Work-from-home is here to stay for many of us. Thanks to Zoom, Slack, and two years of proving it’s doable, more employees are spending time working from their sofa/kitchen/home office than ever before. If you haven’t already carved out a more permanent workspace, now is a great time to think more long-term about how a home office can help boost your productivity. When your office is just steps from your bedroom or living room, it can be difficult to find that healthy separation between work and home life. Fortunately, a few design improvements can make all the difference. Check out a handful of our best tips for creating a WFH space that keeps you motivated and engaged.
1. Work with What You’ve Got
Sure, you might love the idea of renovating your unused guest room as a home office with built-in bookshelves and a stately desk… but that also might not be realistic at the moment. The good news is that you can still create a cozy, constructive space without a major investment or even much effort. To start, identify the room that you plan to transform into your WFH haven. That might be a secondary bedroom, a finished basement, or even a corner spot at the kitchen table. Creating a home office doesn’t require an empty room, but you do need a designated location that tells your brain “I’m in work mode now.” Once you’ve identified that place, it’s time to make it work for you.
2. Balance Ergonomics and Aesthetics
We’d all love a Pinterest-worthy office that will make your interior designer friends swoon. But, practically speaking, it’s just as important to prioritize comfort – especially when it comes to your productivity. That might mean you trade in the attractive (but unsupportive) suede swivel chair for an ergonomic chair (like this one) that’s much better for your back, shoulders, and neck. If you have the space for a true home office, you might also consider an adjustable standing desk. Good design isn’t just about looking pretty – it’s about function, practicality, and comfort, too. So, don’t eschew ergonomic furniture as you’re thinking about your home office setup.
3. Layer Your Lighting
As with everything in design, thoughtful lighting is crucial. Ideally, you’ll be able to place your desk in an area with plenty of natural light. If you can, position your desk perpendicular to a window – it’ll help reduce screen glare and make your workspace feel more expansive. If you don’t get a ton of natural light in your home, adding a mirror can help amplify the sunlight you do have. Layered lighting – or the use of multiple types of lighting sources – is an excellent way to give the space depth and flexibility throughout the day. Your overhead ceiling lights will provide general (or ambient) lighting, but we also recommend adding task lighting like a desk or floor lamp. Task lights will provide more focused lighting for specific activities and will help alleviate eye strain.
4. Be Smart with Storage
Storage is one of the trickiest pieces of the work-from-home puzzle, but it’s also super important to maintaining your sanity and productivity. Reducing visual clutter will help your mind stay centered on the task at hand. When possible, opt for closed storage solutions that tuck away the things you aren’t using – think woven baskets, bins with lids, and opaque drawers. A desktop paper organizer is also key to ensuring your work space doesn’t become an overwhelming pile of files. We also always try to stash cords, wifi routers, and other messy tech extras. You may not have the luxury of built-in cabinetry to hide your cords, but even a simple cable box or organizer can help keep things tidy. The more streamlined your space, the better you’ll be able to focus.
5. Get Inspired!
Don’t forget to make your WFH spot feel like you. Yes, function is a top priority, especially in small spaces, but be sure to include a little of your own personality… you’ll be spending a lot of time here, after all. There’s no need to load up your home office with knickknacks (in fact, please don’t!) but choosing a few special items to display will help you feel comfortable, inspired, and even more efficient. Travel mementos, a low-maintenance plant, soothing candles, or a plush rug with a pop of color should do the trick.