Working productively from home is not necessarily easy. It’s a challenge to balance work and home life, so many people don’t get much done throughout their home office hours.
Updating the space for the home office is one of the most effective ways to tackle this problem. When you have an office that’s comfortable, well-decorated, efficient, and designed for productive work, you’ll do more quality work and find simpler balance.
Designing a home office is quite different from designing a commercial one. “While comfort is essential in any office, an office that is too casual may seriously impede the ability to get things done,” Jo Heinz, a Texas interior architecture and design specialist told Entrepreneur.
“You have to find a way to separate yourself from the rest of the goings-on in the home and to convey a sense of ‘off limits’ to all other normal and natural home sounds and interruptions.” If you can manage that balance, you might get more work done than you would in a commercial setting.
Here are some tips for creating a positive environment.
1. Get Comfortable
A cozy couch with too many pillows might be too comfortable, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on a hard chair with no embellishments. Select a chair that’s relaxing and supports your back. Wear comfortable clothing when you work, but do not wear pajamas.
Aesthetics can also improve the comfort level. Choose an aesthetically pleasing paint color and furniture so you’re not distracted by them.
2. Control the Temperature
Offices set between 72 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for working conditions. Set the thermostat to a comfortable range, and don’t sweat the extra expense of running the air conditioning or heat.
If the cost worries you, or your heating and cooling system has problems, proper maintenance of the unit will make it run more efficiently so you save money while working comfortably. Efficient window treatments can also control the room temperature better without consuming more electricity.
3. Add Personal Decorations
According to a paper published in PsycNET Journal, office spaces that lack personal embellishments are “the most toxic space” people can work in. Putting up pictures and decorating according to your style is conducive to improved productivity.
The study also showed that employees with plants in the office were 15 percent more productive. “What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk,” explained Dr. Chris Knight, lead author of the study.
“If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged, you are happier and you work better.”
4. Understand Ergonomics
“If work tasks and equipment do not include ergonomic principles in their design, workers may have exposure to undue physical stress, strain, and overexertion, including vibration, awkward postures, forceful exertions, repetitive motion, and heavy lifting,” according to a white paper from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA).
“Recognizing ergonomic risk factors in the workplace is an essential first step in correcting hazards and improving worker protection.”
Ergonomics in your home office begins with your furniture. Choose a chair that effectively supports your back and a desk set at an appropriate height for your neck and arms when you work at the computer.
Consider a sit/stand desk that can be adjusted to any height. Standing while you work is often better for your health and provides a much-needed break from a monotonous routine.
5. Stock with Necessary Equipment
If you’re constantly running to the store for ink cartridges and staples, it’s hard to get productive work completed. Rather than waiting until you run out, keep your supplies well stocked. Have an order point so that as soon as supplies reach a certain low level, you can order and have them delivered to your door.
Make sure you have all the office tools you need as well, from a quality scanner/copier to a file holder. You’ll be more organized and able to focus when everything is right where you need it.
6. Rethink Space
Evaluate the current setup of your home office. Maybe it’s time to move the furniture. A change such as this can serve as an excellent way to create a more productive and effective workspace.
Space planning also plays a vital role in efficiency. If you’re walking long distances between the copier and your desk when it could be within a few feet, move it closer. Think about the things you use most often and place them within reach of your desk.
7. Have Productive Distractions Handy
“You're going to need brain-breaks once in a while,” counsels Larry Kim of Inc.com. “Maybe it's a book, or a game app on your phone, or a favorite musical instrument — choose your weapon.”
Research shows that frequent, productive breaks are best for workers who seek more productivity. They prevent burnout and help you stay focused.
“Keep it close by so you can reward yourself with short breaks, but tuck it out of sight. You don’t want to be constantly tempted and find yourself staring longingly at it instead of working.”
Productivity in the office is within reach! You have more control over your motivations than you might think. Make some much-needed changes to your office and enjoy a more productive atmosphere.