Ready to ditch the cubicle for your own home office digs? If you haven’t already swapped your sensible work shoes for slippers, you may soon. Working from home is on the rise: Half of U.S. jobs are telecommute-friendly, and nearly a quarter of the workforce is already teleworking, notes Global Workplace Analytics.
Clocking work hours from the comfort of your own home (and perhaps while still in pajamas) does come with its own set of distractions, however — from the lure of binge-watching your favorite design shows to that pile of dishes in the sink. When you work from home, you have to stay on task, and your home office setup can make or break your productivity. Whether you’re self-employed or a part-time telecommuter, these home office design tips will keep you motivated and at peak performance.
Home offices come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a closet to a corner of a space or an entire spare room. No matter how much square footage you have, you need a dedicated workspace with an efficient layout. Design your office with the most important equipment at your fingertips so you don’t waste time walking over to access files, grab something off your printer or make a phone call. The more trouble you have to go through to do something, the less likely you are to do it — so keep accessibility in mind as you plan your space.
Today’s options for office furniture are seemingly endless, and you can customize your space to what works best for you. An ergonomically sound setup reduces your chances of a cramped back, and it involves a lot more than you think, according to Life Hacker. It should include a comfortable desk chair with arm rests, lumbar support, an adjustable seat height, a back rest and wheels (to reach files and snacks easily). You should also set your computer monitor at eye level to avoid eye strain and your desk height at the point where your elbows are at a 90-degree angle to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. You can even change things up by opting for a standing desk or adding a cozy spot within your office, such as a cushy sofa or an upholstered window seat.
Storage is an important part of your office’s functionality, and staying organized will help you get your job done well. To save space, you can DIY your own file cabinet desk using two small filing cabinets and a wood surface as a desktop. Built-in cabinets with doors and drawers, an artful bookcase and floating wall shelves are all stylish ways to keep clutter from overtaking your space.
Office workers often groan about workplace lighting, which usually involves unsightly fluorescent bulbs and not enough sunlight. Too much or too little light can impact your mood and productivity, so work it to your advantage in your personal office. Because natural light can boost your sense of well-being and efficiency, consider setting up your desk near a window, where you can bask in the sunlight while you work. The more, the merrier: Add general lighting in the form of a nearby floor lamp or a decorative pendant light fixture and a desk lamp to give you enough task lighting.
Need some room for brainstorming? An inspiration wall does just the trick. Along one wall, hang rows of clipboards, bulletin boards or whiteboards where you can post personal pictures, sticky notes and ideas to truly personalize your space. Or go for a total corkboard effect like this project on Domino by covering an entire wall with cork that also soundproofs your space — an especially helpful hack when kids are within earshot of your workspace.
Design your home workspace on your own terms and based on what works best for you. With some smart furniture choices and personal touches, your home office will maximize not only your productivity but your creativity, too.