4 Tips for Setting Up a Productive Home Office

June 16, 2015

6:00 pm

If you work from home, you just owe it to yourself to establish a cozy and productive workspace. Carving out your home office will help you stay on task even when family and household issues threaten to impede your work. Here are 4 effective tips to create the perfect working environment for you!

1. Choose the right space

Work and play should be separated. Keep a boundary within your home where work begins and ends. Your workplace should be maintained as distinct from your other rooms as possible as this segregation has a psychological effect on how you divide work and leisure time. Once in a while, examine your office to see how much of your workspace has been infested with various distractions like game consoles, personal books, and other things that are clearly non-work related.

When you have just started working from home, most probably you have used the first obvious spare place like a guest bedroom or your basement. However, don’t treat your working space as a second-class accommodation – give it the real importance it deserves. Say if you rarely use the dining room or your kid could be moved to a room upstairs; set up your office at a more convenient area of your house.
After locating the ideal place, start furnishing it with the right pieces. Don’t neglect corners – L-shaped desks offer two work surfaces at the time and you can still have the printer or fax within arm’s reach.
It’s no longer news that sitting down all day can slowly kill you, so a stand desk could be another great option with a separate lounge area with sofa and low table to speak with clients.

2. You can never have too much storage space

Even when you work in tech, you can’t avoid having papers around. Nothing looks less productive and depressive as a cluttered work desk, though some research claims a messy desk can boost one’s creativity. Your clients and visitors won’t find the “creative mess” much appealing, however.
Invest in at least one four-shelf bookcase that can hold dozens of folders, books, and paper periodicals you still read. Add a few small fancy storage boxes (that could be easily DIY) to keep all the bits and bobs out of the open. A cardholder on your desk would also look professional and spare you time when you plan to ring up that potential client you meat last week.

3. Choose the right tools and support

Opt for a local IT provider to cover your tech needs, preferably someone within 40 miles reach. In this case, you’ll always have timely assistance while supporting the local economy. The same is true for your Internet provider – if something breaks, you won’t lose your income while your provider on the other end of the country is trying to figure out what has gone wrong in your area. Choose a local company and make sure they have reliable customer support before committing to a plan. To keep the network steady, consider installing hotspot software to manage and limit user access for your visitors, assistants and the rest of the family in case they are using the same network.

4. Lighting is crucial

Invest in additional light sources to make your workspace more inviting and avoid eye strains. Task lighting for your desk is essential, plus a colorful cheerful lamp could make your mood better when you start feeling lethargic during the winter months.
If you spend most of the time staring at your screen, f.lux should become your best friend. The program will automatically adjust your display colors and contrast depending on the time of the day to keep your eyes less stressed and help you wind down easier by eliminating the blue light of your screen in case you’ve stayed in front of your laptop till late.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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