Working in a home office brings many benefits to the table. You have flexible working hours, you are at home where everything is accessible and you are not experiencing the stress of commuting each day. However, you cannot simply pull up a chair and designate any nook as your home office. Rather, you should carefully plan and organise the space before it actually becomes an office where you will be productive.
Home office needs
Before designating an area of your home as an office, you should make a list of all the things your office will need. Everything from basic office furniture, such as a desk, computer, phone, chairs and so on, to the very details your job requires. Also, make sure to plan for storage areas, sturdy cabinets and enough space for your clients to meet with you. These needs are called “critical needs” and they include every essential part of your future home office. This list will greatly help you determine the space you need and the organisation of the space will be much simpler.
Don’t let the homey atmosphere fool you and reduce your creativity. You are at home, but for the most part of the day, you are at your office. It is essential to learn how to be productive and organise your office accordingly. Place your desk in front of a window and give yourself a view. It will relax you, you will feel safe and that’s a perfect foundation for being productive. Also, nature can easily improve your creativity. It is also essential to specifically divide the work and private space if you want to stay productive and without distractions. Lastly, it is best to set up working hours with smaller breaks and create a feeling of a real office. The perks of a home office do include flexible working hours, but a strict working schedule will help you stay focused.
Being at home doesn’t mean you should use home furniture in your office. It is both impractical, and can affect your overall health. It is essential to find the right furniture and follow ergonomic rules. Start by searching for a desk of the right height and research back-supporting office chairs. After that has been set up, make sure that the computer screen is at eye level or a bit below it. This position will enable your eyes to naturally close a bit and moisten while you are scanning the screen, reducing eye strain and fatigue. The keyboard should be placed in such a way that your forearms are parallel to the floor and your feet should be able to rest firmly on the floor.
A home office has a rather limited amount of space. Sometimes, it can feel cramped if there are several pieces of furniture in it, plus all the supplies. To de-clutter a bit, you should maximise the storage you have. Find a desk that has filing cabinets where you can store documents, or build one yourself. Put up some floating shelves, where you can keep some of the books you need, some lighter materials if needed, or essential office supplies. Keep a vertical file folder on your desk and keep important documents at hand. For your mail, notes and papers, you can find a smaller basket which can double as decoration. Also, clear out your desk and keep the essential everyday supplies in drawers. If your office is rather small, you can always use another room in your home for storing all the documents you rarely use. Storage can be organised in any way you want it since your goal is to have an office space that meets all of your daily needs.
Even if it’s an office, it doesn’t have to look dull and empty. You should incorporate some homey decorations in order to make you feel cosy and encourage your creativity. Decorate the walls with some family photos or your favourite artwork. Put up some travelling souvenirs on the shelves and add texture with cushions, pillows and drapes from your home. However, you have to be careful not to decorate or personalise your office too much. Firstly, a lot of non-essential office items will create clutter. The clutter will only distract you and your productivity will plummet. Also, some important work documents and supplies can easily get lost in the clutter and you will lose time by searching for the things you need. Not to mention the levels of stress you will experience each day. Basically, you should decorate with smaller things that will bring life into your home office and make it comfortable, just make sure they are not too distracting.
Setting up a home office is not one of the easiest tasks. There are plenty of things to consider, as you can see. Follow these tips and once you are done organising, you will be able to enjoy your work stress-free and encourage your productivity.
Emma Joyce – Interior Designer and Guest Blogger at AIFF.