Want to know how to set up your home office space so you can be more productive working from home? Great, I’m going to share what I’ve learned working from home these last 2 years. Before I went full time in my business, I was fortunate enough to work from home two days a week. And then in the summer of 2019, I transitioned to full time work at home status. Let me just say, whether you’re working for someone else or working for yourself, it’s an adjustment working from home 8+ hours a day. So, if you’re trying to make working from home work for you, I want to share some helpful tips. Start by joining my FREE Decorating Made Easy Challenge. You’ll learn the tricks to easily decorate your home, even if you don’t have an eye for design. Now, let’s get started.
How To Set Up a Home Office To Increase Your Productivity
Have a dedicated space – first things first, in order to be your most productive self working from you, you need to have a dedicated space. Ideally, we’re talking about a home office, but really any comfortable space that keeps you focused and distraction-free will do. A few tips:
- Don’t assume that the same space you worked in “to just knock out a couple of emails” is the same space you’ll be comfortable using working from home full time. In fact, you might find that where you thought you’d work isn’t as comfortable as you imaged. Sitting at the kitchen table, at the island or on the sofa in front of the TV might not cut it. Those places can be good for a few minutes or hours of work, but they don’t cut it when you spend multiple hours over multiple days working from home.
- Try not to choose a multi-purpose space. You’ll find your mind is ready to get to work when you have an area that’s strictly known as the work area.
Setting up a specific environment will help you separate work and life – so let me just put it out there that I know everyone doesn’t have the space for a dedicated office at home. Let me list some options. Use a spare bedroom, set up a desk in the living room, put a desk in the dining room, or even put a desk in the sitting area of the master bedroom. The only thing I would caution against is putting a desk in the master bedroom without some type of separation. Been there, done that. And I found myself being in the same room for about 16 hours a day (8 hours of work and 8 hours of sleep). Yikes! I realized that I really needed to spread out a bit, so I took the guest bedroom and made that my office.
Set boundaries to minimize distractions – some days I work from home and my kids are there because school is out. And with my husband being in sales, sometimes he’s home too. My family, I love them, but they can be distractions. I’ll remember something I want to say to them or something I want them to do. And occasionally those conversations can go from a quick minute to an hour or two. But let’s face it, even when my family is gone off to work or school, I can get distracted all by myself. There’s laundry, and dishes. I’m in my house all day so then I start to realize how dirty everything is. I need to sweep the floor. The bathroom needs to be cleaned. Why didn’t my daughter take out the recycling? Yep, I’ve found that it’s very easy to get distracted being in my house all day and I don’t really need help from anyone.
Have good lighting – so I know some people prefer working by a window while some prefer a window-less room in order to focus and get work done. But I don’t know anyone that does their best work in the dark. So, think about how you work best – do you want a room filled with natural light? Or would you prefer a space that has overhead lighting so you can adjust it yourself? You might want to try out your proposed office space before you actually set up everything, just to make sure it’ll work for you.
Set up a functional desk – if you start searching, you’ll see there are a gazillion desks online and in furniture stores. They come in all different design styles too. You can find a modern desk with a glass top and metal legs. And you can find a farmhouse desk made out of reclaimed wood and other recycled parts. But regardless of the style you choose, make sure your desk is functional for you. I like to have a drawer on my desks so I can easily reach papers, pens and pencils that I use often. It helps me keep the top of my desk clear. I know some people prefer to have file cabinets as a built-in part of their desk. And I’m sure some would be A-OK with a desk that doesn’t have any drawers or cabinets. So, with all the pretty desks out there, just make sure the desk you pick works for you.
Set up a comfortable chair – Believe me, I found this out the hard way when my chair died on me! I had to update my desk ASAP to stop the sore-butt-syndrome. Sorry for the TMI. But here’s the point. Your chair is not the area to try and be cheap. Even though I had a dedicated home office, I decided to use a folding chair as my desk chair. In my defense, I’ve sat in this chair before, and it was cushioned. So, I thought I could use this cushioned chair as my go-to. Nope. This situation only worked for me for about 3 months. But man, those last few weeks were brutal. I tried adding a cushion, sitting on a pillow, and finally said enough is enough. I went searching and found this mesh task chair that I love. And while I was searching for chairs, I realized that different chairs have different “sit” times. The sit time is basically an estimate of how long you’ll be comfortable sitting in the chair. So, consider this when looking for a high-quality chair.
Have good storage – the desk that you choose will determine how much additional storage you need. Do you need any bins or file cabinets? And what other supplies will you need to store? Think through your office supplies and papers that you don’t use that often, but you still need close by. One storage option that often gets overlooked is a bookcase. I know, a lot of people, including my husband and son swear by audiobooks. But I want to hold onto something, so I only read paper books. But even with me having a bookcase, I don’t have enough space (not if I want a pretty looking bookcase with decorated shelves). So do like me and take some time to declutter, group like items together (papers, files, office supplies, etc.) to help you figure out how much and what kind of storage containers you need.
Decorate – yay! This is the fun part. And yes, decorating your office can help you increase your productivity. I mean, who isn’t inspired by their environment? Everyone is. Absolutely everyone. So, come up with a color scheme for your office and then decide how you want to decorate it. Do you want to hang any diplomas, framed pictures or artwork on the wall? Or have your awards and trophies you can display? How about adding candles? I could go on and on, but the point is that this is your chance to decorate a room (or space) that you’re excited about going to everyday. Because excitement is half the battle in this work from home game.
Setup up computer at eye-level – this is pretty self-explanatory but having an ergonomic office will save you lots of pain and visits to the chiropractor. Make sure your desk height and chair height work well with your computer screen. If you’re working off just a laptop (like I prefer) then you’ll need to rely on adjusting your chair to get the ideal view. But if you have a large computer screen, you should be able to adjust it to the right height. The goal is that you don’t have to look up, down or strain your eyes while working.
Customize computer wallpaper – this is another fun thing. If you’re a small business owner, you might find it fun and energizing to have your company logo as your computer wallpaper. Or to take a break from thinking about work, you might just prefer a family photo, a pic of a good memory with friends or that dream vacation that you’re saving up for. Pick something that makes you smile every time you see it and reminds you what you’re doing all this work for in the first place.
Identify what you need to get the job done – you know your job better than anyone. While a lawyer might need a lot of law books close at hand to reference, a home décor professional like me needs inspirational design books and color wheels. So, our offices won’t be set up the same. Something that I love to use, but has absolutely nothing to do with my business, is a whiteboard. Man, I just love to brainstorm and write down my ideas on a big whiteboard! So, I literally have one sitting beside my desk so I can just turn around in my chair and jot down notes. But no matter what job you do, having what you need close by will help you work more efficiently and ultimately be more productive. This includes moving all office supplies so it’s easily accessible.
Organize your workspace and declutter the room – having an organized workspace will help clear the clutter in your mind. It’ll be easy to find what you need when you need it, and you can easily stay on task and get back to work. So, using the tips above about having a functional desk, having everything you need, making it easily accessible and having lots of storage will help you stay organized.
Create a filing system – digital files are great, but there are just some things that I prefer to print out and file. And personally, I also use the files in my office to store household related papers. Having my kids’ schoolwork and old bills labeled and tucked away keeps me feeling like I’m on top of my game. I know where everything is, and I can easily get to it all.
Add printer, trash can and paper shredder – once you get into the groove of working, you’ll want to be able to print out any papers you need without skipping a beat. If you’re shopping for a new printer, look for one that has the features you need. Would you prefer easy to change or inexpensive cartridges or maybe even a scanner? And don’t forget about a paper shredder to get rid of any private papers like credit card offers or sensitive work papers you might have. Lastly, when purchasing a trash can, feel free to find one that’s got a little style to it.
How To Set Up a Home Office To Increase Your Productivity
All right, we covered a lot here. We went over 13 keys things you need to do to set up a home office to help you be more productive while working from home. To help you get your office set up and ready, go ahead and join my FREE Decorating Made Easy Challenge. You’ll learn the tricks to easily decorate your home, even if you don’t have an eye for design.
If you have questions just want to share how these tips helped you, feel free to leave a reply in the comments section below.