You may have been working from home because of virus restrictions. If you’re going to continue that model or if you’re starting a new venture that calls for a home office, you need a great space. Creating the perfect home office can help generate a more professional feeling and may just help your productivity in the long run.
If you’ve been working from your dining room table or living room couch, it’s time to make the move to an actual office. Here are some things to consider as you make that move.
Soft light can add a nice ambience to your home office. Don’t go with harsh florescent lights to light your space. Choosing a room with at least one window is a great idea. Natural light has several health benefits and can offer sufficient light to work. Your computer monitors can cause eye fatigue, don’t choose lighting that makes it worse. Choosing appropriate lighting can help prevent headaches and eye strain from struggling to see your work.
Setting your work station next to bay windows or skylight is the best option if available. This will help you keep from having to rely on overhead lights or desk lamps throughout the day. It’s a small thing, but, even small changes can help on electricity bills. Just be sure you have adequate lighting for the work your doing.
Secure your work space
If you are in a business that includes handling sensitive information, you’ll want to be sure to keep that information secure. This means you cannot leave documents laying around for just anyone to see. Having a secure WiFi connection has to be a priority. You need to make it difficult for anyone to break into your network to steal confidential documents.
If you have people who may be coming and going from your location, you need to have your monitor secured with a password for when you step away. If you’re working on confidential information, you can keep it secure from prying eyes by using a privacy screen. This makes it difficult for anyone to see your screen unless they are directly in front of it. You may want to use privacy window tinting for the window your work station is closest to. It’s unlikely anyone outside can see what you’re working on, but why risk it?
A functional desk
One of the most important elements of your home office is your desk. It needs to be big enough for your laptop and monitors, as well as a space to work. It needs to have plenty of storage to meet the needs of your particular job. Do you need to store and access files? Be sure the desk you choose has drawers that will accommodate file folders. Every desk needs a smaller drawer to hold sticky note pads, pens, and paperclips. If you use binders, you’ll need a place to put them. Desks with a hutch can offer space for books and binders. A keyboard tray is important to give you ergonomic access. When typing, your elbows should be bent at a right angel so your hands are not raised when typing. Over time, incorrect typing posture will cause health issues.
Don’t skimp on style when choosing a desk. Remember, a desk is furniture and should reflect your design aesthetic. Making your office a reflection of who you are will make it easier for you want to be there. Read home office desk reviews before deciding on which desk to buy. Just because a desk is beautiful, it may not check all of the boxes, reviews will help you make the best decision. A chest high desk with a tall chair gives you the opportunity to stand throughout the day as well. Sitting for hours on end has proven to be detrimental to your health. Work from a standing position every few hours is good for you.
The right chair
The only thing more important than a functional desk is the chair that you will occupy while sitting at your desk. Consider your physical health when choosing an office chair. Do you have back problems? Do you need extra lumbar support? How about your knees? If you have any issues health wise, your chair can either exacerbate them or help minimize them. Chronic back pain affects approximately 16 million Americans with debilitating consequences to their work.
Remember, a leather chair, while beautiful, won’t breath like a cloth chair. If you’re prone to sweating, a leather chair may well be uncomfortable. Durable and breathable fabrics are the best choice. Chairs that include arms are better for you as well. Supporting your body as you stand up from a seated position is a good idea. If you choose a taller desk, get a ergonomic drafting chair to go with it. Be sure the chair has a foot rest so your legs have plenty of support while sitting.
Regulate exposure to noise
Everyone works differently. Some people prefer silence to be able to concentrate, while others prefer to listen to music. However, working at home can make it more difficult to ignore the sounds around you. Road traffic, young children, and neighbors can be distracting when you need to concentrate. You need to create an environment that can exclude disruptive sounds. If you need the silence to work effectively, you can invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. If your room seems to magnify sound, try adding a big rug and an additional chair or two to help absorb the sound.
Create a home office schedule
Working at home can be tricky. Your family may not realize that you are not available even though you are at home. Therefore, it can be helpful to share your work schedule with them. You can use it to highlight your working hours so friends and relatives can schedule their visits when you are free.
This is also important to set a reminder for when it’s time to stop working. It’s easy to continue to work past the time you need to stop. Even if your office is in your home, you need to exercise work/life balance. Working non-stop, while admirable, is not healthy.
A functional home office encompasses much more than a desk and a chair. You need to think of your home office in terms of nurturing productivity without disturbing family life and budget.