Working from home at least on a part-time basis, and, increasingly, as a preferred option for employers and employees alike, is something we are all starting to get used to. Although it may have felt odd at first to be on our own spaces without colleagues around us, studies have shown that this can be a lot more productive. Since technology has allowed us to stay in touch with everything and everyone, we need to via video calling or online management systems, it’s time to embrace home working and understand that it is the future.
Yet there are still issues with remote working and using our homes as our bases when it comes to our employees. The biggest one is the workspace itself. Whereas offices that can be found outside the home are set up specifically for that purpose, often by people who know what they are doing in this regard, our home offices are less perfect. Unfortunately, not having a comfortable space to work in will reduce our productivity and our happiness in our work which is why it pays to take time to get the room right before you settle down to work in it. Here are some things you need to think about.
Ergonomics are important when it comes to setting up the perfect home office. Although you can use any chair you want to and set it against any desk or table, you have to use, and although this will give you a workspace, it won’t give you a workspace you can use on a long term basis. Over time, a mismatched chair and table, particularly a chair that gives you no support, will cause you pain and you will be extremely uncomfortable and ultimately unable to work.
Although it might cost more, you should search for a desk and chair that have been made ergonomically. Ergonomics is a science, and it revolves around ensuring that furniture is made to fit the person using, keeping their necks, backs, hips, and legs in the correct position for the most comfort and least damage.
It is also important to have a rest area in your office if you can. Having a huge beanbag from SumoLounge is ideal as it will give you somewhere to relax when you need a quick break from the computer screen. Plus, since a beanbag is going to be completely different from your ergonomically designed chair, your mind will associate one place with work and another with rest, helping you to achieve more overall.
Natural light is something you are going to want to have in your office space. It is so important that it can even dictate exactly where your desk will go, and even if that means you should have the desk in the middle of the room rather than against a wall because the middle of the room gets more light, then this is the direction you should go in. You will lose space, but you will gain health and productivity, so it is worth considering.
Ideally, you will want a window or at least a skylight in your office so that you can enjoy natural light much more easily. Your eyes will feel less strained, you will be less prone to headaches, and you will also be able to enjoy the view when you need to take a break from the screen (although this can be distracting, it is also healthy). If you can’t use a room with a window due to how your home is laid out, then there are options for you including:
- Using mirrors
- Having white walls
- Using hidden lights (placed correctly, they will mimic the look of sunlight coming into the room)
If you don’t have real sunlight coming into your workspace, make sure you take frequent breaks and either go outside or go into a room that has windows, as this will help you refocus and feel more productive.
Something that many people forget about when they are creating their perfect home offices is storage, but it is something very important that shouldn’t be overlooked. Without enough storage, you will find that your once clean and tidy office space becomes cramped and cluttered, and when this happens you will feel less comfortable being there, and you will potentially rush through your work to get out of the room when you’re done.
Even if you have a small room, you should be able to find some storage solutions that work for you. Having a desk with built-in drawers is an excellent idea, and shelving can help enormously too. If there isn’t space for everything you need in that one room, would you be able to make use of other storage in your home? Perhaps there is a cabinet you can use in a different room that would be ideal for storing things you don’t need regularly?
For those who want to go the extra mile, some designers and architects will be happy to create storage solutions for you by cutting into walls or coming up with innovative ways to give you more space. This will, of course, cost a lot more than searching out a desk with storage or finding a stool that opens up, for example. Still, if you’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future and you want it to be perfect, it is certainly an idea to consider, and getting prices is a good start at least.
Keep It Quiet
To really get on with your work and not fall behind, your office space needs to be quiet so you can concentrate and work without distractions. Therefore, it shouldn’t be in a high traffic area of your homes, such as the kitchen or even a hallway. It certainly shouldn’t be in a living area that you share with other people, as they may want to use the room to watch TV or listen to music or even to hang out with their friends, and that means you won’t be able to work.
Try to find a room that is currently not used for anything else, such as a spare bedroom or a dining room that is only used on occasion. If this is not possible and you have some outside space, building a room in your yard can work, or you might think about converting your garage into somewhere great to work.