With remote jobs, freelance careers, and employer flexibility, more and more people are opting out of the nine to five in a cubicle. Instead, they’re staying home.
Cutting out workplace distraction, crowded offices, and most importantly, commute times, those who can get online and get work done without leaving the house are generally happier and more productive. And also no one judges them for staying in their pajamas past 10AM or what they eat for lunch. Bonus.
But getting in productive work hours requires a space which allows it.
If you don’t love the space you’re working in, quite honestly, you will have a hard time going in there. And we all know it’s hard enough getting work done in the first place, right?
Find the right space
Choosing the right space in your home for an office may seem like a no-brainer, but take a moment to consider every option. It may seem obvious to take the smallest or least-used bedroom, but is the larger, sunnier guest bedroom a better choice? Can the room do double duty when infrequent guests stay with you?
If you have the luxury of a large home, it’s also important to consider if you do or do not want to be in a high-traffic area. If you concentrate best while amidst noise and activity, a room off of the living room is a good choice. For quiet-seekers, a spare bedroom down a hallway should provide more peace and solitude.
Have everything at the ready
You wouldn’t put your silverware in your laundry room, so don’t count your office as complete until it’s fully stocked with pens, paper, envelopes, and the ever-important chargers. The fewer times in a day you have to go searching for something, the better.
But hey, don’t forget to take breaks. No reason to pack a lunch, right?
Embrace natural light
Human beings are programmed to feel happier (and hopefully see increased productivity) when exposed to natural light. Take whatever window space you have and emphasize it with the layout of your home office. If space permits, break the cubicle-standards and float your desk away from a wall, parallel to the window. You’ll be positioned to enjoy the view without having to deal with glare.
All the windows in the world won’t give you enough light when it’s dark outside, so don’t overlook the ambiance and practicality of accent lighting. This is also a great opportunity to style your office with lighting decor. The addition of a task lamp, table lamp, and floor lamp can combine to create a wide variety of moods. Perfect for winter working, when even not-so-early-risers are up before the sun.
Store things the way you store things
One of the more glorious parts of working in a home office is that there’s no company-issued metal filing cabinet plopped in your workspace. However, you’ll still need a place to store important papers. Look for chic-but-practical storage solutions. Magazine racks are good for those who like to keep their documents vertical. If you’re a paper stacker like me, a simple bin keeps piles looking somewhat organized and intentional.
Be at ease
Pinterest is great for office inspiration, but take most of what you see with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, function should far outweigh form. Nothing speaks to this so clearly as the selection of a desk chair. You don’t have to go for bulky black leather, but you should be sure that your choice provides great back support and promotes good posture — Chic plastic or wooden chairs aren’t going to cut it for this job.
Save your neck (no, really) by keeping the top of your computer at eye level. You’ll look slightly down on your screen, keeping your lids partially closed and fighting fatigue. There are plenty of stylish options for monitor and laptop stands that will give you the boost you need.
It’s no secret that a plant or two can make a big difference in any room in your home. Pick out a few low-maintenance plants that will thrive in your office environment. Succulents are usually a safe choice, as well as classics such as snake or rubber plants.
Are you a habitual flower buyer? Pluck a few from the dining room table bouquet and add them to a vase on or near your desk.
Sweatpants are the official apparel of working from home, right? But getting comfortable is more than just clothes and desk chairs. If your office space is large enough, you may consider adding a reading chair or daybed for taking calls or taking breaks.
If you expect to have visitors in your office, designate some space for them as well. Will you opt for a more informal setup, as described above, or stick with simple chairs facing your desk space? Either way, setting up your office to accommodate both you and anyone you invite into your office requires thought as to how you’ll use the space.
Make it yours
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that your home office should be without personal touches. Photographs of your family, inspiring quotes or artwork, and meaningful knick knacks can make your office feel more approachable and your own.
Do you have a home office already set up? What is your favorite aspect of it? Is there anything you may change up after reading this? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below!