Life in the 21st century has its perks. We are more connected than ever, can travel the world in record time, and bonus: it allows many of us to work from virtually anywhere—even if it just means staying at home to knock off tasks off the to do list, uninterrupted. If you’ve successfully convinced your boss to let you log more hours from home this year, you’ll want a killer workspace to match. After all, there's nothing more counterproductive than replying to emails from your bed or the sofa.
Do you have a small space to fit a desk or even a spare room that goes unused a little too often? Don’t let your home office become the dumping ground for all unwanted furniture and décor accessories. If you’re going to really use your home office this year, make it an inspiring and functional space. Whether you only have a small closet space in your rental apartment or an entire room to redecorate, you'll find some handy tips to get organized and boost productivity. Don’t let Labor Day pass you by without giving your home office décor a refresh—and hit the ground running come September.
Most of us are guilty as charged: Clutter accumulates throughout the year, be it unfiled paperwork, fabric samples, or dried-out pens. Before anything else, sweep your space clean, and start fresh. After getting rid of excess clutter, find an organizing system that works for you. Make sure that everything is accounted for like bills, important paperwork, magazines, and office supplies. Store each item in its appropriate bin, box, container, or tray.
Focus on the View
Courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts
There’s nothing more uninspiring than staring at a white wall all day. Is there room to rearrange the furniture for your desk to face a window? If there isn’t, consider artwork or even a mirror to hang above your desk and reflect the window behind you. Just make sure to hang it high enough so that you don’t end up staring at yourself all day long.
Make It Multipurpose
In many homes, the office sometimes doubles as a guest room, media room, or den. Setting up your desk across from the sofa or sofa bed will serve as double duty for TV watching. With that setup, you can either stream Netflix, host guests, or spend a day working from home. Your spare room will never go unused again.
Build It In
Not everyone has the luxury of having a full room dedicated to a home office. When dealing with a workspace in an open space, sometimes the best solution is to create a desk space within a built-in storage wall to keep clutter at bay. Another solution is to take over a small closet or cupboard space that you can hide away when not in use.
Float Your Desk
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Does your work involve a lot of client visits at home? Or maybe you like having your husband or kids pop in and chat while you work? If so, consider floating your desk in the middle of the room and adding in one or two guest chairs. This layout is much more sociable and open.
If you have the space, installing bookshelves behind your desk is possibly one of the most practical changes you can make in your home office. Think about it: A quick roll around and you have access to all your important files.
Double It Up
When creating an office space for both you and your significant other, creating continuity helps keep a sense of order in the space. Try to match desks, chairs, and lamps, and keep individual clutter tucked away. An extra-long table can easily fit two workspaces without taking up as much space as two bulky desks.
Check Your Lighting
“Turn on the light, or you’ll hurt your eyes,” said every mother in the world. We all know the importance of adequate lighting in a workspace. During the day, you’ll want your computer screen facing away from a window to avoid the daylight glare. At night, make sure you have a good task lamp so you can burn the midnight oil while keeping your eyesight in check.
Pay Attention to Ergonomics
There are a few guidelines to follow when it comes to posture and ergonomics—and that applies to your home office as much as your work desk. Your chair should provide adequate back support to allow you to keep your back and shoulders straight. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree bend and align with your hands on the keyboard (anything less can strain your wrists). Your eyes should level with the top third of the screen, and don’t forget to take occasional breaks.
If you work in a creative field (and if you’re working from home, chances are you do), you know the importance of finding inspiration on a daily basis. Surround yourself with objects and images that get your creative juices flowing.
We often favor our common living spaces when it comes to buying art: the entrance hall, the living room, and the dining room get priority treatment, often because that’s where the art will be seen the most. But if you’re going to start spending more time in your home office, make a point to start an art collection for your workspace. It’s the perfect room to experiment with edgier and more affordable art.
Do you work from home? Share your tried-and-trusted tricks for ultimate productivity with us.