Remote working comes with plenty of advantages, all the way from the freedom to choose hours that suit your schedule, to the comfort of being able to work in your PJs. Of course, it can be tough the most out of your career when you don’t have the structure of a standard office environment. Transforming your home office into a space of productivity, efficiency and creativity requires some planning.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a top commercial designer to create a professional office space from scratch. All you need is space, the right equipment, and a positive mindset. Here are a handful of tips to get you started.
Choose a Dedicated Space for your Office
While it might be tempting to do all your work from the comfort of your sofa, it’s not the most productive way to launch your career. Trying to work from the living room, or your dining room table means that you’re constantly distracted by family members, pets, and even the temptation of your TV.
The best way to make sure that you focus exclusively on your work during your “office hours,” is to find a specific room you can claim. A converted garage or spare room should do the trick. A dedicated space will help to limit distractions, separate your work life from your home life, and give you a place to meet with clients too.
Figure Out What You Need
Once you’ve claimed your space, you can start converting it into the ultimate environment for productivity and professionalism. This means creating a list of all the tools you’re going to need to complete your tasks each day. For instance, you might need:
- A computer
- A desk phone
- A webcam for conferences
- A printer and copy machine
- A desk and chair
- File cabinets and storage solutions
- Fans and heaters
- A small fridge or coffee machine
Some of the items will be more critical than others. For instance, you can probably live without a mini fridge for a few months, but you won’t be able to last long without a desk and computer to work at. Remember to think about software you might need to invest in for that computer too, like word processing tools or accounting programs.
Follow the Rules of Ergonomics for Furniture
Your office furniture might not seem like a big deal at first – until you realize that you’re going to be using it for 8 to 10 hours every day. Invest in a desk and chair that feels comfortable, and make sure that you have a keyboard that’s going to stand the test of time too.
When you’re arranging your furniture, remember to follow the rules of ergonomics. That means that your computer screen needs to be at eye level, or a little below your line of vision. This should help to protect you from dry eyes and fatigue. Additionally, your keyboard needs to be positioned, so your forearms are parallel to the floor, with your wrists pointing down over. If your feet don’t rest firmly against the floor when you sit on your desk chair, invest in a footrest.
Read also: Most Useful Tips for Balancing Work and Home
Let There Be Light!
No-one wants to work in a dark and dingy office space. If possible, try to choose a room that allows for plenty of natural light to flow into your space throughout the day. This will provide a good foundation for a positive and proactive working space. If your office doesn’t let a lot of natural light in, make sure that you make up for that with artificial lighting that’s not going to make your eyes hurt.
Cool lighting, instead of bright yellowish bulbs should help you to maintain focus when you’re working. Additionally, regardless of the kind of light you use, remember to position your computer screen in a way that prevents or minimizes glare.
Separate the Personal and the Professional
As great as working from home can be, it’s sometimes difficult to prevent your personal life from spilling over into your business life. Unfortunately, if you can’t find a good work/life balance, then you might find yourself spending too much time stressing over work, and not enough time enjoying the other aspects of your life.
A good way to keep the personal and professional separate is to establish regular office hours. Though it’s important to give yourself some flexibility to account for appointments and other commitments, a typical schedule will help you stay focused, and remind you when you should be shutting off for the day. Setting office hours can also help to reduce the number of unannounced visits you get from friends and family.
Add Things to your Office That Make You Happy
Although it’s important to keep your work and personal lives separate, that doesn’t mean that your office should be a dreary place lacking all personality. Infuse aspects of yourself into your office, and make sure that you surround yourself with things that are going to keep you feeling positive. For some people that might mean hanging a piece of artwork on the wall or investing in some office plants.
Remember, even the right smell can help you to feel more positive and motivated throughout the day. That brings us back to the coffee machine we mentioned earlier. If the scent of freshly ground beans keeps you inspired – then invest. If you love the smell of fresh flowers, then make sure there’s always a vase sitting on top of your filing cabinet.
Just because you have your own space at home for work, doesn’t mean that you’re immune to distractions. Everything from a ringing doorbell, to the constant cries of a dog that needs walking, can push you off your game. Find out what distracts you as quickly as possible and look for ways to minimize those problems wherever you can. For instance, if you’re worried about an unhappy dog needing your attention, make sure that you take them for a walk before you start working.
If you constantly have to get up and travel to the kitchen for fresh bottles of water throughout the day, try having a mini-fridge full of fresh supplies ready in your office. Anything you can do to reduce distraction will help you to be more productive in the long-term.
Working from home can be a powerful way to boost productivity and get more out of your work/life balance. However, you need to make sure that you have the right strategy in place. Creating the perfect office space will give you the foundations you need for success.
Author bio: A creative mind committed to self-care and wellness, Raj Jana isn’t just a committed writer, he’s also the founder of his own company, JavaPresse. Raj’s company harvests delicious organic coffee, which he ships out to connoisseurs around the world. His experience as an entrepreneur means that Raj has plenty of useful insights to give to the average person and the business owner of tomorrow.