Creating a Home Office
As many of us find ourselves working from home, you may realize the temporary work space you had set up in the corner of the kitchen was fine in the first few days of quarantine but just isn’t cutting it now. Or maybe you’ve always worked from home and you’re ready to give your work space a few updates to improve your productivity and mood. Below are a few tips to creating a home office that suits your needs.
1. Designate Your Work Space
The most important aspect to a home office is choosing the space you will designate for work and only work. Ideally, your office would be its own room but having a room pull double duty can certainly work with proper boundaries. Keep work in your designated area and resist temptation to bring paperwork or your laptop to places you eat or lounge. This will ultimately help maintain a work/life balance so that when you finish with work, you can feel rewarded by relaxing in your living room or baking in your kitchen. It will also help you focus and stay on task when you enter your work area.
2. Have Ample Lighting
Make sure your home office is very well lit. The last thing you want is to strain your eyes for 8 hours of the day. You may need to play around with the lighting to avoid a glare on your computer screen and make sure your face is clearly visible for video calls. A small desk lamp can help with task lighting and reading.
3. Check Your Posture
Along the same lines as lighting, checking your posture and investing in a good office chair are key to your health and comfort. Some things to keep in mind regarding your posture:
4. Declutter and Organize
Physical clutter can instantly make your mind feel cluttered as well. Keep your work surfaces as tidy as possible to help you stay focused and reduce stress. Organize both horizontally and vertically; most homes don’t offer large office areas (or a specified office at all) so utilizing shelves can be a great way to keep important files and tools close at hand without infringing on your actual desk. For more information on decluttering and organizing, check out this blog post.
5. Check The Background
Since face-to-face meetings have largely been avoided in favor of social distancing, video calls have made a huge jump in popularity among companies. Something to keep in mind is what your coworkers or clients may see behind you when you have these video calls. Keep your background clean and throw in a bit of your own style with a piece of artwork or a shelf sparsely decorated with beloved trinkets. Perhaps you still have a few in-person meetings with clients or coworkers; it’s important that you keep any areas of the house a visitor may walk past on the way to your office cleaned up as well.
6. Add Color and Personality
Choose a color palette that encourages your work-flow. For some, this is a bright, poppy color. For others, a cool and calming color may do the trick. Then you want to pick accessories that make the area feel more homey and set the mood. Finally, give yourself a view or create an inspiration board to make the space inviting and engaging.
Now is a great time to curate the perfect work area whether you’ve been working from home for years or are new to working remote because of COVID-19. If you are still struggling to stay on task, think of places where you feel most productive and try to duplicate those elements. If you like the music at a local coffee shop you can play similar music at home. Perhaps the outdoors help to keep you focused, you can incorporate more plants and be sure to choose an area with a window. Something else to keep in mind is that you may be able to deduct your home office expenses from your taxes. Be sure to check the IRS website to determine if you would be eligible to do so and check out this article for more information.