Working from home offers many perks, including the flexibility of setting your own schedule, saving time and money by eliminating your daily stresses in traffic. But being successful in a home office requires creating a space that promotes efficiency in a non-traditional work environment.
You'll want to define a professional work area that separates your business from your personal life. Its location, lighting, and confinement of clutter are all important.
Identify What You Need
What you'll need in your office will depend on the type of work you do. You might require both a small desk for your computer and a larger table. A consultant might require additional space for file cabinets, or an area set aside for meeting with clients. A photographer might require an in-home studio or storage space for props and lighting equipment.
Your employer might have specific requirements about the equipment such as dedicated laptops and security protocols in place.
Create a detailed list of your needs for a home office are and set up a space that meets those.
Choose a Dedicated Area
Ideally, your office should be in a quiet area that allows you some privacy. This is especially important if you share the house with a spouse, children, or roommates.
You might find that a spare room with a door can reduce noise from the rest of the house if you'll be on the phone frequently. It could make sense to choose a room near the front entrance of the house if you'll be meeting with clients in your home office. You might need a dedicated studio that's separate from the rest of your home if you need space to spread out design or tech equipment.
Your employer might require that you have a door that closes and locks for reasons of confidentiality if you telecommute.
Consider the Light
Set up your home office so it has plenty of light. You'll do your best work if some of that includes natural light. Warm light, such as from firelight, promotes relaxation. Cold light, such as daylight, improves productivity and alertness. That's what you want in your home office. Windows and exposure to daylight can also impact your physical and mental well-being.
Working in a space with natural light can reduce headaches and eyestrain, allowing you to be more productive on a day-to-day basis and healthier in the long term.
You might want to keep a plant or two in your workspace as an added touch that can improve your well-being. Research has shown that having plants in an office can increase your productivity and make you happier while you work.
Invest In a Comfortable Chair
A comfortable chair is the heart of a productive home office. You’ll spend nearly half your day on it. Investing in a good one will make a notable difference to your work life. To find the right fit, pay attention to back, thigh and arm support. Also consider the material options and warranties offered, if any.
Consider Buying a Standing Desk
There is a growing body of research that show that sitting for extended periods of time is bad for your health. This explains why the new generation of workers are embracing standing desks.
A standing desk is exactly what you think: a tall desk where you work standing up. Most of these desks are height adjustable (i.e. you can lower/raise the height as needed). Some more expensive versions can even be converted into conventional sit-down desks on the fly.
A standing desk won’t magically transform your health, but it will improve productivity, focus, and heart health.
Follow Ergonomic Rules
There are 10 fundamental principles of ergonomics which are:
1. Work in neutral postures
- Proper posture maintenance is necessary
- Working too long with “C” curve can cause strain
- Keeping the proper alignment of neck hands wrist are also necessary
2. Reduce excessive force
- Excessive pressure or force at the joints can cause injury
- Better to minimize the work that requires more physical labour
3. Keep everything in reach
- Keeping everything in reach would help in avoiding unneeded stretching and strain
- This principle is related with maintaining good posture.
4. Work at proper height
- Working at right makes things way easier
- Sometimes height can be maintained by adding extensions or avoiding extensions on the chair or tables
5. Reduce excessive motions
- Repetitive motion needs to be avoided
- This can cause disorder and numbness in long run
- Motion scan be reduced using power tools
6. Minimize fatigue and static load
- Fatigue is common in strenuous work
- Having to hold things for longer period is example of static load
- Fatigue can be reduced by the intervals and the breaks between the works.
7. Minimize pressure points
- One needs to be aware of pressure points
- Almost everyone of must sit on chairs that had cushioning, one of the pressure points is behind knees, which happens if air is too high or when you dangle your legs. Pressure point is also created in between your thigh and the bottom of a table when you sit.
- Anti-fatigue mats or insole can be used
8. Provide clearance
- Work area should have enough clearance
- Let the worker not worry about the bumps that they must encounter on daily basis.
9. Move, exercise and stretch
- Move and stretch when you can
- It better to take intervals between the works and stretch and move along
- Stretching technique may differ and depend on the work one does
10. Maintain a comfortable environment
- This principle is focused on the other component of the working environment.
- It is concerned about the lightening, space, cool air and many more.
Add Some Personality and Warmth with Décor
One of the best parts about a home office is that you can totally dictate its decor per your tastes. Good decor won’t just make your office space feel more inviting, it’ll also improve productivity. Even science supports this idea! A warm, welcoming environment improves productivity. When choosing colours, follow colour psychology and pick an energy inducing colour, such as shades of yellow, orange and red. Avoid dark, dull colours - they can make you feel less energetic.