Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, countless organizations have transitioned to working from home, and employees have had to establish a work-from-home routine. But for the typical office worker, it can be especially difficult to be productive at home with so many distractions.
Creating a work environment at home is essential for maximum focus and productivity, and the best way to do that is by setting up a home office.
Whether for an already existing job or a new business startup, a dedicated home office space can help you build a work-life balance.
Here’s everything you need to know about setting up your home office.
1. Determine What You Need
The first step to getting what you want is knowing what you want. The requirements of your home office are going to depend on the kind of work you do. For instance, if you’re an artist or a graphic designer, you’ll likely need a larger workspace for your drawings and artwork.
Similarly, additional space for cabinets is necessary if your job requires a lot of paperwork and filing. Or you might need an in-home studio if you’re a music artist or photographer, but that’s a whole different story altogether.
To avoid wasting time and feeling regret because of buying the wrong equipment, grab a pencil and some paper, and create a detailed list of the needs for your home office.
2. Pick a Dedicated Space
Your home office doesn’t need to be large enough to hold a conference room table. Ideally, it should be in a cozy and somewhat secluded part of your home where you can have privacy. But not everyone has a spare room lying around.
Some people use a guest bedroom or an empty basement to build their office. However, many people just don’t have that kind of free space. In that case, thinking creatively is key. If you have a big enough lawn, a make-shift shed could suffice until you figure something out.
3. Consider the Lighting
Working near a window with exposure to fresh air has been shown to impact mental and physical well-being. In addition to a constant breeze of air, a window brings in warm, natural light, which enables you to be energetic and do your best work.
If natural lighting isn’t possible, then it’s important to invest in the right desk lamps. Overhead lights aren’t ideal since they create annoying glares on your screen; lamps can shine light wherever you want.
Regardless of whichever lighting you choose, remember that poor lighting can cause eye strains and ultimately give you headaches.
4. Prioritize Comfortability
Many people neglect their body health when working at home. If you experience headaches and back pain regularly, then it’s time for an improvement to your setup. It is important to ensure your back, neck, and eyes are at their most comfortability.
The industry standard for a work desk is around 29 inches, but if your height is taller or shorter than average, you might need to experiment with it or just get an adjustable desk.
For the perfect monitor height, make sure your screen lines up with your eyes when sitting completely straight and looking forward.
5. Set Your Distractions Aside
It’s easy to lose the motivation to work when you don’t have your supervisor or boss breathing down your neck at all times.
This is especially true if you’re prone to overusing your smartphone. Checking your phone every time it chirps or vibrates will waste valuable time. So, have a dedicated spot for your phone and other devices, away from your accessibility, when not in use.
Clutter can also be very distracting. It makes a small space feel even smaller and a bit chaotic. Buying a desk with built-in storage is ideal, but if your desk doesn’t have additional space, you can purchase attachments or bins to organize materials.
6. Separate Personal and Professional Life
Many self-employed and remotely working employees have trouble separating their personal life and spending time with their families from their professional work life. Setting up a business bank account and having a work-only smartphone is a great start.
Completely segmenting your business from your personal life will help with taxes too, since the IRS scrutinizes tax deductions related to home offices. The IRS defines a home office as the principal place of your business and that which is used exclusively for work.
7. Optimize the Office For Travel
If you tend to travel a lot for your work but still need an office setup to be able to work efficiently, then a portable-office build will do just the job.
There will be a need for modified equipment, like a foldable monitor stand or table to fit in your luggage. A small bag of adapters, including a USB-C to USB 2.0 adapter, a video adapter, and a multi-country power adapter, can come in handy for any situation.