When COVID-19 started to spread throughout the U.S., many businesses began to offer telecommuting opportunities. More people than ever learned what it was like to work from home and both businesses and employees uncovered the undeniable benefits that followed. As it turns out, working from home has a lot of advantages. It allows for flexibility, saves time and energy otherwise wasted on long commutes, and helps to reduce overhead costs. Yet, if your home office isn’t set up in a way that promotes efficiency, it can lead to a reduction in productivity, neck, back, and spine problems, and a chaotic blur between your work/life balance. For the best results, here’s how to create a great home office.
Separate Personal from Professional
One of the best ways to put together an effective home office is to make sure that you’re taking measures to keep your personal and professional lives separate. If your personal life begins to interfere with your work, or vice versa, it can increase anxiety and stress and make you feel like you’re never fully immersed in the moment. Keep this in mind when choosing the right space.
Choose the Right Space
Where you set up your home office matters. Take some time to consider which area in your home will be the easiest to transform, offer the least number of distractions, and will remain comfortable year-round. Transforming your attic into a home office is a great idea in theory, but if it’s not properly insulated it can create problems during cold winter months.
Choosing the right space will be easier for some than it is for others. If you have an extra room, a basement, or a loft area, setting up an office is more straightforward. If you don’t have the extra space, you can convert a closet, create a functional office area that serves two purposes, or strategically place a standing desk in a room that’s not used as often. For those who have been working from home, you know the importance of having your own space. If you don’t have a guest room, look into utilizing your dining room or any area that you can close off and create your own.
Make a Plan
Once you determine which area you’re going to transform, it’s time to make a plan. Take the time to identify everything that you know you’re going to need along with a few things you might want. Your individual needs will vary based on the work that you do but you know better than anyone what’s required to get the job done. Make a list, start with the basics, and continue to add things as you think of them. By beginning the planning process early, you’ll give yourself time to make adjustments before setting everything up. While it’s important to set a budget and stick to it, investing in a good set up has undeniable long-term benefits.
Find the Right Desk
The next step is determining which kind of desk, or writing surface, you’re going to use in your home office. Take some time to explore your options—this is one of the most important pieces of your workspace. You might need something basic or your work may require that you find something with ample surface space. Shop around and make sure that it’s going to be sufficient for your needs. Once you have a few options, make sure that the height is comfortable for you. To avoid back and neck problems your desk should be the right height. An adjustable option is always good and if it can be transitioned into a standing desk, that’s even better.
Find an Ergonomic Chair
After finding the right desk, you can start your hunt for the perfect chair. Finding the right office chair will not only help your productivity and comfort levels, but it will also provide the necessary support that’s required for working while seated at a desk. When using the keyboard, your elbows should be at a right angle and you should have proper lumbar support. These features allow for the correct alignment of your neck and your spine, which reduces the chance of long-term health problems and ongoing stiffness.
Ideally, your chair should be comfortable to sit in for long periods of time and adjustable ones are preferred. Look for options to change the seat height, arm height, and tilt. For added comfort, opt for something with breathable backing.
Be Strategic with Lighting
Lighting can make or break a room. Harsh fluorescent lights that hang directly overhead can cause eye strain and have a negative impact on your mood. Whenever possible, try to draw from natural light sources and keep your blinds open. To avoid frustrating glares on your screen, position your desk to face the window. Then, opt for a small desk lamp or light and a floor length lamp to put behind you. This allows for the most optimal lighting throughout the room and can be adjusted depending on the time of the day. When you don’t need to turn the lights on, don’t—natural light reduces eye strain and headaches. Warm light helps to promote relaxation, while cold light improves your productivity and alertness.
Declutter and Focus
Once you’ve gotten all of the basics out of the way, it’s time to get to work on creating your home office. The best way to start this is to clear the room you’ll be using. Remove any furniture that you won’t need and pack away all of the clutter that’s laying around. It’s been shown that clutter can cause a major decrease in productivity, so if you won’t be actively using it to do your job, put it in storage. Pack up the contents of the room into the appropriate boxes and head over to a self-storage facility, like The Lock Up Self Storage, to put your things in safekeeping. You’ll be able to access them when needed but avoid having things unnecessarily laying around in your home.
Add a Personal Touch
Once you’ve cleared everything out that’s not work related, think about some ways to add a personal touch. Certain colors can help induce certain feelings and may be beneficial in an office environment. Blue is considered an intellectual color and can help improve concentration. It can also enhance your wakefulness. Green creates a balance and can help to foster reassurance for those who feel overwhelmed. It’s great if you want to create a calm work environment. If you have a creative job and are looking for inspiration, yellow is a good consideration. Yellow is very energizing and has been shown to lift confidence.
If you decide to re-paint, do that first and then go around and add any other personal items you may enjoy. Strategically hang some inspiring pictures, keep a few family mementos around, and enjoy. Just don’t go overboard with things on your desk as a crowded workspace can lead to reduced levels of productivity throughout your day.
Buy a Few Plants
Psychologists have found that plants do more than enhance your office décor. In addition to boosting the oxygen levels in your space, plants can actually improve your productivity and overall levels of satisfaction throughout your workday by a staggering 15%. If you are going to add plants, make sure you find the right ones for the amount of natural light in your home office. If you have west-facing windows, you’ll likely get long periods of direct sunlight. Find houseplants that thrive in sun. If you have an east-facing window, you’ll receive good lighting in the morning, but the afternoon can vary so opt for plants that thrive in low light environments. North-facing windows receive almost no direct sunlight and south-facing windows have some degree of sun all day.
Plants also like a consistent environment, so make sure that your temperature doesn’t vary too much and that you avoid placing them too close to air-conditioning units or heaters.
When creating your ideal home office, you’ll need somewhere to store all of your excess furniture and clutter. To make sure that you’re storing your guest bedroom furniture and unused décor safely so that it can be used later, opt for a self-storage unit from The Lock Up Self Storage. We have a variety of sizes to fit all of your needs regardless of if you’re only putting away a few things or need something more substantial. All of our units are climate controlled to keep your things in the best position possible for short or long-term storage. To learn more about our locations, inquire about sizing options, or to begin renting today, call us today at 1-866-327-LOCK.