How to make your home office setup work better for you
Need a better home office? Pull up a chair…
With many of us having to work from home for a while, you might find that makeshift office setup in the form of your dining room table, sofa, or bed just isn’t cutting it. Where you work has a serious effect on your productivity and wellbeing, so it’s vital to create an area that makes you feel calm, comfortable, and able to carry out your work effectively.
To make sure your home workspace has everything you need, here are our top tips on how to make your home office setup work better for you:
Put practicality above aesthetics
OK, we get it. You want to make your home office look great.
And when it comes to appearance alone, those picturesque home office designs you see on Pinterest are practically a must-have. But whilst they might look good on your Instagram feed, they might not be the most practical of solutions.
So before you paint your walls bright red, start a search for a dining room chair made out of distressed wood, and buy an original vintage desk, ask yourself if these things will actually make you comfortable.
Is that desk going to fit anything more than a laptop and one single pen? Could you actually sit in that chair for eight hours a day?
Remember: this area needs to spark productivity, not a bad back. So think ergonomically; sit up straight, don’t arch your back, and make sure your screen is in clear view. Your body will thank you.
Focus on placement
When it comes to creating the perfect home office setup – placement is key.
If possible, choose an area that has lots of natural light. By placing your desk in front of or adjacent to a window, you’ll not only have something to look at when you’ve hit a brick wall, but you’ll also be able to give your eyes regular breaks from screen-time.
If you don’t have access to much natural light, introducing standing or table lamps into your workspace could also make it much easier to concentrate. Not to mention make your workspace feel instantly cosier.
In addition to good lighting, it’s equally important to choose somewhere quiet where you’re not likely to get interrupted.
Because chatty housemates, a loud washing machine, or a blaring TV aren’t the kinds of things that’ll make you look good on a conference call.
Stock up on supplies
So you’ve created what seems like the perfect workspace. The only problem is, you keep having to get up to find a pen.
To reduce the urge to wander off – whether it’s around the house, or online – make sure you have everything you need within close proximity of your desk.
Think pens. Think post-it notes. Think paper. Think headsets. Think snacks. Because nobody wants to be that one person who’s late for a call because they were busy searching for working headphones.
This might also mean looking into creative storage solutions.
Bookcases, drawers, wire organisers, and filing cabinets are a great place to store your essentials, and will stop you from tripping over when you enter the room (not to mention create a stylish backdrop for video conferences).
It’s week two of work from home, and you seem to have acquired a whole lot of clutter. Do you need it all? Probably not. Have you kept it there just in case it comes in handy? Yes.
Whilst there will always be some essentials you’ll have to keep nearby, it’s likely that your desk will only fuller as time goes on – which makes regular decluttering an important task.
Set some time aside at the end of each week to sort through your things, and figure out what you need to keep, what you need to put away, what you need to dispose of, and what you need to move.
Whether it’s old notes you no longer have a use for, printouts you used for past meetings, or one of your kid’s toys (for some reason), there’s probably a better place for it than your desk.
So unleash your inner Marie Condo. If it doesn’t spark joy, get it outta there.
Create a cosy space
Your desk is for work and work alone.
But what about those times where you have to be creative, read, or think of new ideas? If you try doing that at the same place you interact with your colleagues and carry out tasks, you might find yourself struggling to get into the right headspace.
So if you’re able to, it’s a good idea to create a separate area – even if it’s just in the form of an armchair or a beanbag a couple of metres away from your desk – to give yourself a change of scenery if you get a mental block.
Even if you can’t find space for this, it’s still important to get up and move around – whether it’s just walking around the room, to another area of the house, or to the garden.
This will ensure you’re always refreshing your thoughts and getting out of your own head – which you might find is commonplace while you’re working at home alone.
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