How to Update (or Set Up!) Your Home Office
With shelter-in-place recommendations throughout the greater Sacramento area, many working professionals have been given the green light to work from home. But telecommuting is not without its challenges, especially if your spouse and kids are now home as well. Whether you already have a home office or you’re starting from scratch, it’s possible to put together a workspace that’s both functional and stylish. Following are some tips.
Consider the Location
Photo courtesy The Crazy Craft Lady
Location is everything when it comes to a home office. If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated office (with a locking door!), you’re one step ahead. If your workspace is a desk in the middle of the communal living space, you may want to reconsider. Finding a quiet spot to focus on work may be hard, but it isn’t impossible. You can still find a retreat in a spare bedroom or an unused corner. You can also clear out a closet and convert it to an office! Even if you aren’t able to physically distance your workspace from the other goings-on in your household, setting off your workstation with a screen, curtain or bookshelf can create the illusion of privacy.
Reassess your Needs
Perhaps you’ve been working from home for years, or perhaps you’re just getting started. In any case, now is a good time to reconsider your office needs. Are you doing more printing from home? Make sure your space has room for a printer and scanner. Do you need to reference books or papers? Consider cubbies or bookshelves to keep what you need within easy reach. Is the whole family on devices, thus using up bandwidth? Consider upgrading your internet speed.
To some, working from home means plopping their laptop on the end of the dining room table. While this may be tempting, it’s not ergonomically sound. According to the Mayo Clinic, your home work station should have an adjustable chair that keep knees level with hips and hands at or below elbow level. The monitor should be an arm’s length away, with the of the screen at eye level. The keyboard and mouse should be within easy reach and the wrist kept straight during use.
Update Your Desk
Photo courtesy The Merrythought
You’re probably spending a lot more time at home now, so it may be a good time to consider an update to your office desk. Some things to consider are how much space you have, how much surface area you need and whether you need integrated storage such as filing systems. Some desks come equipped with holes for wires to keep things tidy, while others have built-in USB charging ports. Another option is to invest in an adjustable standing desk, or a standing desk converter. If you’re the crafty type, you can even make a desk like this sleek concrete desk by The Merrythought.
Photo courtesy Polished Habitat
An organized work area minimizes distractions and improves productivity. If old papers, books and files are taking over your office, now is the time to get them organized. First, go through everything and purge what you don’t need. Then, stack the rest into piles: keep, store and give away. Digitize the documents you can, and file the rest using a color-coded system. If you don’t have a place for things, consider purchasing shelving, file cabinets, cubbies or mail sorters. For those without a lot of space, corner shelves and floating shelves are great options. Check out these tips from Polished Habitat.
Brighten Your Space
One of the most overlooked aspects to a functional home office is lighting. Not only can a poorly lit workspace cause eye strain and fatigue, it can also reduce productivity. Try to choose a space that receives natural light during the day, such as near a window or door. In addition, consider both overhead lighting and task lamps to brighten your work area.
Photo courtesy Oh Happy Day
There’s no shame in needing a little boost to keep your spirits up. Inspirational signs and motivational posters are good reminders to keep moving forward. Incorporating plants into your work area can also help productivity, as they are said improve your mood, reduce stress and spark creativity.
Make it Yours
Photo courtesy Studio DIY
The shelter-in-place orders may be temporary, but that doesn’t mean your home office has to be. Adding a few personal touches to your telecommuting space can inspire you to get through this tough time. Add a splash of color, some favorite photos, or unique decorations to make it your own.
*Featured photo courtesy Somewhat Simple