They say home is where the heart is, but for remote employees, it’s also where the office is. Whether you’re working from home temporarily or telecommute regularly, updating your home workspace for increased efficiency and personal happiness can go a long way. Try implementing the following home office design tips to make your workspace both productive and pretty.
Pick the Right Spot
Environment can make a big difference when it comes to productivity. When setting up your at-home workspace, try to choose an area with the least amount of distractions. If you live in an apartment or condo with noisy neighbors, set your desk at a wall far away from shared ones. For those living with roommates or family members, make sure your home office isn’t in a shared space.
You’ll also want to distinctly differentiate your work zone from places of rest and relaxation. If possible, set up your desk in a separate room from where you sleep. Make sure not to eat or participate in non-work related activities at your desk, so your mind will associate your home workspace with professional performance.
Make Friends with Mother Nature
Biophilia, or the belief that people benefit from natural-like surroundings, is a growing trend in interior design and with good reason. Studies have shown that biophilic design can reduce stress and improve employees’ overall sense of wellbeing. What’s even better, introducing natural elements into your workspace is incredibly easy:
Indoor plants are a great way to bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home office, and they boast plenty of benefits such as air filtration and noise absorption. Invest in a large potted plant to place in your workspace or set one or two smaller plants on your desk. There are plenty of plant species that are simple to care for if you’re a newbie, but fake plants with a realistic look can achieve the same natural aesthetic if you’re completely lacking in a green thumb.
Light the Way
Excessive fluorescent lighting that’s often present in typical office settings has been linked to eye strain and headaches, amongst other problems. Natural light, on the other hand, is said to boost your mood, improve quality of sleep, and enhance productivity. Get your fix of natural light by opening up all your shades during the day, removing any objects that may be blocking sunlight, and positioning your desk so that you face the window. If neither of these options are possible, you can employ smart artificial lighting such as full-spectrum light bulbs, which mimic the effect of daylight and “SAD lamps” that utilize light therapy.
Sitting at a desk or table for hours on end can do a number on your body, but your choice and placement in furniture and equipment can minimize these stressors. Purchasing a quality chair with back support or improvising with pillows placed strategically behind you can keep back pain at bay. Smaller items such as a mousepad with cushioning and keyboard wrist pads can also make a difference in comfort.
Ergonomic placement is another good way to improve stature and health while working. Position your computer or laptop monitor at eye-level so that you don’t have to bend or strain to view the screen properly. Desk or table height should allow you to sit straight at all times. If your table or desk isn’t at an optimal height for you, try adjusting for this by using a taller or shorter chair, depending on your needs.
It’s easy to let organization fall to the wayside when nobody else is around to judge how sloppy your desk is, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors by letting your workspace get messy. Lack of organization can lead to lost items, and; therefore,lost time that you spend searching for them. Keeping your home office clean and clear has psychological benefits, too. Research has found that messy areas distract your mind and make it more difficult to focus due to visual clutter, and can even have a negative impact on your memory.
Make use of organization items such as file folders, storage drawers, and office supply holders and designate a place for every item you use throughout the workday. Be sure to put each item back in its correct spot right away to avoid your desk from becoming jumbled.
Add Your Own Design Flair
Even a small touch of your personal decor style can bring some happiness to your workday. Surround your remote office with items that make you smile, such as photos of loved ones or prints of inspirational quotes. Pick out a keyboard and mouse in your favorite color and purchase aesthetically pleasing office supplies and organizers for a customized workspace that speaks to your taste. With no coworkers around, the sky's the limit when it comes to decorating your home office! Whether you prefer minimalist designs or are a fan of more offbeat decor, every part of your home workspace is up to you.
For example, I love color and quirkiness, so I chose a baby pink keyboard and a corgi butt mousepad!
Remote work can either be a chore or a delight, depending on your attitude and actions. If you look at the positives of working from home, such as flexibility in design and setup, and implement these advantages, you’ll likely see an improvement in both performance and your mood. Any workspace, be it your home or a traditional office, is what you make of it, so taking the time to make it the best fit for your needs is an effort that's more than worthwhile.