Many of us have had to adapt to working from home recently. While the idea of working in your PJs sounds like a dream, the reality is far from it if you don’t have the proper setup.
When working from home, it’s essential to simulate an office environment as much as you can. Don’t expect to get too much done if you perch yourself at the dining table. You’ll need a ‘proper’ workstation – desk, chair and all.
The question is, how can you fit all of that in while remaining productive if, like most people, you live in an apartment, flat, or other small space? Here are 5 great ideas for making the most of your space while working from home:
#1 Choose a dedicated space
It isn’t always easy to find the perfect location for your workspace, but every house has one.
If there’s a spare room going – perfect! Problem solved. If space is a bit tight, find an area of your home that you can convert to a workspace. The basement, a spare corner, the garage, a closet – nothing is off-limits with a bit of creativity.
Sometimes it just takes a little thinking outside the box. Or room, as the case may be! Small space expert Ahna Brownlee from Podlife suggests you “Commandeer a spare corner, the dining room table, or even a built-in closet. They make great impromptu office nooks!”
Working from home can become an issue if your job requires large pieces of equipment or you’re too distracted by what’s going on around you. If this sounds like you, consider investing in a standalone office, cabin, or shed.
Not everyone has the space – or finances – for a setup like this, but if you’re one of the lucky few then an external home office is a great way to separate personal and professional life. Especially if it looks like you’re going to be doing this long-term.
#2 Get comfortable
Comfort is an integral part of completing a full day’s work, but there’s a delicate balance between comfortable and too comfortable. When we say ‘get comfortable’, we don’t mean hop into bed with your laptop.
Your office furniture will make or break your workstation. Here are your essentials:
An ergonomic chair
It may be tempting to save money and settle for a dining chair, but the discomfort will affect both your productivity and your physical health. An ergonomic office chair is a long-term investment in your business and yourself. Here are the features to look out for in the perfect office chair:
- Height adjustable
- Lumbar support
- 360-degree swivel base
- Adjustable backrest
Your desk should enable you to stay productive throughout the day. While it can be hard on your body to sit all day, it can also be hard on your body to stand all day. To find a happy medium, choose an ergonomic, height-adjustable desk that can be used as both a standing desk and a sitting desk, allowing you to change your working style as you please.
#3 Get the essentials
The items required to do a job differs from person to person.
However, there are three key items essential to most (if not all) home office spaces:
Research the type of computer and pre-installed software that will best suit your specific needs. Keep your monitor at eye level to avoid neck strain and posture issues if you’re using a PC. While laptops are useful if you require mobility in your job, hooking them up to a monitor while working at your desk will ensure greater comfort and productivity.
Eye strain is a major contributor to headaches and fatigue. If your lighting causes you to squint or makes it difficult to read paper documents, it will affect your eye health. Incorporate natural light as much as possible or improve your workspace lighting to create a comfortable setting.
In today’s world, high-speed internet access is critical to an efficient working environment. If your location is too far from your internet router, use a WiFi extender to ensure a stable connection.
#4 Stay organized
An organized space is a productive space. A clutter-free environment helps you to think clearly and find what you need when you need it. Incorporate smart storage solutions to avoid mess and prevent important hard-copy documents from getting lost under piles of paper.
When space is tight, try these tips for optimum organization:
- Install wall-mounted shelving to utilize wall space
- Opt for a desk with in-built drawers
- Stow filing cabinets and safes under your desk
- Hang a cork board to keep loose notes off your desk
- Use a desktop organizer for stationery
- Keep cords out of the way with cord organizers
#5 Establish your working hours
It can be difficult to separate your personal and professional life when you work from home, which is why it’s important to establish your working hours from day one. While working from home offers greater flexibility, setting a work schedule will minimize distractions and help you stay focused.
Be sure to allow yourself breaks throughout the day to step away from your workspace and recharge. It’s easy to forget to take a break when there’s no one around to remind you, so be sure to set routine break times within your working hours.
A home office setup can make or break your productivity. Take the right steps to create a dedicated professional space and set yourself up for work-from-home success.