More people are working remotely from a home office. In fact, roughly 59% of people are choosing to become teleworkers in 2022, according to Pew Research Center. Moreover, the majority of these workers admit they preferred this work style well before safety concerns regarding the pandemic were a factor.
There are a range of benefits when working from home. You no longer have to make long commutes to the office. Not only is this a matter of wasted time but also safety. Distracted drivers out on the road either looking at their phones or weaving through traffic are far less of a concern if you work from home. Workers also tend to report having a better work/life balance with a home office.
You also can work jobs from anywhere across the country and even around the world. Working remotely will open up more travel opportunities for those who have remote work options. Even those who solely work from their house can benefit. A 2021 survey conducted by Chicago Booth and Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology found that 40% of workers were more productive at home.
Making yourself a comfortable yet pro-work-place to work when at home is essential to staying productive. Trying to work in the same room where the family is eating or watching television can be distracting. A home office can provide you with the privacy you need to work without encroaching on any shared family space. Here are several ways to make a home office that’s perfect for you.
Often, people mix their daily home chores with their office work. If you can work anytime at home, you want to make sure to set aside time to do your job. Scheduling apps help set aside blocks of time to perform specific tasks. For example, you can set a time for meetings with clients and coworkers. Then you can also schedule time for intensive productive work at the desk while still being on time to pick up the kids from school.
Scheduling apps come in a range of interactive designs. Most consist of a calendar that allows for events to be scheduled at specific times and days. They also come in a range of prices. Some are free, while others require a monthly subscription cost. In addition, there are plans based on the number of users for the app, allowing people to access more features and functions.
If you are uncomfortable, you’ll constantly shift around the desk and chair, and you’ll become distracted more easily. Also, just relaxing on the couch or using a stiff kitchen chair can cause poor posture and back pain. Investing in ergonomic furniture allows you to relieve back pain and maintain good posture. Then you can sit in comfort for those long hours while maintaining your productivity.
Depending on the size of your home office, you may want to get a professional office chair for your desk. Then get several chairs or a sofa set in the office if you will be meeting clients. If space is limited, but you still want options for movement, an adjustable desk is highly recommended. Of course, sitting or standing all day has downsides, but that can mostly be avoided by switching between the two positions. You can even integrate reminders on your scheduling app to change your position every hour or two.
If your work setup is stationary, ensure that it’s spaced correctly in the area. You want plenty of room for your feet and legs. So don’t sit right in front of desk drawers or shelves. Try to adjust your desk if it sits too low and crowds your legs. Lower the desk if it causes you to lean your head back to look comfortably at the monitor or you struggle to type on a keyboard.
Office lighting can do amazing things to help increase your productivity. Whether you are using natural lighting or artificial lighting, it can help boost your mood. However, poor lighting can easily lead to eye strain. Having poor lighting also may lessen your energy levels and cause headaches or even depression.
When considering the type of lighting in your home office, consider how much natural lighting is present in the room. Next, rearrange the furniture to take advantage of any available natural lighting. Then invest in artificial lighting to complement the natural lighting in the space and brighten up the dark areas.
You want lights that won’t create glare on your computer screen. First, consider using lampshades to diffuse bright ambient light sources. Then use task lighting to brighten specific areas on your desk when performing work.
The digital revolution has created a wide range of technology that can be used in the home office. The types of technologies you invest in will be based on how you work at home. For example, smart TVs can allow you to have the flexibility to work in multiple rooms in comfort. You can easily pull up browsers on your TVs and use them as computer monitors. The larger viewing size can make virtual meetings with coworkers and clients much more comfortable than a laptop screen.
If you have kids at home or it’s just too noisy, smart earbuds can help. These noise-canceling buds can block out surrounding noise. They also augment sound from phone calls and other Bluetooth devices.
If you have a lot of devices plugged in and want to save energy, smart plugs allow you to control any device remotely. Whether it is a printer or dehumidifier, you can turn the plug on and off to save energy.
The appliance doesn’t even need to have an Internet connection. Instead, you access the plug through your smartphone. This device helps you keep energy costs low by not having the appliances turned on all day. Of course, you may want to control all your smart devices from an isolated location. Smart speakers act as personal assistants, can make phone calls, and access other devices.
Improve air quality
If you have poor ventilation or share the home with pets or smokers, you may be dealing with poor air quality. You may also have a problem with dust mites, mold, or inadequate humidity. When these problems persist, you can struggle to concentrate on work. As a result, you may constantly feel under the weather, tired, or ill. Improving the air quality throughout the home, specifically in the office, can help you feel better and boost your productivity.
To improve the air quality, ensure that no office furniture is blocking air vents and returns. By removing these obstacles, the air can move through the system and get refreshed.
Good maintenance can also make a difference. For example, get your furnace and air conditioner units serviced and checked every year to help improve air quality. Also, consider getting your ducts cleaned.
Another way to help improve the air quality in the home office directly is to invest in compact air purifiers. Many purifiers have smart technology built in to help pull out pollutants in the air. If you cannot afford a quality purifier, simply opening a window on a nice day can bring in a fresh breeze.
Make good room flow
Of all the tips provided above, perhaps the top aspect to consider is room flow. How you and clients move around the space can help make it a pleasing and productive environment.
If you are constantly getting up from the desk to retrieve paperwork, you may need to reorganize the space. In addition, you will waste more time and energy getting around other furniture to sit at the computer. This wasted time can impact deadlines and your overall satisfaction with your setup.
Before purchasing any equipment or furniture, measure out the space. Then use these measurements to figure out the sizes for desks, chairs, sofas, and office equipment. Always leave enough walking room in the home office, so it doesn’t feel crowded.
Don’t make your home office an afterthought
With more people switching to remote work, having the right place to complete job tasks is essential. Just throwing a laptop on an old dresser in the living room corner might work for a day or two. If you’re going to be working from home regularly, however, more thought is required. Make sure to equip the room with everything you need and any extras that will provide long-term productivity.
Make a detailed plan to improve the lighting and air quality and design the space with comfort and efficiency in mind. A better layout in your room will ensure an area where you can function and genuinely thrive when working from home.
This article originally appeared on calendar.com.