Working from home is a dream most employees wish for, although many don’t consider where they’ll work from. If you’re like many people, you may have wanted to flop down on the couch in your sweatpants and decide it’s your new office.
However, can you really stay motivated and productive working in makeshift spaces in the kitchen, living room, or bedroom?
“It’s pretty easy when you think about it – you need the best home office setup for productivity. Having a separately designated, functional office space is vital to your success if you are working from home. Updating your current home office will help you stay focused and create a healthy work-life balance, and add a more technological edge to it”
You can’t just work in any other room and expect to perform at your best. What you need is an organized workspace that you love to work in. However, here’s the thing. Most people struggle to adapt to a new working environment, especially if it’s filled with distractions and temptations to slack off.
Since you’ll be spending most of your time in your home office, it makes sense to set it up for maximum efficiency. The good news is that you can turn any space into a workspace. Below, we collated 8 home office upgrade ideas to help you boost your productivity while you take care of your wellbeing.
Best Home Office Setup for Productivity
You don’t need a massive office, with a giant desk overlooking the beach, a quiet pond, or a lush green garden to be productive. All you need are some simple design makeovers and hacks to make the space you have work in your favor.
1. Think About the Location
One good thing about working from home is that you can choose the look and feel of your workspace. However, just because you can work from any room doesn’t mean you should. There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing where to locate your home office.
For instance, your work may entail engaging in a lot of conference calls with clients or your boss. In that case, you want to have as much light as possible. You also need a room with good network reception.
In some cases, the only space you can spare is the closet. That works too. In fact, a report by Pinterest shows “cloffice ideas” is one of the top trending search terms in 2021.
Remember, you’ll be spending the bulk of your time in your home office. So, be thoughtful about where you’ll locate it.
2. Divide the Room to Encourage Focus
If you’ve set up your home office in the living room, try to partition your workspace away from personal and family space. There are plenty of room dividers you can use to minimize distracting background while working.
A folding divider, for instance, lets you easily pack up and store it at the end of your workday. If possible, find a more permanent solution like a freestanding bookshelf. It can divide a room and, at the same time, offer plenty of space for office supplies.
3. Think About Furniture
You don’t need to invest in expensive pieces of furniture to make your office functional. What matters is your comfort. When thinking about furnishing your home office, here’s what to consider:
Sit-Stand Convertible Desk
Evidence from several studies reveals that sedentary life has been linked to poor performance among remote workers. It’s, therefore, advisable to have more movement in your workday to improve your wellbeing.
One way to achieve this is by investing in an adjustable standing desk that can be raised or lowered to accommodate comfortable working conditions. You can find dozens of standing desk styles and designs in the market. When choosing a sit-stand desk for you, consider factors like height, easy DIY setup, weight limits, and so on.
While at it, think about investing in an anti-fatigue floor mat to reduce the discomfort of standing for long periods. A plush rug can also provide support while standing at a desk.
If you have limited space, consider a rolling desk that you can easily set up during the day and tuck away after work.
Sitting behind your desk doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck (or back). Without a good chair, you’ll find yourself slumping forward while typing and then having to deal with backaches after hours.
To ensure maximum comfort, find a chair that supports an upright posture. Office chairs are specifically designed to follow the natural curvature of your spine to provide lumbar support.
When shopping for an ergonomic chair, look out for features like seat height, backrest height, and seat pan depth. Moreover, pay close attention to arm support, backrest lumbar support, back tilt tension, and headrest.
Doing so ensures you get the right chair that suits your specific sitting needs.
4. Let Natural Light In
Studies show that natural light does wonders for your physical and mental health. Daylight makes your environment feel more welcoming and can improve focus. That’s the more reason you should set up your office near a window.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine says that those who worked near a window got 46 more minutes of sleep than those who didn’t. Quality sleep translates to better work performance and productivity.
What’s more, working in dimly lit rooms where your computer screen is the main light source might lead to eye strain, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.
If you can’t get adequate natural lighting into your office, you can try improving lighting with task lighting. This is a type of lighting that illuminates the particular task you’re working on. If your home office is temporary, you can opt for light fixtures that are cordless and rechargeable.
You could also consider installing color-changing bulbs. For instance, a German study suggests that warmer light enhances creativity and cooler light increases concentration.
5. Be One with Nature
Nature has a lot to do with improved productivity. Since conditions may not allow you to work outdoors, you should consider bringing outdoors inside.
Research shows that indoor plants not only make us happier, they also make us more productive. Houseplants remove toxins from the air, boost mood, and reduce stress. They also add texture and color to your work area.
If you’re worried about taking care of your plants, don’t be. Plenty of houseplants are low-maintenance and require minimal light. Some good choices include Aloe Vera, Peace Lilies, Philodendrons, Snake plant, and English Ivy.
6. Work-from-Home Office Essentials
Whether you’re telecommuting or working fully remote, you can’t function well without the proper equipment and electronics. This will vary from one person to another, depending on your type of work.
Apart from a computer and wireless router, some of the must-have items for your home office include:
- Peripheral devices like ergonomic mouse and keyboard.
- Noise-canceling headphones
- An external monitor
- Charging accessories
- A whiteboard to visualize your thoughts
Take care not to clutter your desktop with unnecessary items, since messy working surfaces can make you anxious. The best way to stay more organized is to find a reliable storage management system that makes coordination easy.
It could be as simple as reusing household items like glass jars, cookie tins, or tea containers. Other options include installing wall shelves, buying a desk with storage, or adding a rolling storage drawer.
7. Brighten Up Your Office
Spending more than six hours in a bland, boring office is no fun. If you want to stay motivated, you need a room that brightens your spirits. You can achieve that by adding a fresh coat of paint, wallpaper, colorful office supplies, or eye-catching art on your wall.
Adding visually interesting imagery or decorative objects in your workspace gives your eyes some break from the screen. Plus, it makes your work area fun and less depressing now that co-workers aren’t around to chat with.
8. Don’t Forget Remote Working Software
You can have the most advanced standing desk, the fastest laptop, or a beautiful collection of potted plants in your home office. However, without the right remote work tool, you won’t maximize your performance and productivity.
To be a successful remote worker, there are a couple of remote work tools that you can’t live without:
- To keep in touch with clients, managers, and co-workers, you’ll need a team chat app.
- For video conferencing and virtual meetings, there are apps like Microsoft Teams, UnRemot, and Zoom Video Conferencing.
- To stay on top of your schedule, choose the best free work time tracker to automate your productivity and time management.
- To browse anonymously and protect your privacy, a VPN is absolutely necessary.
- A password manager secures your passwords, so you don’t have to use the same password across multiple sites.
- Focus apps help you fight the temptation of visiting time-wasting sites while working. They can block specific sites and apps, or limit how much time you can spend on them.
- Project management software like Trello, Asana, and Jira ensure smooth workflows and collaboration.
As you can see, you have plenty of tools designed to take your productivity to another level. Find what works best for you and take advantage of the features it offers.
Make Working from Home Work for You
When it comes to ideas about home office upgrades for remote workers, the possibilities are endless. You can outfit the room with graphic wallpaper, go bold with wood accessories, or make a statement with color. Don’t limit yourself.
It doesn’t matter whether you have space or not; your home office is where you want it to be. Mix it up and experiment with what works for you. Your aim should be to create a workspace that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, as well as focused and motivated.