6 Ways to Make Your Home Office Work
Designating a space in your home where you can be productive and focus on the task at hand has never been more important. Yet the idea of a “home office” is a little misleading. Many people think of a home office as a simple extension from their office at work. It’s often designed and created as a way to continue doing your tasks once you’ve returned home for the day. Because of this, a lot of home offices aren’t fully equipped for maximum productivity. They’re created as more of a den where family members go to carry out a number of different tasks. While this is a great way to give everyone an area to get things done, it’s not necessarily as productive as creating a designated home office. This is becoming increasingly more relevant with the rise of remote working and telecommuting. Even if you don’t have a full room that can be transformed into a home office, there are still things you can do to feel more productive and even more at ease. Here are 6 ways to make your home office work, regardless of the amount of extra space you have.
1. Choose a Space and Commit to it
The first step in creating a successful home office is finding a space that’s going to be yours. If you have an extra room, consider redesigning it. Having the luxury of privacy that an entire room brings can help you work more effectively regardless of what’s going on in your house. If you don’t have an extra room to transform, consider a few options for location. You don’t want to situate yourself in the middle of the chaos. Instead, you’ll want to find an area that has low traffic flow and a reduced capacity for distractions.
Once you’ve found the space that you’re going to use, commit to it. Make it a routine to work there every day and avoid trailing off to other places in your home. If you’ve created a corner space in the dining room, don’t wander off with your laptop into the kitchen or family room. When you consistently show up in one place, it allows your brain to switch into work mode, which can help keep your work-life balance in check.
To help you get the most out of your new office space, take the time to think about your furniture and layout. Even if all you have is a desk and a chair, knowing how to position them can bring a number of benefits. Find your power position—the orientation of your desk and chair that’s going to give you the biggest benefits. Some people prefer facing a window or wall to avoid distractions while others prefer facing into the room. Facing into the room tends to signify a position of authority and allows for maximum privacy when working at home. Find what feels best for you. Try one layout and make changes as needed. It’s amazing how impactful these small details can be.
If you need more accessories than just a desk and chair, make sure that you create a space for everything. Filing cabinets, adequate drawer space, or office electronics shouldn’t overcrowd your desk and make you feel cluttered.
2. Declutter and Organize
With that being said, take the time to properly declutter and organize during set up and as you continue to work from your home office. As obvious as it may seem, many of us quickly become disorganized in a new setting. Commit to keeping your desk and your home office as clutter-free as possible. Throw things out as you need to and make sure that everything has a place. This allows you to stay decluttered and organized throughout the workday, without leaving a big mess to clean up later.
3. Acquire the Necessary Equipment
In addition to getting a desk and a chair, make sure that you have everything you need to work from home efficiently. You don’t need to have all of the large-scale office equipment that corporate does, but it might be helpful to get a few of the basics. If you’re going to be printing and copying things every day, try to find affordable options at your local office supply store. If you only anticipate printing or copying things every now and then, avoid cluttering your office and instead, utilize the local printing or copying store. Unless things are time sensitive, you could keep track of everything you need to print or copy and make one trip per week.
While cell phones have replaced many landlines, some working professionals still use a separate phone line. If you anticipate needing one for your home office, especially if you don’t want to run into conflicts between personal use, install a phone and a second landline with voicemail capabilities. Always make sure that you have high-speed Wi-Fi to get your work done and consider items that could boost productivity.
4. Prioritize Ergonomics
When setting up your computer and shopping for your office chair, make sure that you’re prioritizing ergonomics. Sitting down all day isn’t exactly healthy, so the least you can do is make sure that your spine and neck are properly aligned to reduce injury. Your body should be appropriately supported and positioned well. Ergonomically designed office furniture has the potential to increase your overall productivity and avoid injury, so it’s worth splurging a little.
5. Don’t Ignore Background Aesthetics
Working from home has created a stronger reliance on video calls than face-to-face interactions. If you’re going to make any video calls at all, make sure that you consider what’s in your background. The room should be clean and uncluttered, without anything embarrassing in view. If you want to take it a step further, consider decorating or situating yourself so that a bookshelf is behind you. This helps to reduce distractions on video calls and increases professionalism while at home.
6. Create an Ambiance
Choosing the right location for your home office is only one piece of the puzzle. Creating an ambiance that helps set the mood is a good way to make you feel like you’re stepping into a work zone. Some of the best ways to create an ambiance to make your home office work is to optimize lighting, utilize aromatherapy, decorate with inspiration, and bring in some plants.
Lighting plays a huge role in our moods. Low-lit environments contribute to depression and can severely reduce your motivation levels. Natural light has the opposite effect. It helps to boost productivity, improves your outlook on things, and motivates you to accomplish more. It can also reduce eye strain from harsh indoor light and help to lower headaches. If you don’t have the option of natural light, utilize desk and floor lamps throughout the room as an alternative to overhead lighting.
Aromatherapy can help set the mood for your office and avoid common household odors from distracting you throughout the day. Choose something like peppermint to help boost productivity, focus, and mental alertness.
Everyone has goals for their business. Consider what you want and use inspiring pictures, items, or playlists to help remind you what you’re working towards. Some people find that creating an inspiration board is a great way to stay focused and remind themselves why they’re working so hard. Other people use pictures of their family and friends. Decorate with things that keep you positive and remind you of your why.
Adding plants to your office will freshen the air and have been shown to boost productivity. You don’t have to create an indoor oasis, but one or two resilient plants can make a huge difference.
If you’re looking for a new home and know that you’re going to be telecommuting, work with a reputable real estate agent to find something that will help make your home office work. At First Star Realty, we’re committed to helping you find your dream home. Our agents understand the importance of buying or selling a home, which is why we always work with honesty and integrity. First Star Realty works to find listings that match your interests, whether it’s room for a home office or a spacious backyard. We’re committed to providing five-star realtor services to Northwest Arkansas and always put your needs first, which is why we only measure achievements through client satisfaction. If you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact us today at 479-267-1600 or fill out a contact form on our website.