More people than ever are working from home – if not full-time, then at least occasionally. This shift in working habits has many benefits, such as flexible working hours, no commute, and possibly a healthier work/life balance. However, it’s not all peachy, and home-based workers face numerous challenges.
Here’s how you can create a comfortable home office space that will keep you concentrating on work rather than watching TV.
Listen to Your Body
Creating a home office is easy, right? Just find a quiet corner, set up a table or desk, and grab a chair from the dining room. Not quite. Because you’ll probably be spending several hours a day at your desk, it’s important that your working space doesn’t cause any damage to your body.
At best, aches and pains are a distraction from your work; at worst, they’re a real hazard to your physical and mental well-being. First, choose a comfortable, ergonomic chair. If there’s one thing you invest in, it should be your chair. Look for models that offer back support and have adjustable height, rotation, armrest height and angle, for example.
An adjustable desk can also conveniently allow you to continue working as you stand or sit; you can even rotate throughout the day. Furthermore, if you find that your wrists ache after a few hours of work, consider an ergonomic mouse and/or padded wrist support for your keyboard or mouse. A monitor that is easily adjustable can also help prevent eye fatigue; set it at eye level or slightly lower to prevent your eyes from drying out during the day.
Keep it Organized & Clutter-Free
Clutter can soon overwhelm your working space if you don’t stay on top of it. A cluttered workspace reduces productivity and can make it more difficult to concentrate – let alone find what you need when you need it. So, instead of scattering paperwork and tools across your desk, invest in some simple storage solutions.
Use desk organizers to keep smaller objects in check and files to manage paperwork. If your office is in a spare bedroom, use the closet or a dresser to keep bulkier items out of sight or buy a cabinet or shelves. Don’t let your wires get tangled up, either; keep these tidy and out of sight to give you more space to work.
Finally, find ways to keep your thoughts organized, as well. A whiteboard is a great place to map out what’s on your mind – and help you remember important appointments and tasks.
Make it Bright & Breezy
Getting the right balance of light in your office is essential; if it’s too dark or too bright, you’ll risk straining your eyes. Natural light is always preferred, but avoid the glare of direct sunlight on your monitor by setting up your desk alongside a window – rather than in front or behind it. Additionally, fit blinds and proper window treatments to ensure that you’re not bothered by glare at any point in the day.
Artificial light sources shouldn’t shine directly on your monitor, either. In fact, adjustable desk lamps are a great solution when used in conjunction with overhead lighting and allow you to focus the light where you need it.
It’s also important to manage the temperature of your home office; you don’t want it to be too hot or too cold and have to continuously adjust the thermostat. If your office needs to be a different temperature than the rest of the house, buy a fan or space heater to make it comfortable.
Create a Thinking Spot
You could have the best desk and office chair in the world, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery. If you regularly take phone calls, read documents or brainstorm with a cup of coffee, create a separate spot away from your desk to do so. A cozy armchair is a great option, and a coffee table helps keep things organized.
Distractions are a constant threat to productivity and, without the boss cracking the whip, self-discipline and healthy working habits are necessary. As such, having a dedicated office space within your home is extremely important; it should feel separate from other parts of the house and promote a working atmosphere. But, that’s not to say it can’t be a comfortable place that you want to spend time in.