One of the best things about working from home is that you get to design your own office.
And one of the most frustrating things about working from home is that you get to design your own office.
Given the choice, we would all probably ditch our plain beige cubicles for a more personalized workspace, but it takes a great deal of well thought-out planning and quite a bit of interior design flair, not to mention a sizeable wad of cash. However, you don’t need to be Bobby Berk (or have him on your speed dial) to be able to set up a home office that works for you.
You can’t exactly pick the perfect height for your chair and desk if you work in a regular office, but you can do just that when your workspace is at home. Discomfort can be quite distracting, so if you can only splurge in one area for your home office, spring for a proper chair and desk.
Since you’ll (presumably) be spending a lot of time sitting, your desk needs to be at just the right height. It should be high enough so that your eyes are level with your monitor screen and so that your elbows can be in their natural position (bent at a 90-degree angle) as you type away at your keyboard.
Having an ergonomic chair in place is equally important. The seat should have adequate padding for support and the height of its seat and backrest should be adjustable too.
Good lighting is also crucial. Overhead lamps or bright white light bulbs can make your home office more conducive to productivity. Setting up in a corner with lots of natural light helps keep your circadian rhythm on track too.
Got a tiny space? Look up for inspiration. Literally.
Your wall space can be utilized for a wide range of storage solutions. Vertical files are great for organizing your paperwork and putting them within immediate reach, for instance. Attaching a floor-to-ceiling blackboard to your wall also provides you with one heck of a writing space for important reminders and notes throughout the day.
Having to put so many cables in order comes with the conveniences afforded by technology. It’s quite a pain in the @$$, but it’s one of those chores that’ll save you from a great deal of stress down the line if you do it now.
First, identify your cables and label them accordingly. You can use recycled bread tags, ribbons, or cut-up sticky notes for this purpose. Next, route them so that they have a good, clear path from their starting point to their ending point. You can combine related cables, but make sure you’ll still be able to spot and remove the individual ones if you need to. Finally, overestimate your cable lengths. You can always loop your cables or shorten them later on, but you can’t exactly add to them without considerable difficulty and expense.
Alternatively, you can recycle a shoebox to organize the cables that feed into your power strip, such as the one shown here.
You can’t expect to get a lot of work done if your space is filled with access to games, television, and other kinds of recreational media, so take them out of your office space.
It would also be a good idea to situate your work desk in a way that’s not too close to your bed if you work in your room. The temptation to roll around amongst your pillows can be particularly strong on rainy days or when your deadlines are looming, so you’d want to guard against that if you can.
That said, your home office should also look like a place you’d actually want to spend time in.
One way to accomplish this is by putting up some colorful prints on the wall. Inspirational messages done up in beautiful calligraphy, photos of places you dream of going to, or even album covers of your favorite musicians are all good ideas for things to position within your line of vision.
Treating your wall to a fresh lick of vibrant paint is another cost-effective way to add a pop of color to your home office and thus make your surroundings look more alive.
Filing cabinets can serve as peripheral stands for your printer and scanner if they’re of the right height. Vertical bookcases or shelves can also be used to prop up lamps or other lighting paraphernalia.
Lastly, bear in mind that work spaces at home tend to be multi-functional, in the sense that other family members might also need to use them or have access to them. So, unless you live alone or your home office also happens to be in your room, it’s best to consider solutions that would work best for you and your family.
Curtains, sliding doors, or even shelves can screen off your home office from the rest of the house and can even serve as a gentle reminder that you are not to be disturbed once you enter that space. This is especially useful not just when you have a deadline coming up, but also when you need a bit of quiet time for yourself.