We're currently in the midst of the world's largest work from home experiment. Organizations transitioned to working from home overnight, and employees had to adjust to a new work from home routine.
Before this WFH experiment, the primary reasons employees said they worked from home were better focus and increased productivity. However, it can be challenging to create a productive work environment when you're not in a typical office setting. And if you're working from a multipurpose area like your kitchen, living room, or bedroom, it's easy to become distracted and unfocused.
The goal of your home office setup is to create an environment where you can be your most productive, and making a dedicated home office space (even if it's just a small nook of your apartment) can help you build some work-life balance and boost your productivity.
Here's how to make your home office setup to work for you, even if you're strapped for space.
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A home office setup allows remote workers to have a dedicated space where they can get their work done. The best home offices are well-lit, quiet areas that are separate from the main living areas. This helps employees who work from home achieve a work-life balance.
So, what should you include in your home office setup?
There are a variety of desks to choose from depending on your budget and use case. Do you need a lot of space? Consider getting a larger desk.
Do you like to stand and stretch throughout the day? Get a standing desk or a standing desk converter. Plus, a standing desk converter is portable, so you can bring it to any office space you work from and have a standing desk.
Get yourself a comfortable chair to spend your workday in. Whether it rolls or reclines, find a desk chair that fits your needs and fits under your desk.
A well-lit workspace can brighten the room, and have a positive impact on your mood. Opt for a desk lamp or floor lamp to shed some light on your workspace.
Many remote employees have laptops. This allows them to work from anywhere, at any time. If you're a freelancer or setting up your office for personal use, you could add a desktop computer to your home office setup.
Leaning over your laptop to see the screen can be a real pain in the neck (literally). Consider investing in a computer monitor and place it so the top of the screen is at your eye-level — this will save your posture.
Get the most out of your video meetings by investing in a high-quality video conferencing camera. The easy-to-use Meeting Owl is an all-in-one, 360° camera, microphone, and speaker that will make meetings from your home office even better.
Complete your desk setup with a keyboard and mouse. Go wireless to rid your desk of unnecessary chords and clutter.
While we live in the digital age, a notebook and pen can help us jot down notes, organize our thoughts, and prepare us for our workday. Make sure your supplies are fully stocked so you're ready to get to work.
High-speed internet is a must! When you're video conferencing with your colleagues, you'll need a stable internet connection to prevent any audio or video hiccups.
Desk drawers or file cabinets can be handy storage options. Whether you need lots of storage or a little, find a solution that keeps things organized and clutter-free.
Between your lighting and technology setup, you probably have a lot of wires and plugs to deal with. Use a surge protector to save your devices from voltage spikes.
Do you live in a small space, like an apartment or condo? Make the most of what you have by adding multi-purpose furniture and decorating minimally.
Is there a low-traffic, quiet area of your house or apartment that you could use for a home office? Think of any empty corners that you could fit a small desk. Or see if there's a spare closet you could convert into a workspace.
Sometimes, it just isn't possible to create an office space that's separate from the main living area. When this is the case, sometimes your spaces and furniture become multi-purpose.
Designate a section of your kitchen table to function as your desk during the workday. You can even place a thin desk behind a couch or in a wide hallway to maximize your workspace.
Put a fold-out desk in a spare corner or install a floating desk that won't take up floor space. Depending on the amount of room you have to work with, there are some space-saving desk styles you can choose from.
Add shelving units on the walls for additional storage. Floating shelves are stylish and functional, and they can be used to display books or houseplants. Maximizing your wall space gives you more floor space to work with, so you can arrange your furniture in a layout that fits the room.
Clutter can make a small space feel even smaller, and even a bit chaotic. Look for a sleek desk that has built-in storage. Or hang a pegboard or wall organizer to organize miscellaneous items.
Have a room with no windows? It can be difficult to keep the space bright without natural light. But, don't you fear! Here are some ways to decorate the space so you can be your most productive.
Add a light fixture or floor lamp to the room to brighten up your home office. It's best to shy away from harsh, fluorescent lighting. Instead, opt for a natural, sun-lit look with warm-hued light bulbs.
Bright white walls can actually make a room dark. Consider painting the walls of your office a soft, neutral color like gray, lilac, or a cool blue.
Not only will a plant add a bit of brightness to a dark room, but it can also help improve the air quality of your room. Here are a few plants that remove pollutants from the air:
Mirrors brighten the room by reflecting the light in your home office. Plus, it can make small rooms appear even bigger than they are, which opens up your workspace.
Mimic the look of a window by adding long curtains to a wall in your home office. While there isn't actually a window there, it imitates the look of a window and adds dimension to the space.
Keep your home office separate from your main living areas. Kathleen Booth, VP of Marketing at IMPACT, said, "I used to sit in the kitchen and work until all hours of the night because my office was in the middle of the space I was in the most at that time. Now, having a separate space is really vital for keeping that balance." Creating a designated workspace will help you gain a balance between your work and home life.
Similar to creating separate spaces for your working and non-working hours, split up your time in a similar way. Working long hours can lead to burnout and negatively impact sleep habits and health. Take it from David Heinemeier Hansson, Co-Founder & CTO of Basecamp:
"Lots of people think that, in order to get more things done, you need to put in more hours to be more productive. When people believe this, they take advantage of every hour that's available in their day for working, and put sleep on the back burner."
Instead of working late into the night, try the traditional 9:00 to 5:00, or start (and end) your day even earlier if you're a morning person. Set up a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
I don't know about you, but by the end of the week, my home office space tends to get a bit messy. The mail piles up and my desk drawers become unorganized. A cluttered space can be distracting and even increase your stress levels.
Make sure you're tidying up at the end of your workday so you can start fresh the next morning. If you can't seem to get rid of the pesky clutter, ask yourself if an item sparks joy, à la Marie Kondo, and get rid of the stuff you don't need!