For many people, working from home is the dream. Those who actually live it though, sometimes tell a different story. Flopping down with your laptop in the living room (still in pajamas, of course) may work for a select few, but for most it’s not the ideal set-up. As organizational experts will tell you, having a dedicated work space within the home is key to making the working-from-home experience viable.
Without an official office area and set routine, it’s easy to get distracted and lose track of the job at hand. While plenty of time and research goes into designing corporate workspaces, not much thought is given to offices in the home. Plus, those who create office spaces for themselves don’t always have access to all of the studies that have been done to determine what design aspects allow them to work best.
The great part about setting up a home office is that you have complete control over how it looks and functions. Home offices can be unique and fun because they are still part of your home and should be a place you enjoy. Here are some tips for setting up your own home office space to maximize your enjoyment and productivity.
Choose Your Space
Choosing your home office area is the first, and possibly most important, step. Having an actual room to put your work area in is certainly optimal, but not necessary. As long as you can set aside an area specifically for work, you will be fine. For some, this may be a corner of the living room and for others it may be a small alcove in the hallway. If you can find a spot near a window, even better, as being close to nature helps us destress and recharge, plus all that natural light is great for working in.
When choosing your work area, be sure to keep in mind the time of day you’ll likely be working and what distractions may be around during that time. If you require quiet, you’ll need to factor these possible disturbances into your decision as well.
Set the Scene
Once you’ve chosen a spot you’ll need to get your office furnished. You may already have a desk and a chair to use, or you may have to shop around. Just be sure to get pieces that are comfortable and provide you with the space you need. If office space is limited you may want to choose a multi-functional piece of furniture. You can find cabinets that feature shelves and a pull-out desk that can be closed up at the end of the work day. Alternately, a long table set along a wall may be used for work on one end and another activity at the other.
If you don’t currently have the furniture you need for your home office and don’t want to spend a lot, be sure to check out second hand items at local shops and advertised online. You can often find some incredible deals on unique pieces that will add style and function without breaking the bank. Just be sure that the pieces you buy will truly work for your needs.
The Perfect Backdrop
Especially in smaller work areas, using wall space is important. If you need room for work supplies, be sure to add shelves and wall pockets above your desk. The wall is also a great place to hang a calendar or better yet, paint on an erasable one using chalkboard paint. A wall chalkboard is the perfect way to keep track of your appointments and meetings while adding some stylistic flair. If your work involves various tools and gadgets, hanging a pegboard above your desk can free up space, too.
If you’re lucky enough to have a whole room to use as your office, be sure to paint it in a color that inspires you. Outside of painting, you can also hang artwork or personal photos that remind you of why you’re working so hard. These won’t necessarily distract you, but they’ll be a reminder that you have a life outside the office.
All in all, your home office should feel like you. One of the biggest advantages of working from home is being comfortable in your work space. While personalization is great, be sure that your home office is also organized in a way that will keep you motivated.