Workplace of the Future: Get in on the Trend and Prepare Your Home Office for Maximum Productivity
You quit that soul-crushing 9-to-5 job and unshackled yourself from all the managers and corporate rules, so it’s time to have some fun at work, right?
Not so fast.
The prospects of working from home tend to set many people in the wrong direction as they believe that since they can plan and organize their own time, everything will be much easier.
But there are numerous productivity traps lurking from the comfort of our own homes, and before you know it, you’re dragging around in your PJs, slouching on your sofa, and binge-watching Stranger Things, because, hey, you’re working from home and these are some of the perks of being your own boss.
Needless to say, such a laid-back attitude won’t get you very far as your self-motivation and dedication will soon vanish without self-discipline
That’s why you need to suit up, boost your productivity, and rise to the challenge of being a freelancer or self-employed.
Having a properly set up, designed, and furnished home office plays an important role in all this, so here are some tips on how to get in on the trend and prepare it for maximum productivity.
Location, Location, Location
This is the No 1. rule in real estate and with good reason.
The same rule can be applied to picking the right location for your home office within your house or apartment.
If you simply set up a desk in your living room, you can’t expect that you’ll have your much-needed peace, as you can’t tell the members of your family to tiptoe around you and whisper while you’re trying to focus on your work.
All this means that you need to create a dedicated office space and minimize potential distractions brought on by your family, pets, TV, and everything else that will take away from your work.
If it’s possible, separate your home office physically, because that way you’ll prevent your work and its problems from bleeding into your personal life. Having a designated space to go to work is also an important factor that will put you in a productive mood.
A recent study has shown that home-based workers who follow the same office hours perform better and get more done, so it’s best to act as if you’re at a regular office.
So, if there’s no extra room in your house, you can take advantage of a folding screen or bookshelf as a divider.
Let There Be Light
As you’ll be spending 8+ hours in this room, it should be well lit and airy.
It’s best to have a lot of natural light, as the latest research suggests that workers who spend their time in daylit office environments reported an 84% drop in the symptoms of eyestrain and headaches.
So, placing your desk next to a big window would be a great idea as it will affect both your productivity as well as your mental health – natural light also boosts the levels of vitamin D in your body and makes you feel happier and more optimistic.
If the windows in your home office aren’t big enough, it’s worth investing in installing the bigger ones, but if that’s not possible, then you’ll have to pick the right artificial lighting.
A modern desk lamp with different color and brightness options will help you go easy on your eyes and keep you focused throughout your workday.
Add A Little Color
Choosing a color palette for your home office is an important step.
While picking some exciting colors might seem like a good idea at first, you’ll later on notice that they’re not the best choice for a working environment. The fact that they’re attractive and visually-stimulating usually turns out to be a distracting factor.
So, keep your sunny yellows and joyful oranges for other parts of your home.
This doesn’t mean that your home office has to be painted in a bland, boring color, but what you should do is stick to more calming parts of the spectrum.
Shades of blue, beige, white, or even pink can give an additional push to your productivity and make you feel comfortable while you’re working.
However, color psychologists (yes, this discipline exists!) would say that this is an oversimplified explanation.
According to them, different colors affect different parts of us – the long story short, blue stimulates the mind, red affects the body, yellow fires up the emotions, while green sets the balance between the body, mind, and emotions.
So, many industries favor blue as the most productive color, but if you work as a designer, then yellow might be just the right color for your office – atelier.
Make It Functional
No matter how small your office is, there are different ways to make it functional and well organized.
What’s important to establish is that the first thing to do when you’re doing your home office makeover is to get rid of all the clutter.
Not only is all that mess visually unappealing, but it can also get in the way of your productivity. Tons of paper, random pens, different knickknacks, or empty coffee cups reflect the fact that you’re busy, but they don’t contribute to your productivity. Quite the opposite.
That’s why your office needs to have plenty of built-in storage space. Custom-made cabinets, cupboards, or filing cabinets can help you organize your office and allow you to easily find every file.
While you’re remodeling and redecorating your home office, it’s a good idea to think about its safety, (particularly if it’s situated in the basement) which is why you should think about installing reliable fire ducts. This way you’ll make your work environment both safe and functional.
It’s OK to cut a few corners and save a couple of bucks while you’re setting up your home office, but don’t make these cuts when you’re purchasing your chair.
Don’t forget that you’ll be sitting on it long hours and if it’s uncomfortable your back will suffer. Go for an ergonomic office chair which will keep both your back and your head in the proper position. This is an investment both in your business and in your health.
Finally, if your work is sedentary, you might want to consider buying a height-adjustable standing desk which will help you reduce upper back and neck pain, prevent weight gain, and boost productivity.
However, no matter how useful it is, this fancy gadget is by no means a substitute for exercising, so bear that in mind.
As you can see, your home office has to be comfortable but not to the extent of making you want to take a nap while you’re working. If it is furnished and set it up adequately, you’ll be able to unleash your productivity and enjoy your work.
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin's work at PlainHelp.