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The ergonomics of your home office is important to consider since you are likely doing more work than ever from home. And, the reality for many is that they will continue to work from home for the unforeseen future. If you are one of those individuals, it is a good idea to consider the organization, décor, and design of your home office or home workspace. A well-planned area in which to work will help with productivity, not to mention foster a positive mindset!
Need some help creating the perfect home office? Connect with a contractor who can help!
A Designated Space
By your favorite living room window, at the kitchen table, or that nook in your bedroom collecting dust mites—all have the potential to make great home workspaces if you don’t have the option of a separate home office. There are a lot of ways in which you can organize a great space amongst the many other living areas in your home. The 6 keys to designating the right spot are:
- Make sure it has enough outlets
- Make sure you have adequate natural light, is near artificial light, or you have a way to add light
- It’s away from the chaos of others in your home
- It provides enough room for you to do your work
- Your work/papers/equipment can be hidden from view when you aren’t working
- Your internet connectivity is strong
For those people who have more space, it’s ideal for productivity to set up shop in your very own designated office space. It’s also a good financial decision for people with a home-based business to have a separate space because it can be used as a tax write off. Check your state guidelines to see what’s required. Along with being a financial bonus, a designated home office will also help you stay sane because:
- You don’t have to clean up and declutter everyday which can be a waste of work time each day
- You can get away from the activity of others in your home and even the noise from the street
- You are able to have a designated spot for all the files, office supplies, and equipment, therefore affording you access to what you need right when you need it
- Your work isn’t staring at you from across the living room; therefore, you can actually (at least physically) get away from your work when your workday has ended.
Home Office Chair
It’s okay to take your laptop out and sit outside on the deck or on the comfy sofa for a while, but one of the most important items in your home office set up is your office chair. Because so many studies have concluded that our excessive time spent in a chair is detrimental to our health, it is very important that the time we do spend seated is comfortable and fits us and our needs. So, whether or not you have a separate office space, a proper office chair is important! The key considerations for an office chair are:
- Ability to make lumbar adjustments
- Can adjust the height
- Allows for easy mobility whether swiveling or moving in, out, and around the desk
- Padding in the seating area helps to maintain proper circulation throughout your body (not too hard, not too soft)
Your chair, in combination with your desk, needs to ensure that:
- You don’t have to hunch over
- It provides support under your legs
- You’re able to have a normal head tilt while working
- Your back is supported properly, etc…
Most importantly, you need to be able to try it out, risk-free. Make sure that you order from a reputable company where you can try the chair out for a week and return it if it doesn’t fit you and your needs.
Home Office Desk
When your workspace is combined with your living space, it’s likely that an L-shaped desk isn’t going to work. Fortunately, there are a ton of options for those spaces that are serving dual purposes:
- One of my favorites is the hanging desk. Some open up for a work surface with organizational additions like cubbies and a bulletin board, while others are like a shelf but deeper that makes a nice function and aesthetically pleasing workspace.
- You might also consider a cart on rollers that can be moved from place to place and your office can be wherever you are feeling it.
- Look at an antique or second-hand store for different pieces of unique furniture that might double as a great workspace and a cool looking piece of furniture.
If you are fortunate enough to have a designated room for an office, then the sky is the limit in terms of desks. Traditional rectangular desks with lots of drawer space and work surface area are popular for a reason. There are also a number of other options, from L-Shaped, T-Shaped, U-Shaped, to just a long rectangular table.
Spend some time evaluating how you use your desktop and what you have liked and what you have wished for in the past. Consider the room size and shape as well when choosing the shape and dimensions of your desk. Make sure that whatever you decide, it has enough workspace and area around it so you don’t feel cramped, cluttered, or stressed.
Home Office Lighting
Natural light is always best! Fluorescent lighting is hard on your eyes and can trigger headaches making working from home a major plus. Dim lighting is just as bad. If you have to utilize an overhead light wherever you are working, then LED lights are the best alternative. Lamps are also a great idea to add some soft light and ambiance to your workspace. Consider choosing a desk lamp (also called a “task lamp) that allows you to adjust it to different angles and different heights. The adjustability will allow you to shine it right where you need the light to avoid causing stress and strain to your eyes.
Home Office Color
If you can designate a separate office space, then you will want to give consideration to the colors of the room. There has been a great deal of research done about the effects of color on one’s mood, productivity, health. According to Inc., “Smart employers understand that color schemes in their work environment can have a profound impact on the mood and productivity of the company.” Knowing that, put some thought into color and how it affects you. This will help you to effectively design and add color to your home office for the best outcome.
When you have to coop spaces, then consider choosing a room in your house where the colors make you feel energized and productive, or maybe relaxed and focused. Also, if you can’t change the wall color, think about adding accessories to your workspace that make you feel good and energized. Choose items like a bright yellow clock and picture frame or a vase of flowers in your favorite color that will make your desk and the living room feel brighter and cheerier! Decorate your home office with things that inspire you and bring you joy. Hang up inspirational quotes, pictures of places you hope to visit.
Minimize Home Office Noise
There are a number of people that work better with noise, music, sound, but there are others who need consistent quiet in order to be productive. Know what works for you. A portable speaker or installation of surround sound can be a great addition to an office space or living space to make it a place you want to come and work and live. Create a few playlists for different parts and tasks for your day. When you need to increase your workflow maybe crank the rock n’ roll or some classical to settle you in and allow you to focus. Consider a desktop fountain for a calming effect.
If you need it quiet, it might be best to choose your office space based on the location and the distance between your workspace and outside noise, whether it is family, traffic, the dog barking in the backyard, or your noisy neighbors.
Other Home Office Equipment
Make sure that your home office space has all the right technology and equipment for you to be productive and efficient. Nothing is worse than having a deadline and realizing you need a copy to send via snail mail, and you needed it yesterday.
Check your internet connectivity. You may have to consider a booster for increased speed no matter where your office is located. They can be a bit spendy, but they will be well worth the money!
- Surge Protector
- Bulletin Board
- Office Chair & Desk
- Paper Organization & Storage
If you are sharing your home office space with the bedroom, consider using a closet or part of storage space to store your files, your fax machine, and extra office supplies. A rolling filing cabinet or organizer is great if you are sharing spaces—break it out during the day and roll it into the closet at night.
It's easy to skimp, neglect, and not put effort into your home office space. After all, the other rooms in your home seem more important probably because they are shared spaces or because you use them to relax. But, consider the ergonomics of your home workspace. It’s important to have space where you feel productive, where you can focus, and where you just enjoy spending time because we spend a great deal of each day working. And, maybe spoil yourself a little!
Get that desk you have always wanted, paint the walls, hang a piece of art, and even go buy that bouquet of flowers. And while you’re at it, maybe a mini-fridge, or better yet, an espresso machine!
- Interior Design & Decorating
- Tile & Stone