Working from home? Here’s how to set up a home office that will energize you to work!
There are lots of advantages that come with working from home. One of these is being able to work anywhere you want – in the living room, in your garden, and even from your bed!
However, most of us who work from home find that it would probably be more productive if we have a proper and more permanent work station – thus the need for a home office.
So whether you’re a freelancer, or a business owner, or you’re working from home temporarily because of the pandemic, or you just need an official space to deal with all the bills and documents, you can benefit from having a home office!
Here are tips on how to set up a home office – a space where your ideas can thrive, and where you can work more productively.
1. Choose an appropriate location.
First, decide where your home office will be. If you have a spare room, that’s probably it!
Now you may not have the luxury of an extra room – especially when space is tight. Don’t worry! I’m sure you’ll find a place in your home. But, you’ve got to think outside of the box and be a little bit more creative.
Take a good look around your home. Do you have an unused corner in your living room or bedroom? Or maybe there’s a space under the stairs that you can turn into something like these?
It’s amazing how an awkward nook can transform into a home office! I guess no matter how small your extra space is, you can convert it into a permanent workstation. But as I’ve said, you’ve got to be creative when you set up your home office.
For more ideas and samples, check out our article on Home Office Ideas for Small Spaces.
2. Are you the only one who needs office space?
Another thing you should consider with your office setup at home is who will use the space. Are you the only one who needs an office, or does your partner work from home too?
If both of you are working from home, consider a desk set up that the two of you can share to save space.
Here’s a sample workstation that works for two. It doesn’t occupy much space really.
3. Will you have clients dropping by?
Does your work entail clients dropping by from time to time? When you meet with clients personally, you have to make a good impression.
If you have a separate room for a home office (preferably a place near the front door, so clients do not have to go through the whole house), all you have to do is add a few seats set up for company.
When your home office is in the living room, you can switch up the furniture arrangements so it’s presentable when you meet a client. Oh and keep it organized and clean!
You may also consider setting up a home office outdoors, in your backyard so that clients do not have to go inside the house. This way, they go from your gate, on to the yard and into your outdoor office. Of course, if you choose this route, do some landscaping in your yard to give off a welcoming vibe.
Setting up a one-room outdoor office is not as expensive as you think. After all, you just need one room and a power source. You can easily convert a garden tool shed, an old greenhouse or an old gazebo.
It is actually a good investment for someone who works from home.
4. Remember your power needs.
One of the things that will significantly affect where you set up your desk is the power source. There should be enough electrical outlets for your computer and gadgets. And the circuit should be able to handle the load.
What electronics will you be using in your home office? How much power does each require?
If you’re not good at this, then it is best to ask the help of an expert – your husband perhaps? Or consult an electrician and let him handle this for you.
5. Find the perfect spot for your monitor.
Your monitor must be in the right place to support your eyes and neck. The correct location is different for each person. So, how do you know what is the right spot in your office setup at home?
Your spine must be in a neutral position while you are typing. The top of the screen should be within your eye level or slightly below that. The monitor should also be at least 20 inches away from your eyes to avoid eye strain.
If you work with a laptop, get a laptop stand to position the screen right. You can also use an old box or book as a stand. It also helps to have a separate keyboard for better comfort.
6. Get the right lighting.
It is best to set up your desk in a spot where you can get a lot of natural light. If you can set up near a window, the better.
Working with natural light lessens the chances of getting eyestrain and headaches. Cold light, like daylight, is actually scientifically proven to improve alertness and productivity.
Setting up your desk by the window also provides you a view that can help entertain you when you need a quick break from working.
Now here’s another advantage of working from home – you no longer have to deal with fluorescent lights!
Overhead lights, especially ones directly above your computer, can cause glares on the screen. This can strain your eyes. So if your desk is still not getting enough light, or you’re working late at night, use a warm desk lamp instead of those that are too bright and harsh.
7. A comfortable chair matters.
Comfort is a must for your home office – notably, the chair you use. You will be seating in your desk for long hours, so you need proper back support not only for comfort but also to make sure that you do not develop posture problems.
Get an ergonomic office chair with adjustable seat depth, backrest, armrest, and height. It helps if it also has a 360-degree swivel base.
I know these chairs may not come cheap, but some affordable models are reasonably priced. It is a worthy investment when you set up your own home office, considering the many hours you work in a day.
8. Have a cord management system.
One thing that adds to your office’s clutter is the number of cords and wires that can be visibly seen on and underneath your desk. You should think of a cord management system that can hide these cables without limiting your access to them.
For instance, you can install a cord channel tunnel or raceway to keep them from being visible. Or it can be as simple as using a twist tie to have the wires grouped together.
One trick that will significantly help you deal with cord clutter is to use as many wireless tools as possible such as a wireless headset, wireless mouse, wireless keyboard and wireless printer.
9. Organize your office supplies.
When working remotely, some of us just need a laptop or a computer to get by. But of course, we do need a few pens and note pads by our side from time to time.
However, we often love to collect every office supply that we think we need. There’s no problem about that as long as, you are buying what you really use, and they’re organized.
It’s very important that your office supplies are organized. You do not want to work on a messy office!
You want to be able to find what you need quickly. And an organized space helps in having a clear mind – what we need most if we want to be productive. So, make sure you have a spot for every office supply that you need.
You have lots of storage options actually.
For example, you can install hanging shelves on the walls or use a bookcase.
When you have a drawer, use a drawer organizer so you do not just dump stuff in it. And if you plan to store heavy things in there, make sure you use the right drawer slides that will bear the weight. Always invest in quality hardware to avoid expensive repairs or replacements in the future.
Now when it comes to your desk, get a desktop organizer and just keep what you frequently need. Store the rest away. The less you have on your desk, the more you will be able to focus on your work.
Here are more desk organization ideas that will help you keep your desk free from unnecessary stuff.
10. Add an element of privacy.
If you are fortunate enough to have a spare room to convert into a home office, then your privacy needs are covered. But for someone who doesn’t, you gotta be a little creative again when you set up your home office.
It is essential to “shut off” your work station from the rest of the house for lesser distractions. You definitely do not want to end up like one of those funny scenes in video conference calls with their kids or pets running around the house in the background. Unless of course, that’s what your video is about!
But most of the time, it’s not.
Other members of the household must know that your office is off-limits. Just because you are working from home does not mean you can allow just anything. You are still working on the clock.
So yes, privacy matters.
Now there are different ways to get privacy.
If you have the budget, you can install some “walls” by using sliding doors.
Of course, there are cheaper alternatives, such as using a bookcase as a room divider (this gives you more storage space for your office).
Another inexpensive method is to install some rods and set up a curtain around you (although this will not be sufficient if you need a sound-proof work environment).
So what kind of privacy do you need? Work around that.
Time to set up your own home office!
Now that you know what’s needed, it’s time for your own home office set up!
Don’t forget to add your personal style to it. It’s your office after all.
When you love your place, it radiates to the work you do. And when you love your work, that’s where the magic happens!