Depending on your house floor plan and available space, your home office could be a separate room or small space in one of your rooms. Setting up your home office for maximum productivity is critical to getting your work done.
Here are some tips to help you set up a home office designed for productivity.
Choose the Right Location
The first step is to make sure it’s a corner in a quiet room or a separate room with a door, so you can shut out any distractions. Beyond this, you should get in the habit of having regular working hours.
When working from home, a big challenge is separating work from home life, and having set working hours helps you do this. Make sure your family knows when you’re working, so they’ll know not to disturb you during these hours unless it’s an emergency.
Apart from choosing a space for your home office, it’s also important to have the essentials that will allow you to have a productive day.
Here are some essentials you should consider having.
A Good Desk
First and foremost, you want to ensure you have a desk that’s big enough for the work you’ll be doing and to hold the equipment you’ll be using. Typically, this will mean adequate space for a computer monitor, keyboard and a mouse to the side of the keyboard. You may need room for a printer, scanner or all-in-one multipurpose printer, or you could get a smaller separate table alongside your desk for such items.
The necessary drawers or shelves in the desk to store needed items is another important accessory. This only needs to be for items you need ready access to since many things can be stored in separate file cabinets or furniture.
An Ergonomic Chair
This is a critical item for your home office productivity. Especially if you work full-time from home, whether telecommuting or running a home-based business, you’ll be spending a lot of time in this chair. Given this fact, your chair is not the place you want to skimp on your budget when setting up your home office.
If you are having aches and pains due to an uncomfortable chair, you’re not going to be as productive as you may want to be. On various shopping sites, you’ll find chair listings such as an “eight-hour office chair.” This type of products is perfect if you’re spending many hours on your chair working from home.
A Comfortable Computer Set-Up
Beyond the chair itself, you need to make sure everything is set up in an ergonomically comfortable manner. There are specific recommended guidelines for how to arrange your chair, desk, and monitor height for maximum long-term comfort.
How you arrange your work space essentials affects your body. For instance, the height of your monitor affects your line of sight. Furthermore, the positioning of your hand and wrist when using the mouse could eventually lead to some discomfort and pain.
Planning to work long hours at your home office? Consider getting a desktop computer. While a laptop is portable, you may suffer from strain when you use it for long hours at a time.
The physical separation between the monitor, computer and keyboard with a desktop computer can give you more positioning flexibility, giving you the comfort you need while working.
White Noise or Soothing Music
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good pair of speakers or headphones to plug into your office computer system. You may be one of these people who have trouble working if there is any noise. For some people, however, the right kind of music can actually help make them more productive. This will usually be instrumental music since lyrics can be distracting.
Besides music, you may want to try various background sounds. Sometimes there will be some random background noise you can’t do anything about, such as a neighbor running their lawnmower or who knows what.
In this case, a soothing background sound to drown out the distracting noise could make things more comfortable for you.
The sound of nature is always a pleasant background sound. Try searching for “relaxing river sounds” on YouTube, and you’ll find plenty of soothing background sounds. Match it with a good pair of noise-canceling headphones that will drown out all distractions.
Keep Your Space Clutter-Free
Clutter is distracting. Piles of paperwork on your desk or messy piles of clothes or other items around your work area are counterproductive.
You also don’t want to spend what is supposed to be your work time cleaning since this can turn into an unproductive distraction. Simply tidy up your desk and work area each night after you’re finished working. This way, you’re ready for a productive day the next day.
Keep Snacks and Beverages on Hand
Are you the type of person who just can’t get going without coffee? Maybe green tea is your thing. Whatever it is that keeps you productive, have a cup of it on your desk. If it’s a favorite protein bar or other snack, have some within easy reach in a drawer.
There is nothing wrong with snacking, as it fuels your brain and keeps you focused. However, be mindful of how often and how long you take breaks during the day. Another option is to snack while you work.
When possible, choose a workspace with adequate natural light. Otherwise, make sure that you have enough lighting in your space.
Light can have an uplifting effect or can have the opposite effect. Natural light is best, so if there’s a window or two in your home office, open the blinds or shades. As long as there’s no distracting outdoor noise and the weather is inviting, you might want to open your windows and get some fresh air flowing through the room.
Furthermore, lighting can affect your mood. So make sure your home office is bright enough to keep you happy, motivated, and productive. Avoid a room that is too dark, as it could make you sleepy and even depressed.
Supercharge Your Productivity
The above tips and tricks should help you be more productive in your home office. In addition, make sure to take breaks throughout your workday. You’re not going to be comfortable for long, even in the most ergonomic office setup, if you don’t periodically get up from it to stretch and walk around a bit.
You may find that some of the above tips work better for you, and some don’t seem to help much. As everyone is different, it’s best to figure out the combination of strategies that work best for you at keeping your nose to the grindstone and getting your work done.