifically, organizing your cords. It can prove difficult to get work done when you’re maneuvering around the tangled mess of your mouse, keyboard, and headset wires. So, wherever you can, cut the cords and invest in wireless alternatives.
If that’s out of your reach, think about getting some cord control solutions to prevent your desk from becoming a tangled mess of wires. This can involve something as simple as zip-ties holding the relevant cords together or something as complex as dedicated shelving with holes for cords.
Give Yourself Access To Nature
Studies have shown that seeing or interacting with greenery can work wonders for your mood. So, if you’re trying to decide on a location for your home office, try to pick somewhere that will give you either visual or direct access to nature. Looking at the yard or a garden through a window can give you a mood boost throughout the day.
If that’s not a possibility, you can always purchase succulents or other plants to bring a taste of the outside into your office space. Doesn’t matter if the plants are real or fake: Merely the sight of them will help your mood, either way.
Let Your Home Office Design Flow With Your Home
One last thing to keep in mind when determining how to design a home office is flow. A well-designed home has a sense of cohesion and flows from one room to the next. This should extend to your home office as well. While you should design your office to max out productivity, that doesn’t mean that you need to make it feel like an extension of your old cubicle.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Try to carry over colors and textures from other parts of the home into your office. That will make working from home feel significantly less soul-crushing than working from the office can be.
Let’s Review How To Design A Home Office
Still not sure how to design a home office? Let’s review the major considerations you should keep in mind. First, make sure that the office’s form and function marry, allowing you to feel at home while not sacrificing productivity. Second, organize your workspace to make it easier for you to work from home. Last, upgrade your technology so that it’s separate from the computers and tablets you use in your off-hours.
If you follow these steps, you’re sure to make a home office that works for your needs. However, if this guide alone didn’t offer enough assistance, feel free to check out the Business and Home Improvement sections of our blog for more helpful and informative articles like this one.