great home office

The Ultimate Guide to Improve your Home Office Setup and Boost your Productivity

Recently, the concept of working from home has become more prevalent, and it’s no longer just a temporary situation for many people, and has become a permanent arrangement for workers around the globe.  Having a separately designated, functional office space is vital to your success if you are working from home. The right home office will help you stay focused and create a healthy work-life balance. Before you design your work from home space, there are lots of things to consider, including choosing the right furniture and technology as well as staying organized to maximize productivity. Thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank to update or set up your home office. With the right tips and tools, anyone can enjoy a beautiful, functional home office space. Once you’ve created your new home office, be sure to include a few tweaks that will increase your productivity levels and give it a fresh, new look.

Ergonomic office setup tips

You’re likely working at a computer or sitting at a desk all day, so it’s crucial to ensure that you’re getting the support you need to prevent pain and injury. Here are some ergonomic-related tips to help you keep good posture while you work.

  • A proper desk: Make sure that your desk is at the right height for your chair and your position while seated. It should offer the appropriate height where your arms can rest directly in front of you and where your hands and wrists will be supported. A particular ergonomic mouse and keyboard are recommended to help with this and prevent things like carpal tunnel syndrome. Look for a mousepad that includes wrist support too.
  • The right chair: Your desk chair is one of the most essential items in the office. Be sure to choose a chair that will support your posture and keep your neck, back, and shoulders aligned. If you need one, add a back or lumbar pillow for even more support. Your feet should be at a 90-degree angle directly under your desk. A sturdy footrest can help keep your legs and feet in the proper position while seated. Chairs with features like an adjustable headrest, height, tilt back, and arms will allow you to find your perfect position.
  • Raise your monitor or laptop: Looking down for hours at a time can cause severe strain on your neck and shoulders. Ideally, your computer monitor or your laptop should always be at eye level or higher. You can use a laptop or monitor stand to raise it to the appropriate level or simply stack some sturdy hardback books under it until you find the right height.
  • A stand-up desk: Too much sitting can cause issues with circulation and may cause excess strain on your body. Consider getting a stand-up desk, so you can work while standing up. Most stand-up desks are adjustable, so you can raise or lower them whenever you prefer to sit down.
  • Invest in some office exercise equipment: If you’re able, consider purchasing a stationary bike or a treadmill that can securely hold your laptop. When you exercise while you work, you’ll not only feel better and get fit, but you’ll also improve blood flow which also enhances your ability to focus.
  • Take breaks: Always remember to take frequent breaks while you’re working from home. Whether you get up for a cup of coffee or just walk around the house, it’s crucial to keep moving during the day to prevent fatigue and muscle strain. If you enjoy a bit of yoga, keep a yoga mat handy in your office so you can take short breaks for a bit of stretching or meditation.

Upgrade your technology

Making sure that you have the right technology will set you up for success. Here are some suggestions to ensure you have everything you need for the home office.

  • A bigger or external monitor: A large computer monitor makes it easier to see as you type or do your daily tasks. If you have a laptop, consider adding a bigger external monitor that’s meant just for working, so you’re able to see things more clearly.
  • Speakers and headphones: Listening to music during the day can boost your productivity and cancel outside noise while you’re in meetings. Invest in a quality set of speakers and a pair of headphones to help you focus.
  • Smart home system: A smart home system is like a “personal assistant” while you’re at work. These devices are voice-activated and can turn the lights on and off, give you the weather, activate security cameras, and more.
  • Chargers: Make sure that you have the correct chargers for your laptop, smartphone, PC, and all of your other work-related devices so you can stay connected all day.
  • Computer or laptop maintenance: A virus can wreak havoc on your computer and can cause serious problems, so be sure that you have a quality antivirus program installed. The program should also check and clean the hard drive and all software regularly. Make sure that your computer has enough memory, too. The more RAM and ROM memory you have, the faster your computer will run and the more data it can store.

Lighting is key

To stay focused and productive, you need proper lighting in your home office.

Choose lighting that works for you: Try a few different lighting options, including task lighting like floor or table lamps to augment overhead lights. Try warm or soft lighting depending on where your office is positioned, and so it can help you see better on cloudy days.

Position your desk correctly: Avoid placing your desk directly behind a window. The sunlight streaming in will create glare that makes it difficult to see. Instead, position your desk and computer facing the window or parallel to it, so you can enjoy the view and adjust your blinds and curtains as needed.

Organize and declutter

A cluttered, disorganized office can cause stress and reduce focus. Keep these tips in mind to help you stay organized and productive.

  • Go minimalist: Consider adopting a minimalist style in your office. This will prevent clutter from building up in the first place, and you’ll only have the things you really need around you.
  • Tidy up your cables: Corral unruly cables using cable ties or special devices that keep them contained. This is particularly important if you have pets or younger children as it can be a trip hazard and cause a risk of electrical shock.
  • Add a book nook or shelves: Keep your books and work-related paperwork organized with a cute book nook in one corner. Add a bookcase or some shelving to keep everything orderly and in its place.
  • Custom cabinets: If you deal with many office accessories, add some custom cabinets for a perfect fit. They can hold your items neatly while keeping everything hidden and looking attractive.
  • Create a file system: Important work documents should be filed away in the proper order. If you deal with confidential information, make sure you purchase a locking file cabinet to keep everything secure.
  • Make space: Declutter your office and be sure you have plenty of space to move around. The right flow will make the office feel cleaner, and it will help your mind stay open and relaxed as you work.

Your office decor is everything

The right office décor will boost your mood and make the space feel personal to you, so try these tips to put your own stamp on it.

  • Select the right colors: Color affects our mood and can impact productivity. Choose wall and floor colors that will make you feel relaxed without feeling sleepy. Blues and greens are productive colors that can calm the mind while encouraging healthy focus.
  • Add scent to the air: Essential oils or scented candles will create a pleasant fragrance while you work. Smells like lavender and citrus are known to help improve things like focus and concentration.
  • Area rugs: A nice, soft area rug will make your home office feel cozy and inviting. Choose a rug in a muted pattern or solid color, so it’s not too distracting.
  • Bean bag: Add a comfy bean bag chair to your office, so you have a place to chill out whenever you take breaks or want to relax.
  • Curtains or blinds: Make sure you have the right window coverings to prevent glare and give you privacy. Mini blinds are affordable and easy to adjust, while curtains will add a nice look to the office.
  • Wall décor: Bring personality to your office with wall decorations like artwork, a lovely mirror, or some family photos in nice frames. A corkboard or whiteboard is perfect for helping you take notes or simply to keep track of an old-fashioned to-do list.
  • Plants: Beautiful plants add greenery and freshness to an office. The power of being surrounded by nature has incredible impacts on boosting productivity and lowering stress levels.
  • Add a “Zen sand garden”: These unique accessories are fun to use and can help you relax whenever you’re feeling stressed. A little Zen sand garden can also encourage you to rethink things and foster creativity.

Kids? Pets? Give them their own small space

If you have kids or pets, be sure to give them a little spot in your office, too.

A place for kids: Give your younger children an area in the office where they can color, work on homework, or simply spend some time with you.

A spot for pets: Add a few toys for your cat or dog and a nice, comfy bed somewhere in the room so they can keep you company during the day. 

Improve productivity – What to avoid

Shot of a young woman suffering from stress while using a computer at her work desk

If you want to stay productive, there are also some things you should avoid, including:

  • When possible, avoid putting your desk in your bedroom. This can make it difficult to separate life from work and interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid neglecting to make a morning routine, and always make sure you get up, shower, and get dressed every morning to help you stay motivated.
  • Don’t work in your pajamas. Instead, get dressed as you normally would or at least put on regular clothing after you shower.
  • Try not to eat your breakfast and lunch at your desk. Taking breaks in another room or outside will help reset your mind and give you a mental break between tasks.
  • Don’t neglect to have some healthy snacks on hand to keep you energized. Keep a water bottle with a lid near you to prevent spills on your computer keyboard, and drink water throughout the day.
  • Avoid listening to music that distracts you and listen to calming music that will boost your mood instead.
  • Putting distractions around you will make you lose focus. You can keep things like a stress ball or your Zen sand garden near you, but never directly in front of you while you’re working.
  • Do not forget to set up a routine when working from home. Find your own pace, whether it’s checking your email or tackling big projects first.

When you work from home, it’s your chance to design an office that’s all yours, so be sure to make it unique to you. Keep these tips in mind when choosing the right furniture and technology, but most importantly, do whatever works best for you. Eventually, you’ll establish a nice daily routine and enjoy working in an office that is special and motivating to help you accomplish any task.

Originally posted in Porch.com

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