These days, more people than ever are working from home. This societal change won’t be going away any time soon. While working at home has its advantages, a home is certainly a very different environment than an office. Offices are specifically designed for productivity — your home, not so much. This fact is why setting up your home workspace the right way is so crucial. Here are four elements every good home office needs.
A dedicated space. Trying to work from your kitchen table or living room sofa just won’t work. The problem is that your brain naturally associates a place and the activities normally completed there. Being productive in a room where you also relax is extremely difficult, and will certainly ruin work-life balance. What you need is an area set aside solely for your job. Work only in your office, and don’t complete non-job related tasks there.
Quiet. Noise is inimical to concentration and productivity. Unfortunately, a home is not necessarily a quiet place — especially if you have children. There are solutions. If at all possible, do your work in a room with a closed door. At the very least, avoid high-traffic spots. Try to encourage your children (or roommates) to be relatively quiet during working hours. If necessary, shut out noise with noise-canceling headphones or white noise.
Good lighting. While working in a dim room may be technically feasible, it won’t be conducive to steady focus. You need a pleasant ambiance to be at your best. Natural lighting is the ideal (a view out the window can be fantastic). Failing that, make sure you at least have bright lamps that light up your entire workspace.
An ergonomic seating arrangement. You’ll be spending a lot of time in your home office. Over long hours of labor, poor posture will cause pain, which will in turn increase stress and destroy your productivity. You must get a quality office chair that provides lower back support. Sit upright, with your feet resting on the floor. Arrange your desk and computer such that your arms are bent at a 90° angle while typing and your eyes are level with your monitor.
The way your home office is set up will make more of a difference than you might think. Even an improvement in productivity that makes only a small change on a daily basis will have a large impact over a long period of time. You’ll also be happier and less stressed if you have a great home office. The bottom line: you must get your home office right.