9 Tips for Setting Up a Work-From-Home Office That Will Increase Productivity
More people are working from home than ever, which has made the work-from-home office an important piece of your living space. In fact, many new builds are incorporating home offices and office nooks in almost every floor plan, something that didn't used to be standard. It's always interesting to see the changes in real estate as the housing market reflects the way people are using their homes.
But, regardless of whether you're renting or owning, living in a large space or something smaller, there's a way to carve out an area where you will be able to focus, work, and be productive.
Of course, not all places are created equal. It could take some trial and error to find the right place in your space to get your job done. Today we are sharing our top tips for creating that work-from-home office that is just right for you.
1. Start With Location:
Similar to buying real estate, the number one thing to consider when choosing your work-from-home office is: location.
Here are few things to think about when choosing the right place to work:
Space: Where do you have enough space for a desk, the essentials and a chair?
Schedule: Consider your schedule and what part of the house will be the quietest when you're working. Or, maybe you'll need to work in a place where you can keep an eye on pets or kiddos.
Traffic Flow: Think about how people move through your house. That little nook might seem perfect, but if your desk chair will jut out into a high traffic area, it'll quickly become a nuisance for everyone.
Work Needs: Consider the needs of your work, too. Do you need a quiet space where you can take calls uninterrupted? Will you need a seating area to welcome clients in person? Do you function best when you're in a smaller space or have room to stretch out?
You know yourself and the work you do best. Choose a location that will inspire you to be the most productive. You may even need to try out a couple different ideas before settling on one spot, so don't be afraid to use what you have for a desk and chair now until you've found the right place.
I had a friend who spent a lot of time and money setting up an office in an unused closet, only to learn that he could not function at all in a windowless room. Once that same friend converted a formal dining area he rarely used into a decked out office area, he was much happier and rarely missed using the space for dinner parties.
The perfect space for your home office is where you'll be the most productive.
2. Think About Light:
Sure, it's fun to think about painting your office walls black or navy blue, but if the space your painting doesn't get enough light, you'll end up feeling like you're working in a black hole.
Think about the amount of light in the space you'll be working or how much light you need to be productive. For many of us, darker spaces immediately start translating to rest or relaxing time. You may find those darker walls or that small space with no windows tricks your mind into thinking it's bedtime.
But, a space with plenty of natural light can handle darker paints without feeling oppressive.
So, consider how much natural light the space has and choose paint, lighting and other decor that will brighten it up and keep you awake.
3. Consider Your View:
When choosing your space or even the position of your desk, think about what you'll be staring at. This may sound silly, but I once had my desk in this location where I stared out a window that had a view of a rock wall. It not only limited how much light got in the space, but it started to make me feel like I was confined.
When I moved my desk so that I was facing out of the room, towards the door, it really improved my mindset. I could focus more on my work and less on how I felt like I was stuck in my office. Consider what you'll be looking at when placing your desk and consider how that will impact your work flow.
4. Consider Your Technology:
Working from home requires technology, as well as access to essentials like electrical outlets. Pick a place for your home office where you'll get clear phone reception, easy access to plugs and a consistent Wi-Fi signal. The last thing you need is to be on a work call when your internet stops connecting and your cell phone signal gets spotty.
If the space you need to put your home office happens to be in a strange black hole in your home, you can always add a signal booster to ensure all of your technology connects and stays reliable.
5. Choose Furniture Wisely:
It's time to marry form and function when choosing office furniture. Select a desk that will be suitable for your work flow and not just look good. Maybe you prefer a standing desk, but still need lots of space to have multiple screens. Or, perhaps you need a secretary desk that takes up minimals pace, but will still fits your laptop. Whatever your priorities, needs, and space require, keep this in mind when shopping for a desk.
When it comes to your desk chair, don't buy that gorgeous green velvet chair unless it really offers the back support and comfort that you'll need. You'll likely be sitting for hours a day and you won't love that chair for long if it starts to give you chronic back pain.
If possible, look at office furniture in person and sit in those desk chairs before pulling the trigger on what you'll bring home.
6. Choose Decor That Gives You Energy:
Back when I was designing my office, I was stuck between a couple different rugs. They both had colors I liked, but the style was very different. I reached out to a designer friend and she had great advice - she said, "Which one gives you more energy?" When you're designing a space where you need to focus and be productive, you want the decor you choose to help keep your energy up.
Choose decorations, rugs, pictures and other touches that are going to inspire you and give you energy. This gave me a lot of clarity when designing my office area and it has worked really well for me.
7. Organize Your Desk:
Clutter can definitely impact our ability to be productive. Clutter not only distracts us, but it can "bombard our minds with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren't necessary or important. Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on," (source).
The mental load of clutter can literally slow you down. So, take the time to arrange your desk and the area around it with care. Use minimalistic principles to get rid of anything you don't use or don't need. Only leave what you actually use on your desk and a couple things that inspire you.
Routinely go through papers and scan what you need to keep and shred what you don't. Consider the colors of items on your desk as well and don't overwhelm your work area with tons of different colors and items. The more time you spend navigating around things in your way, the less time you are being creative and productive.
At the end of each work day, take a few minutes to clean up, re-organize, and prep the space for the next morning, so as soon as you sit down, you'll be ready to get to work.
8. Organize Your Office Area:
If you are lucky enough to have an office area or a whole room, use these same principles in the entire space. Maybe your desk is clean, but the office is piled with boxes, disorganized books, stacks of products, and technology wires spread all over the place.
It doesn't take long to arrange things so that the technology is all in one area, with the cords neatly tucked behind them, for boxes to be broken down and taken out, for books to be arranged in a thoughtful way and to start a daily habit of getting rid of things you don't need. If your office really needs some TLC, schedule some time in your day to start working on it and getting it in shape.
Over time, it'll become part of your routine to tidy up a little each day, so that your office becomes a space that brings you joy and inspires you to be at your best.
For more ideas, here are 10 office hacks for getting and staying organized.
9. Feng Shui Your Office:
If you're still struggling to stay focused in your home office, it may be time to try some Feng Shui. There was a funny reel that went viral recently of a woman that shows how she accidentally stopped working and fell into bed to take a nap. It was really well done and perfectly captured the feeling we all have when we just can't keep adulting and need to rest.
But, if we did that every day, we probably wouldn't have a job - or very happy clients - so we need to create areas where we will have less distractions and more productivity. Feng Shui offers real tips for how to increase good energy flow. The basic idea of Feng Shui is that everything around us, including material possessions, has energy, called chi. If the chi is able to flow and the environment is in harmony, this will increase the good energy in our homes and lives, attracting every form of good fortune that we all crave: health, wealth, love, and more.
I don't know about you, but I can use all the good energy and good fortune when it comes to my work (and my life).
Here are a few Feng Shui tips to increase the good energy in your office:
Clear Clutter: A core tenant in Feng Shui is not to feel the need to fill every space. Your desk should be at least 50% clear of anything.
Command Position: Your desk and chair should be in command position, which means facing the door. If you must face a wall, put up a big piece of art that makes you feel like you're looking through a window outside, such as an ocean scene or rolling green hills.
Fresh Air: Ensure there is fresh air or good air flow in your work area. Open a nearby window to allow air to circulate. Check the temperature of the room to make sure it isn't too hot or too cold. The optimal temperature for work is between 70-77 degrees, so find what works best for you.
Cleanse: Consistently purge and cleanse the area by getting rid of stacks, clutter, dust, strange smells and bring in purifying plants. Live plants indoors are a big part of Feng Shui as they are believed to improve air quality, mindset, and bring the outside in.
For more tips on how to Feng Shui your office, check out this post.
I hope these tips gave you a great starting point for creating a home office that will fit your needs.
For more home decor ideas, don't miss our most popular post on home decor trends that are hot right now and also our most recommended neutral paint colors for bright, open spaces.
Thanks for reading!