Creating a Comfortable Home Office
November 1st, 2022
Whether you work full-time from home, hybrid work, have a side gig, or just need space to keep your personal matters organized, a home office is a necessity for you. Sure, you can try to work from the kitchen table, but your back will quickly tell you this isn’t really the best option for you. If you know it’s time to create or upgrade your home office and you need a little help, read on for some key things to think about and a little insight to help you create the best home office to meet your work needs.
Step 1: Choose The Right Space This step will look a little different for everyone because our homes are so different. You may have the luxury of having a dedicated room for an office or you may need to set up a space in the corner of a room that is used for another purpose. No matter how much space you have, here are some things to think about as you choose your space.
- Minimal Distractions – Make sure you have a way to remove yourself in some way from distractions in your home. Find a quiet space or create one with a sound machine, a curtain, or a folding screen.
- Visual Field – Now that video conference calls are commonplace, putting your home office in your bedroom can make for awkward moments as your co-workers stare at your bed or master bath while you discuss business strategy. Surprisingly, your storage room or “Silence of the Lambs” basement may not translate well on camera. Save your clients and coworkers from less-than-ideal visuals by choosing a well-lit, cheery, neutral space that may be personal, but feels more like a work area. If you really have no other space than your bedroom or the crazy basement, check out the background blur option on popular video conference platforms.
- Lighting – Natural lighting is always the best option. If that isn’t an option, invest in good lighting. Sunlight, lamps with quality light bulbs, and ring lights keep you energized, take the strain off of your eyes and offer better picture quality for your calls.
- Size – Make sure you have enough room in your home office for your desk, chair, computer, keyboard, mouse, mousepad, additional screens if you use them, phone charging station, printer, scanner, notepad, coffee, and a snack.
- Minimize Clutter – The majority of us have that space. It’s the room, drawer, or corner where we chuck all the junk until we can deal with it. If you chose that space for your office, declutter it before you set up your work space. This is where renting a small storage space for things that don’t have a place in your home right now may serve you well. Clutter takes up mental space. It can make you anxious. The less stuff you have to look at and manage mentally, the more time you have to get your work done and enjoy your life.
- Use Storage – Sometimes a guest bedroom or extra space that could be an office is overrun with “stored” items. Boxes of keepsakes, photos, or even furniture you’re not ready to part with take up valuable space that could be used for an office. In this case, it might be time to find a small storage unit — like those at Alamo Mini-Storage — to house some of your unused items so that you can free up space for a home office. Rates are affordable and easily accessible!
Step 2: Choose the Right Office EquipmentWe are going to become your best friends if you follow the advice in this step. If you remember nothing else, remember this: Do not skimp on office furniture. Set aside enough money to get ergonomic and adjustable equipment that will help prevent overuse injuries, sore joints, and tight muscles that could lead to injuries. Your body will thank you. Your family will thank you.
If you are working at home full-time, do not try to “get by” with what you have. If you use two monitors in the office, use two monitors at home. If you need to scan or print items, don’t plan to run to the local office services store. Your time is money so don’t waste it. You will earn back any equipment investment in saved time in a short period of time. The goal is to be efficient and effective in your work space.
Step 3: Set Office HoursYour office hours don’t have to be 9 to 5, but you do need boundaries or work will take over every area of your life. There needs to be a moment when you stand up, turn off the computer, and leave your home office for the day.
If you can, get up, get showered, eat a proper breakfast, and then start your day. Take a break for lunch and clear your head. Honor your quitting time. If you are struggling with this, try scheduling a walk with your spouse or friend at 5 or 6. It will be a good reason to break away.
Step 4: Personalize Your SpaceMake your home office a place you enjoy. Find some spaces online that you love and think through which elements you can add to your space.
Are you a plant lover? Add some plants to your space. Are you a sports fan? Add pieces from your favorite team. Are you nuts about your family? Put some family photos close by. Do you manage multiple teams across the globe? Add a map of the world.
The fun part of a home office is that it’s all yours. Make it yours. If something isn’t working, change it. If you work full-time, you spend over 2,000 hours a year in your office. That’s a significant chunk of your life—make it a healthy, enjoyable, and special place to spend your time.