Setting Up a Home Office: What to Do and What Mistakes to Avoid
You need to have an office where you can focus
Working from home offers numerous advantages. You save on commuting time, enjoy greater independence, have a more flexible schedule, and can strike a better work-life balance. However, to work comfortably at home, you need to have an office where you can focus and perform at your best. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to every last detail that’s part of the project.
The most common mistakes that affect the functionality of your office
1. Choosing just any space in your home. Not every space in your home is right for installing your office. If you are easily distracted, an office facing the street can cause you to lose concentration. A busy area of the home is also not the place to set up your office, as interruptions and noise will affect your workflow.
2. Not paying attention to the design. If you don’t plan out the design of the office, it’ll be more difficult for you to take advantage of the space you have available. The end result is likely to be chaotic, not functional, or it won’t adequately meet your needs.
Help you to be more creative and productive
3. Not having different work areas. If you’re going to be spending a lot of hours in the office, being chained to your desk will end up draining you. Designing different areas, even if they are small, will help you to be more creative and productive while working.
4. Recycling what you already have at home. If you want to take advantage of the furniture you have at home, you’ll probably end up using an uncomfortable chair, a desk that’s too low or ineffective shelves. Not having the right office furniture will end up taking its toll on your health and will decrease your productivity.
5. Cluttering the space. Less is more. Setting up bulky furniture or having too many items on your desk will often leave you feeling overwhelmed and will affect your concentration and productivity.
How to design your ideal office
1. Clearly define your workspace
To work from home, the best thing is to have a separate room that can become your office. In that way, you can isolate yourself from the rest of the home and have the peace of mind you need to work. If possible, that room should be far away from areas with high traffic.
If you don’t have a separate room, you can consider placing panels or sliding doors to mark off the office area and reduce noise. This is a simple solution that doesn’t require any major remodelling and will allow you to establish visual and conceptual limits so that your work doesn’t end up taking over your entire home.
You should have plenty of natural light going into your office
2. Prioritise lighting
Natural light improves mood, promotes concentration and stimulates cognitive performance, as shown by a study done at the University of Illinois. This means that if you want to work better and be more productive, you should have plenty of natural light going into your office. If reflections on your computer screen bother you, then you can install translucent curtains.
If you can’t get any natural light, at least make sure you have good lighting to avoid eye strain. When choosing the type of light, you should choose a bluish tone, since it facilitates concentration and will help you maintain your level of alertness.
3. Choose an ergonomic desk and chair
If you’re going to be spending many hours in your office, you’d better opt for an ergonomic desk and chair. Your body will thank you. Don’t use just any table: it needs to be adjustable so that you can support your arms without causing tension in your shoulders, wide enough to place all the material you need to have on hand while you’re working, and its design must allow you to move around comfortably.
The chair is also an essential item when it comes to working in a posture that doesn’t hurt your back or shoulders. Choose an adjustable seat that you can adjust to the height of the desk, with a good backrest that allows you to relieve tension and that serves as a counterweight in the lower back area. Also make sure that it’s made of breathable fabric so that you’re comfortable in summer.
4. Don’t forget storage space
To set up a home office, it’s not enough to simply have a desk and chair. Little by little, the papers and work materials will start piling up. Filing cabinets and document organisers will become your allies in keeping the office tidy and your field of vision clear.
If you don’t have a lot of space, there are multifunctional pieces of furniture that can help you take advantage of every inch of your office. You can also hang shelves or wall units, depending on the storage space you need.
A balance between personal details and office materials
5. Give it a personal touch
An office doesn’t necessarily have to be a cold and impersonal space. If you add some of your personality, you’ll feel more comfortable in that space and you’ll be able to work better. You can place some plants for a more relaxed feel or hang some motivating wall art.
To avoid cluttering the space, the key is to find a balance between personal details and office materials. Sometimes it’s not about adding more, but choosing every detail very carefully. A desk lamp, curtains or a simple pencil holder that reflects your style and makes you feel good may suffice.
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