Whether you are spending a full workweek there or even just a few hours in a day, you’ll want your home office set up where you can be productive yet comfortable.
1. Think about location
A home office can come in many different sizes and shapes. It can be a quiet corner or a separate room. The key to selecting the right place is thinking about when and where you do your work. If you are a busy working mom you may want a central command post in the kitchen. If you are a work-from-home professional, then you may need to find a space that’s away from the daily flow and other distractions in your home.
2. Consider literal space
You can build a home office in a little amount of space but you still want to allow enough space to work comfortably. You want to be able to stand up and sit back down at the desk and move from side to side, and have enough space for the material you need to get you work done. It can be easy to underestimate the amount of space you need, so think about your workflow before setting up anything major like a desk or shelving.
3. Pick the right desk
Speaking of desks, choosing the right desk for productivity is important. You want to choose a desk that is large enough for your computer and what else you need to do your work. This can be a space to take notes or display reference materials. If you only ever use a laptop, you may be able to get away with having a small desk in the corner with enough room for a lamp. If there are a lot of materials that you use throughout the day, and you look to spend hours at a time, you may also want to consider investing in an adjustable height desk. These give you the freedom to sit and stand throughout the day. Also be sure to invest in a high-quality chair that is adjustable and comfortable. If you are going to be spending long hours every day in the office, your back and neck will thank you with the right chair.
4. Set up shelving and storage
This part can be overlooked when it comes to home office design, but it has potential to affect your efficiency. You want enough cupboards, filing cabinets, or shelving for storage needs to stay organized. In order to determine how much storage you need, consider your workflow. Consider keeping your current work within an arm’s reach and a filing system that works for you for any reference materials you need for your job. If you use manuals or catalogs frequently, then you want to have a shelf near the desk so you can keep them nearby.
5. Do you need a meeting place?
If you have customers or clients visiting during the day, then you will need to have room or a small meeting area. Have some additional seating in your home to allow for any sit-down meetings. This can just be one to two comfortable chairs that you can pull up next to the desk.
6. Find the light
The right lighting is important for an office space at home. If you can, choose a location with some natural light and a view. Then set your desk to face the window as long as it’s not in a location where your computer screen can be affected by the glare. Blinds or translucent window shades can help reduce any glare but not darken the whole room. You can also enhance the natural light of the space by keeping the walls a light color and adding a mirror. An overhead ceiling light can help you with good lighting as well. You can add a pair of open top floor lamps to light up the whole room, or use a desk light for shadow free task lighting. If you aren’t able to have a view, then place your desk next to a pleasing piece of art or an inspiration board. You want a place to give your eyes a rest when you look up from work. Some people think a sober atmosphere is more conducive to getting work done. In this case, use dark wood paneling or a dark paint color. You can turn an underused nook in the home into an office by adding some paneling and a chair and desk.
While your work may oftentimes bring you stress, you don’t want your workspace to do the same. Optimizing your office for comfortability and organization will help keep you on track and productive, whether you’re there for a full work-week or just a few hours here and there.