Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where you eat, sleep, play and, unfortunately for some, work. Whether you are working from home full-time, part-time or only on the weekends, creating a functional, comfortable workspace is critical. This can be a challenge for apartment dwellers, whose office space sometimes doubles as a living room, guest room or bedroom.
Whether you have a whole room or a corner kitchen space, here are some considerations to think about before establishing a home office.
- Room: Designate a corner or particular wall for functional work space in a room. Consider how you currently use the
room and possible distractions. Many people choose to have a desk in the living room or the bedroom, but often find it difficult to abstain from the normal behaviors in the space, like turning on the TV, tidying the room or relaxing for a bit while they are supposed to be working.
Placing a work space in rarely used room is the best way to work without distractions.
- Sound: Consider any outside noise in the workspace that might distract and annoy you, such as street traffic, neighbors and nearby appliances. If the area is too noisy, you might want to consider moving your work space to another wall, a different room or away from a window.
- Work Space: Find a desk and chair that fit your space, needs and tastes. Before purchasing anything, make a list of all the items you will likely need to work effectively beyond a desk, chair and computer, such as file cabinets, printer, fax, phone, folders and a range of small office accessories. Think about the organization and visibility of these items and consider whether you’ll need additional storage options. Another tip is to consider hanging shelves, organizers or a corkboard to save space. If you have a lot of electronics, don’t forget to also consider the placement, concealment and length of the cords when planning your work space.
- Lighting: Proper lighting is essential to a peaceful but productive work space. Older-style fluorescent bulbs aren’t the best choice for high-productivity work. If you are stuck with fluorescent light, complement it with a standing lamp and desk lamp to brighten the entire while also focusing light and your attention towards your work surface.
- Décor: If your “office” is actually part of a larger space, consider using a different color theme throughout the work space to designate the area. If you have a blank canvas to work with, choose colors that make you feel organized and efficient. It has been found that yellow is considered to be a stimulating color, orange encourages creativity and green provides a calming influence. If you want to have a pop of color but are not sure, try a colorful chair. The chair adds a bold statement to an office, without being visually distracting to you. You can also consider using colorful file folders, binders, pictures, rugs and wall art to bring colors into your office.
Work is hard, but creating a work space at home doesn’t have to be! The more thought you put into the work space, the more enjoyment and productivity you will get out of your home office.