Creating a home sweet home office
Has working remotely become part of your new reality?
“While some are beginning to return to the formal office, many of us continue to work from home,” says Shanna Martin, principal and registered interior designer at Hatch Interior Design.
Designing an effective home workspace that’s comfortable and allows you to be productive can help you succeed. Use these tips to achieve the right set-up for you. Your health and well-being will thank you.
Choose the right space
Are you easily distracted when working at home? Martin says a number of day-to-day tasks—like dirty dishes, laundry and homeschooling—can take over your focus. Whether you live in a big or small space, start by designating an area specifically for business. “Knowing that you’re ‘going to work’ when you enter the space helps get you in the right mindset,” says Martin.
Effective lighting in your space is also essential. Try for a combination of ambient lighting that illuminates the entire room, and task lighting for reading and working at your desk. If possible, set yourself up near a window. Natural light does wonders for your mood and can even increase productivity.
Make it personal
Adding personal touches and elements to your workspace can make you happy and reduce stress. You can replicate your at-work office or create an entirely new feel with art, family photos, furniture and accessories.
Martin also mentions that many studies point to the benefits of biophilia—the practice of incorporating nature and natural elements into your environment. “Something as simple as adding a plant or two to your desk can help ground you, connect you to nature and improve air quality,” she says.
Keep it organized
“Working in a cluttered space is never good for productivity,” says Martin. Try using these organizational tips to give you the same ready-to-go spirit you have at the office.
- Stock up on supplies—Having supplies on hand will help organize the way you work and keep your desk tidy. Your stock of essential supplies can include anything from pens and notepads, to scissors and file folders.
- Bring in shelving—Available in a variety of sizes, shelves can be quick and easy to assemble. Use them to stash things if you don’t have a closet or drawers.
- File it away—Although it might feel a bit old-school, a file for your desk is an easy way to hide all of those papers lingering around your space.
Have a seat
Sitting hunched over your kitchen counter or coffee table can be a literal pain. A proper office chair is better for your body and overall health. Martin says that considering ergonomics is critical, and that proper task chairs can ensure you’re set up at the correct angles with proper support.
Here are some things to look for in a good work chair:
- Seat height—A seat height that ranges from about 16 to 21 inches off the floor should allow you to sit with your feet flat on the floor.
- Seat width and depth—You should be able to sit with your back against the backrest with about 2 to 4 inches between the back of your knees and the seat of the chair.
- Backrest—The backrest of your chair should be 12 to 19 inches wide and able to support the natural curve of your spine.
Martin says that additional tools such as sit/stand desks, keyboard trays and adjustable monitors can also help ergonomically. If you can’t get your hands on some of these items, standing at your kitchen counter throughout the day may be a good alternative.
Plan, organize and decorate your home office space today—you'll enjoy it more, and it can save you aches and pains.