As more and more companies continue to have their teams work remotely to combat the spread of COVID-19, these employees are adjusting their living spaces to a more permanent work space, beyond sitting at the dining room table or in the corner of the living room. If you’re one of these workers who has discovered the joy of working from home, with fewer distractions, less commute stress, less overall noise, a more personal space, and — most importantly — more comfortable clothes. PJs all day!
PJs, aside, there are a lot of other advantages to working from home, not the least of which is a 30-second commute. Many still think working from home means you can work on the couch, in the backyard, or even from your bed. But, as work from home continues and, for many, with no end in sight, you may find that you’re most productive at home when you work at a “proper” workstation. You know, the kind with a desk and a chair.
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is maintaining focus and energy. It’s easy to slack off when there is no one to supervise you. The following are some tips and ideas to help you turn a space into a productive environment for remote work, with a few hacks you can use to make dealing with distractions easier.
Your home office space is more than the equipment in it; it’s a combination of the decor, lighting and overall aesthetic. The first step in building a comfortable office is getting comfortable equipment. You’ll spend long hours at your desk and your computer; pulling the right elements together can make the difference in improving productivity and comfort.
1. Choose a workspace according to your needs – i.e., location, location, location!
When choosing a place for your home office, think about how you’re going to use it. Will you make conference calls? Will clients come over to your place? Do you need to keep kids or pets away from your workspace? Do you need a place for storage? For some, choosing a spot for their home office is easy. There’s an empty room that they use as dedicated office space. It can be an actual “office,” but many people use an empty bedroom or even the basement. However, not everyone has that kind of free space in their home. If your space is tight, think creatively about your “office space.” Check out unused corners in larger rooms, large (but empty) closets, or even under the stairs! There are plenty of spaces that can convert to an office with a little bit of creativity.
Productivity flourishes in environments where creative thoughts bloom, distractions are minimized, and healthy atmospheres invigorate us. Many modern workplaces are cleverly designed for employee productivity, but our home offices lack these innovations. Luckily, those of us who work from home can learn a lot from the revolutionary designs of green, organized, and innovative workspaces.
2. Incorporate your own style, adding personality and warmth with color and decor
Making design decisions about your workspace improves productivity, as well as health and happiness. Think about your personal style. Do you like urban decor, art deco, modern country, or shabby chic? What types of personal items inspire you in your workspace? Do personal keepsakes make you motivated and happy? These individual touches will make you more comfortable in your space, which boosts productivity.
One of the best parts about a home office is that you can totally dictate its decor per your tastes. Good decor won’t just make your office space feel more inviting, it’ll also improve productivity.
Add personal touches and color to make the space more inviting. Select a decorating style and add patterns, window treatments, and furniture to express that style. You can even use this space to escape to some style you'd not want for your whole home, but love anyway. If you have any wall space at all, be sure to include either artwork or photos that you love. When choosing colors, follow color psychology and pick an energy inducing color, such as shades of yellow, orange and red. Avoid dark, dull colors — they can make you feel less energetic.
3. Utilize the color green in your home office
Choosing the right paint colors for your home office can stimulate your creativity and productivity. According to Feng shui, green is associated with growth and decisiveness. Green brings forth feelings of calm. And, studies have shown that the color green might awaken creative performance.
A few green plants will not only add a dash of color to your office space but also increase happiness, reduce stress and contributes to productivity. Instead of choosing just any green plants, pick something that is easy to maintain and helps improve air quality.
4. Apply principles of Feng shui when positioning your furniture
If your workspace is making you feel sluggish rather than energized, consider rearranging it according to Feng shui practices. Feng shui is a practice that applies spatial arrangement and energy balance for optimum design and layout. Positive energy comes from the flow of good chi, and if the arrangement of your workspace blocks the flow of it, energy levels are negatively affected.
One of the most important ways to create positive chi is to place your desk in a “commanding position.” This position requires that your back does not face the door and that your desk isn’t near the door. The best position is diagonal to the room’s entrance with you facing the door. It’s also preferable to have strong backing placed behind you, such as a solid wall, rather than an opening or window.
When you’re setting up your home office, don’t just think side-to-side. Think vertically, too, to maximize your storage options. A hutch, tall bookcases, or even floating shelves can give you more storage without taking up precious floor space.
5. Get natural light
Lighting is often overlooked when setting up a home office. Set up your home office where you get as much natural light as possible. It can help you feel good and may even boost your productivity. If nothing else, using natural light to light up your office is better for the environment.
Getting plenty of natural light is another important factor in building a comfortable and productive office. Studies have shown that workplaces with natural light experience significant improvements in productivity. Plus, natural light just feels better! So, make sure to position your desk and chair in a well-lit room. By reducing eye strain, you'll also be able to work longer and more safely.
When working from a home office, you have the luxury of choosing where your office is located to optimize light levels and natural light. Locating your office where you receive natural light is a great strategy to boost your productivity. Improper lighting can cause eye fatigue and drowsiness, which hinders productivity.
Natural light is good, but what if you like working after dark or live in an area with limited natural light? This is where ambient lighting comes in. Try placing LED lights around your workspace. Try affixing them so that they follow the edges of your desk, bathing it in soft light. Additionally, place a high-quality desk/floor lamp near your workspace. Consider something with a dash of design flair that is a reflection of your style to add some warmth and personality to the space.
6. Invest in a solid desk and comfortable chair – prioritize comfort
Investing in a home office setup is, in many ways, an investment in yourself. You want to create a professional environment where you will be productive and also comfortable.
It can be tempting to just grab a chair from the dining area when you’re working from home. A comfortable chair is the heart of a productive home office. You’ll spend nearly half your day on it. Investing in a good one will make a notable difference to your work life. Also consider the material options and invest in quality construction. Just like the rest of your home office decor, investing in a high-quality office chair is an investment in yourself.
Probably the most important piece of furniture you'll have will be your desk or work surface. Working at home means spending a lot of time at your desk. So, you want to invest in a desk that fits workflow and your space. And, like your seating, you want a desk that contributes to your productivity by helping you stay comfortable all day.
A home office can be anything you visualize and anywhere you want. In a cozy corner, spread out across the basement or in a spare room in your main living space. The options are only limited by your space and your imagination.
By planning your home office space, getting it organized, and decorating it to express who you are, you'll enjoy it more. Your work will be better, you'll appreciate being at home, and you'll have the perfect place to commute to work: your home.
To help you plan and set up a home office space that works for you, we are finalizing our FREE Home Office Guide that will offer actionable insider tips to guide you along every step as you design, plan, and organize your remote working space for maximum productivity. Be on the lookout for this must-have resource.
And then, as a bonus, tune into Instagram Live for a 3-part miniseries at 11am CST, starting TOMORROW, Friday, March 12th. Feng Shui + Home Office - How To Optimize Your Home Office For Success and Wealth is live on March 12th, March 19th and March 26th @11 am CST.
Join these highly-informative and can’t-miss sessions on Instagram - @amandagibbypeters