The first thing you need to do when you work from home is to establish a routine. Having a designated place of work sure helps in this regard. There must be some people out there who can achieve high productivity from their couch but, when it comes to the vast majority of telecommuters, this is usually not the case. What these people need is a proper work office.
Normally, in an average home office, you would have enough space for work and some basic hardware (computer, smartphone, additional smart equipment). Still, there’s more than just ergonomic furniture and technology to make a work office. This place also needs to be turned into a stimulating work environment.
Here are several tips on how you can make this so.
The first thing you need to focus on is making this room single purpose. A lot of people find it easier and more space-friendly to just make a dual-purpose room like a bedroom/office. This idea, nonetheless, has several downsides. First of all, if you want to claim home office tax deductions, you can only do it if the area in question is used exclusively for work. That way, the surface of the room (the percentage of the home’s total area, to be more exact), can be deducted from your utility bill. Second, it’s easier to formalize your work from home by thematically separating these areas.
If you can choose the location of the room, there are several things to keep in mind. First, you should always pick the room facing the street and not one facing the backyard. This will lower the amount of outside noise from reaching your home office. If you want to have a lot of natural light, it might be a good idea to pick a room with an east-facing window. Keep in mind that with blinds and drapes, you can control the influx of natural light quite effortlessly, which is why this shouldn’t be that big of a problem.
Wrap up: If you have the luxury, make this room single-purpose. This will save you a lot of trouble regarding negotiations with your family, organizing taxes, and adopting the right mindset.
Floor and walls
Choosing the right flooring option for your home office is also quite important for several reasons. First of all, you want something easy for maintenance. A lot of telecommuters have their breakfast and coffee behind their desk. While still drowsy from sleep, it’s quite easy to trip and spill or just spill the contents of your cup/plate. According to experts behind Stone & Tile Projects, ceramic tiles are probably your best choice for home office, for this very reason. To add some additional warmth and softness to the floor, you might want to consider adding a carpet.
As far as the walls go, there are two things you should focus on. First of all, you need to choose a suitable color. For starters, you can start with neutral, non-distracting colors like grey, green and blue. Some colors are known to enhance your creative ability and inspiration. Yellow is particularly well-known as stimulative color for creatives. Other than this, to make your home office more office-like, you might want to post some motivational posters around the place.
Wrap up: Floors and walls are massive surfaces in your home office, which means that they play a major part in the overall impression that the place makes.
The next thing you need to worry about is the light in your home office. Now, this part is partially controversial for several reasons. First of all, if you’re working via a device (laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone), you have the illumination of the screen to provide you with functional light. People who are no longer working with printed materials, typewriters, or writing by hand have no real need from task lights, right? Well, it’s not so simple. The glare off the screen may hurt your eyes, which is why you might want to install an app that adjusts the brightness of your screen to the time of the day. This will put less strain on them.
Second, there’s more to light than just functionality. What about inspiration and visuals? Natural light is known to boost one’s motivation, mood, etc. Keep in mind that this is a huge deal, as well as something you should never let slip your mind. Apart from this, having an ambient light somewhere in the room can make it more aesthetic. It will allow you to admire the visuals of your home and all the work that you’ve done with the decoration. Also, keep in mind that curtains, blinds, and fixtures do more than just control the light. They also add to the overall décor of the place.
Wrap up: You should never underestimate the power of proper lighting, even in the smallest of home offices. Here, focus on both visuals and functionality.
The main reason why productivity in the workplace is often superior to that in a home office is since there are fewer distractions. Just think about it, when surrounded by your colleagues, you’re surrounded by people who are working (or are, at least, supposed to be working) at the same time. Your family, roommates, and children are at home resting, which means that they’re more likely to interfere or pose as a distraction. Also, there are a lot of items here that you’ve bought for your comfort.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of limiting physical distractions. Now, the problem with these distractions is that they come in several different formats. The two most common are:
- Visual distractions
- Auditory distractions
To keep the place optimized for work, you need to keep it clean and decluttered. Second, you need to keep it as quiet as possible. The latter can be achieved through noise-canceling headphones, acoustic panels, or a sit-down with your family to discuss the noise in the house. Overall, you need to take charge.
Wrap up: Overall, make sure that you start this journey by identifying distractions and then go ahead to eliminate them one by one.
Keeping it clean and organized
We’ve already talked about visual distraction and there are a lot of indications about how a mess can lower one’s productivity. So, what you need to do is introduce some order to the general area. Now, let’s face it, the majority of files and materials you work with are digital. This means that there’s no reason for your desk to be cluttered with unnecessary items. Second, minimalism often creates an impression of order and organization. In other words, clutter can be caused unintentionally by cramming too many items into your design.
Of course, there’s also the matter of hygiene to discuss. Dust particles outright look bad and, in some cases, may even cause an allergenic reaction. Trying to focus on a task while doing your best not to sneeze is far from simple. Also, just because you’re working from home this doesn’t mean that getting sick due to working in these conditions is acceptable. Fortunately, a home office is a relatively small area of the house and one where you spend your every day. Taking just 15 minutes every day (before or after work) to tidy the place up can be enough.
Wrap up: Keeping the place tidy and organize may directly reflect on your ability to stay focus on the task at hand. A massive payoff for such a minuscule investment of your time and effort.
To arrange your home office, you also need to approach it from the position of other senses. Some of these aspects are:
- Tactile sense
Believe it or not, the comfiness of your chair (as well as its impact on your posture), the height of your deck, and even the pattern of the material that it’s made of can make a world of difference. Also, there’s some serious science behind the idea that the ideal office temperature is between 70- and 73-degrees Fahrenheit. Having your office smell nice is also quite important but this can depend on things like the ventilation, having indoor plants and more.
Overall, there’s one more thing worth discussing here and that’s the personalization and customization of your office space. To make the place stimulating, you need to make it your own. This will help you resolve the last sense on this list – a sense of belonging.
Wrap up: Give it your best to make the place comfortable for work. This way, your productivity will skyrocket in no time.
The last thing worth mentioning is the importance of setting a relaxing work office where you can shut out the rest of the world and focus on your work. With the right mindset and just a bit of effort, achieving this is easier than you would expect. With the above-listed six tips on your side, this really shouldn’t be that much of an issue.
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