If you’re one of the almost 4 million U.S. workers who work remotely, you probably understand how important your home office is to your productivity.
But simply having a home office won’t make you a productive worker by itself. You need to put some consideration into the design and layout of your space. Making sure that everything is in order will ensure that the workday does not go to waste.
Here are some of our best tips to help you design a functional and StressLess home office.
Location, Location, Location
Most homes do not have a specific place designed for a home office or study. If you don’t have a dedicated office, then you may have to choose a space that was meant to be a formal living room or a dining room, or spare bedroom. Whatever location you choose, make sure that it works well for your work needs as well as the needs of the rest of the family.
No matter what space you choose, ensure your family understands that during your work hours your office needs to be as low-traffic of a space as possible. It may take some negotiating if this is a common space, such as a den.
In some instances, a small outdoor shed or another outbuilding (if space permits) can be converted into a great workspace.
Depending on what you do for a living, you may need space in your office to meet with people. Even if it’s only on a rare occasion that you have a real meeting in your home office, it’s a good idea to plan for those moments. Having space set aside for meetings helps you and your space make a more professional impression than if you simply grab a folding chair.
Types of Desks
There are a lot of options available when it comes to desks. When choosing your desk, consider your work process, what you need easy access to, and how much storage you may need.
Another thing to consider: Ideally, your home office desk and furniture should match the details of your existing home furniture—especially when the home office blends into the rest of the larger home.
Care About What You Sit On
photo courtesy: Ekornes
Sometimes people think they can get by with any old office chair. But, they quickly realize how wrong they were when their backs begin to ache.
You’re going to park yourself in that chair for hours every day, so invest in a good, comfortable ergonomic home office chair Rather than going cheap on a home office chair, spend the necessary amount of money on an ergonomic office chair and your back will thank you. Check out this office chair buying guide for your reference.
Include Storage in Your Design
Nothing will distract you more than a messy workspace. Include ample space for shelving, cabinets, or decorative storage boxes to keep things organized and to keep your desktop from becoming a cluttered mess.
Think about Tech
One of the most important things you can invest in for your home office space is a surge protector and power strips. Typically, a home office has a lot more electrical needs than other rooms, and you’ll find that you may not have sufficient outlets. The surge protector is a good idea for any electronic devices whether they are part of your office or the regular living area.
Don’t forget about cord management—buy a cover for all of your cords. This is as much a safety issue as a decorative issue. You’ll keep your area looking neat and have fewer tripping hazards if you spend some time corralling your power cords.
Add Some Personal Touches
There’s no need to become a feng shui practitioner here, but at least make sure your space is inviting and enjoyable to be in (even if it’s only you in the room) by hanging pictures or posters or simply including some personal items.
Plants are also great for an office, adding color and dimension to a room, but more importantly, they can help improve mood and productivity. A University of Queensland study found that in offices that had plantlife, workers were 15% more productive. This could be due to a number of factors, but mostly it seems to come down to mood—plants improved mood and that can lead to improved work and productivity.
A home office should be a welcoming, comfortable space. It will remind you that working at home should not be a torturous experience, but rather an enjoyable one.
By designing your office area with your work in mind, and using some basic office planning principles you can create a StressLess, inspiring, and highly productive workspace that you’ll enjoy spending your time in. Utilize some basic design principles to make it productive and inspiring, you can make sure you actually work when you’re working from home.
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