More people are working from home, and it’s becoming evident that it’s not always easy to set up a productive workspace. Part of the reason is because working from home looks a little different for all of us — some of us are trying to balance childcare needs with full-time day jobs, while others might be sharing a communal-living-space-turned-home-office with roommates or spouses. If you live alone and have plenty of space to yourself, it can be easy to feel isolated, and you might find it hard to maintain focus and energy during the day.
Whatever your work-from-home situation is, it’s important to find the right balance between comfort and productivity. Here are a few home office ideas to help you make the most of your workspace.
1. Location, location, location
Even if you don’t have an entire room to serve as your home office, having a designated space for work will help with your productivity and work-life balance. If possible, try to keep your workspace separate from the areas you go to relax or entertain. Don’t have a dedicated room for your office? A few places you might consider can include sunrooms, stair landings, basements, attics, or even your kitchen or dining room. Everyone’s home is different, so what works for someone else may not necessarily be the best option for you. Try to find a space with good natural lighting, which can help keep your mood and energy up during the day.
If you live with loved ones or a roommate, consider setting up parameters so others know not to interrupt you when you’re “at work.”
2. Comfort is key
There’s something to be said for bargain buys, but when you’re working from home five days a week, it’s worth making sure you have a quality setup. If you’re not comfortable, it’s going to be hard to maintain productivity — and it could even hurt your body over time. You don’t need to spend $1,000 on that luxury office chair, but it will pay off to invest even a few hundred dollars in a good desk, monitor, and chair that provide proper ergonomic support.
Take the time to research products by reading reviews and consider factors like the height and shape of your desk to ensure they match up to your body and workspace. A high-quality purchase should last you for years — and having those items helps create a more professional environment to boost your creativity and productivity.
3. Consider the effects of colors
According to cleverism.com(opens in a new tab), the color of your workspace can affect your mood. Take the color blue, for example, which exudes calming energy and is associated with critical thinking. Anxious workers often benefit from blue spaces as it calms their minds and keeps them centered. On the other hand, a color like yellow stimulates feelings of fun and joy, making it a favorite among creatives.
If painting an entire room is not an option, try bringing in pops of color via room décor and desk accessories to help keep your mood and productivity on-point.
4. Clear away the clutter
Organization is key to maintaining productivity in your home office. Consider taking a minimalist approach to your workspace setup and keep decorative or sentimental items (like plants or family photos) to a minimum.
Even if you like a little clutter, overcrowding your desk with objects can contribute to feelings of lethargy and frustration, so it’s good to tidy up where you can. Put away anything you don’t use regularly.
5. Do away with distractions
It’s no surprise that a constant stream of notifications can be a productivity killer. While not everyone can afford to shut down their personal devices completely during the day, do whatever you can to make your smartphone and other screens less of a distraction. Turn off or mute what you can, when you can. Even simply switching your phone to silent and putting it facedown can make a difference. And if you can manage, wait until the end of the day to check your emails and favorite news sites.
6. Make breaks a part of your routine
When you work in a traditional office space, there are usually multiple ways to break up your day, whether that means visiting coworkers down the hall, eating lunch at a picnic table outside, or making a trip to the coffee maker in the kitchen. Working from home might make it feel like it’s harder to get away from work, but according to a study published on forbes.com(opens in a new tab), taking breaks is an important way to de-stress, recharge, and maintain a sustainable productivity level.
So take that lunch break when you can, grab that afternoon cup of coffee, spend a few minutes with your pets or family members, or try relaxing in a different room for 10 minutes when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You might be surprised how much of a difference taking a few minutes for yourself can make!
While everyone’s work-from-home setup is going to look a little different, these home office ideas can help you work with what you have to set up a space and routine that will keep your mood and productivity protected when it’s time to work.
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