10 tips to help you create the perfect work from home space
Working from home has become increasingly common in recent years. And, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become the norm for many people.
Even in a post-pandemic world, it seems likely that home working is here to stay. Especially due to its widespread benefits for both employers and employees.
So, if you’re going to be working from home, whether full-time or part-time, you’re going to need to create your own workspace.
Here are 10 helpful tips for creating the perfect work from home space.
1) Set up a dedicated workspace
This is the first thing to consider. If you have enough space in your home, it’s a good idea to turn a room into a home office. This will help you to have a single space in which you work. So, when you enter the room in the morning, you will be in the right mindset to work. Then, at the end of the day, you can close the door and leave your work life behind it.
If you don’t have a spare room to turn into an office, you still need to have a dedicated workspace. Even if it means working at your kitchen table or setting up a desk in your bedroom. Working from bed or on the couch might seem like the dream. But it isn’t the ideal environment for productivity. Nor is it a healthy way to spend your time.
Of course, if you are having a down day and feel as though you can only work from bed, then this is one of the benefits of working from home. But, for the most part, it’s important to set out your workspace properly.
2) Be specific when buying furniture
Even if you are working from your kitchen table, it’s a good idea to find a comfortable and supportive chair. Sitting on a standard dining chair is not suitable for long periods of time. Definitely not for working 8+ hours a day, five days a week.
Try to find a supportive ergonomic chair. These chairs will provide your back with the support it needs throughout the day. Ergonomic chairs aren’t always the most stylish pieces of furniture. But your back will thank you in the long run.
A supportive chair is the most important piece of furniture to consider. But desks also need some considering. Most tables will be just okay for working short-term. But if you are working from home permanently or full-time, then you need a good quality desk.
To help support your back and shoulders, you need to find a desk that is of the correct height for your frame. One of the best options is an adjustable desk. These desks can also be used as standing desks. Which have been shown to help improve physical health and productivity. However, a balance is necessary. And constantly using a standing desk is not as healthy as some people claim.
3) Be realistic about tech
When working from home, the space you have available is going to have an impact on the computer set-up that you can have. If you have a dedicated home office, then you can set up multiple screens with a separate laptop, keyboard, and mouse.
If you are working from somewhere else, such as at a dining or kitchen table, this kind of set-up might not seem possible. So, if you need multiple screens, it’s important to find a compromise on your set-up.
Not everyone needs a huge amount of tech to do their job. So, if you’re struggling for space, it’s important to scale down as much as you can. This doesn’t mean getting rid of monitors or devices that will have an impact on your work. But it’s important to be realistic.
4) Add your own personal style
One of the best things about home working is being able to style your office or workspace. In a company-owned office, you will usually be working inside gray cubicles. Even in more creative and modern offices, few people will be pleased with the overall appearance.
This means that, when setting up your workspace, you can design and decorate it however you like. This can simply mean adding in some nice smelling candles. Or it can mean completely redecorating and experimenting with some interior design.
At home, you won’t have to worry about annoying anyone else with the smell of candles or use of twinkly lights and bright colors. But, if you are working at a kitchen table, you still need to be considerate of working in a communal space. (This is especially important if you have roommates…)
But, you can still buy a stylish chair and cushion. Or add in some nice stationary that you enjoy. These are small ways to make your workspace brighter and more enjoyable.
5) Don’t disregard comfort
This doesn’t just mean making sure your desk is at the right height. Or that your chair is supportive and ergonomic. (Although these are important!) Making your workspace comfortable can mean adding in a footrest or a cushion. These might seem overly luxurious. But they can help you feel more comfortable.
This comfort doesn’t need to mimic the relaxed feeling of working from bed or the couch. But it can help with stress or anxiety that you might feel at work. Depending on your working style, you might feel most productive when sat up straight.
But this isn’t helpful for everyone. It’s important to find a way of working that helps you feel less stressed and anxious. As these will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable in your role. Which should also make you feel more productive.
6) Make the most of natural light
Making sure that your workspace has enough lighting is very important. Especially if your job involves staring at a screen or reading for long periods of time. This can cause eyestrain and other problems.
Having lamps and other artificial lighting is useful. But natural lighting is much healthier. And it’s better for the environment (and your electricity bill). Plus, sitting in a light and airy space is just generally nicer.
Creating your workspace in an area that receives a good amount of natural light can also help with your general health. Working from home often means spending a lot more time in the house. You won’t be going outside for your commute. And it is much less likely that you will be going out to grab lunch (especially with your kitchen so nearby).
7) Sort through and organize old documents
Without the filing cabinets and storage space of a communal office, you suddenly become very aware of how much “stuff” you have. This can be a great opportunity to reduce how much paper you use. A lot of the work that usually requires paper can now be done digitally.
This will help to reduce your carbon footprint. And it is a lot cheaper than having to regularly buy paper and printer ink.
So, before you move all of your paper documents into your new workspace, sort through it. Work out exactly what you need (and be ruthless). Then work out how much storage space you’re going to need. This will help you have a much more organized work life. Which should make you calmer, more relaxed, and more productive.
8) Declutter and keep your space clear
As well as sorting through your paperwork, it’s a good idea to sort through your accessories. If you have somehow collected five staplers over the years, then it might be an idea to Marie Kondo your stuff.
It’s a good idea to do this before establishing your workspace. You very likely don’t need as much space as you think. And removing any clutter and unnecessary accessories can help you feel calmer in your workspace.
Some work accessories are, of course, essential. But some have just appeared over time. So, you probably don’t need that paperweight that you have used three times. Or all of those poor quality pens that you have collected from conferences over the years.
9) Add in a noticeboard or corkboard
If you have a written schedule or need to set yourself reminders, noticeboards and corkboards offer some space-saving help. They can be hung up on a wall. Or can lean against it on your desk (this is the best option if you rent and don’t want to damage the walls.)
Noticeboards can also be used as a way of displaying art, map out ideas, and display encouraging phrases. If you own your own home and have an office, you can even make one entire wall a corkboard.
Setting up your own workspace allows you to be as creative as possible. But sometimes it can be difficult to find out what kind of style and atmosphere works best for you. You might decorate your office in bright colors that make you happy. Only to find out later on that you actually find them really distracting.
A corkboard can help you add some personality without making any kind of permanent changes. There are loads of different corkboard and noticeboard ideas online.
10) Bring in some plants and flowers
As well as essential work accessories, adding in some flowers and plants can brighten up your workspace. These can be added whether you have a dedicated office or are working in your dining room.
Plants can have a great impact on your wellbeing. This can be plants that can specifically help with allergies or other conditions. But plants can also help to reduce stress and boost your mood. They can also help you feel more connected to nature. Which is a positive for most people. Especially those working inside small city apartments.
Plants are a contemporary house accessory. And they do make a room look happier and brighter. They also add some color to otherwise muted spaces. But they are a great way of making you feel happier and healthier in your workspace as well.
If you don’t feel quite confident enough to become a plant parent yet, flowers are another option. They are slightly more expensive than plants. This is because you will have to buy them regularly. But they can add a pop of color and brighten up any room. They are even better if you buy some which smell nice. Plus, there is something relaxing and charming about picking up some flowers for yourself.
If you don’t like the idea of constantly replacing flowers (or if your hay fever just won’t allow for it), dried flowers are another option. They are super popular at the moment. And can have more subdued and muted colors.