Since the pandemic began, many of us have adjusted to a hybrid work life that combines working from home with time in the office. With this reality looking likely to be the way forward for the foreseeable future for most, making the necessary adjustments is ever more important.
Sometimes it’s as simple as setting up the laptop on the kitchen table or hacking away at the keyboard on the couch or bed, and those can be perfectly fine. But having a proper home workspace can keep us from being distracted by food, naps, or Netflix. Besides, now that videoconferencing is pretty much the norm, it does help give an air of professionalism if your co-workers, boss, or clients see that you’re set up in an environment conducive for focusing on tasks at hand.
But exactly what does setting up a home office for remote work mean?
Here's 9 of our favourite home office setup ideas!
1. Location matters. Pick one that helps you work, not prevents you from doing what you need to do
Chances are you’ll be spending the bulk of your day holed up in your home office, so choosing the right spot is essential. You must be comfortable enough in the room so that you won’t feel antsy and unable to work.
Easily distracted by too many people? Stay away from high-traffic hallways or places where your family members might hang out. Get hot easily? It’s not a good idea to situate your desk where the sun shines too brightly. The perfect spot may vary according to preferences and house layout, but the gist is that it should be a place where you can work.
2. Set boundaries
More than just the physical location of your home office set up, creating “boundaries” from home and work gives you the ability to “clock in” in the morning and “clock out” at the end of the day. This practice is good for your mental health and signals to others at home when you need to be hunkered down, or if you’re free to chat.
3. Make your space visually pleasing
At the very least it has to be nice and neat, but if you have the means, why not add some flair to the room so it’s actually pleasant to work there?
One thing you can consider when designing a home office is to play around with paint and colours. Just be careful to pick shades that aren't so busy that you can’t focus.
A nice painting, sculpture or even a little plant may invite creative thoughts and give you something nice to look at when you’re having a hard, tiring day.
4. Appropriate lighting
Now that you’ve planned a room that looks amazing, make sure you have enough light to actually do some work without straining your eyes. Letting in some daylight can boost productivity and alertness so if your home office has a window or two, all the better. Besides, exposure to daylight can positively affect physical and mental well-being!
That said, you’ll also need proper room lighting; look into options that aren’t too harsh. Fortunately, there are a myriad of lighting solutions that include features like dimmers, and brightness and warmth controls, and even colour changers.
5. Invest in your home office furniture
Great seating is a must! Many of us work at our desks for long hours and this can cause problems if we’re not careful. A comfortable chair with the proper support can help prevent posture issues that you might otherwise develop sitting in a regular chair.
Not all chairs are built the same way, however, so find one that best suits your body and posture.
Some people even advocate for standing desks, and while opinions on the matter differ, the gist is that you should furnish your home office with chairs, desks, and even storage that smoothen your workflow and don’t adversely affect your well-being.
6. Make sure your home office is set up ergonomically
If you’re not using a desktop computer, then you’re likely looking down on a laptop screen, which is typically smaller or lower than a desktop and can lead to neck strain.
If that’s the case, consider using a separate monitor or put your laptop on a riser so its display is directly in front of you.
You can also think about connecting a separate keyboard so you can still type comfortably!
7. Keep the cords out of the way
One of the most annoying parts about offices is the jumble of wires and cables that inevitably come with equipment. Too many cords can be unsightly, and even dangerous to trip on. Organise them with cable clips or hide them with cord covers to keep things looking spic and span.
8. Organise the space efficiently.
Not all home offices have an abundance of square-footage, and if your own setup isn’t too spacious, you’ll definitely benefit from having excellent sense for organisation.
Floating shelves are a top-notch way to store office supplies and some equipment so you have more real estate on your desk and it doesn’t feel so cluttered. Baskets, file boxes, and organisers are going to be your best friends if you want to be more conscientious about how you use your space.
9. Incorporate nature into your workspace
Work can be stressful at times, so why not add a bit of greenery in the home office to help reduce stress levels? According to a study, indoor plants can soothe your mood. And as many people who have taken to gardening since the pandemic have found, having plants around can be therapeutic as well.
Look into hardy, adaptive and lovely indoor plants that aren’t too high maintenance like the pothos, snake plant, philodendron, or succulents.
Another option is to have a window that looks out into green views – not only will it let the sunshine in, it will also provide a restful vista from when your eyes are tired from working on the computer.