We have some experience working in a home office environment here at Picket. One of our founders has spent over 15 years working remote, and in that time has developed some tips-and-tricks with creating an environment that’s comfortable, efficient, and keeps you focused on the work (and not the hundreds of potential distractions sometimes found at home during the day). We’ve recapped a few tips to get you started, or in some cases to see if you even have the right space in your home to make a functional workspace.
Over 40% of Americans are now full-time remote workers. When the Covid-19 pandemic was new, many people probably considered a short-term situation. While some businesses staff back to the office as soon as possible, work from home will likely remain the norm for some time to come.
Despite the benefits of remote jobs, it means that people who got by from their dining room table must now consider home office options.
If you’re considering setting up a home office, keep reading for nine tips to make it a success story.
1. Set a Budget
Before you jump into the process of buying stuff for your new home office space, set a budget. Setting a budget for the project serves the purpose of preventing frivolous or extravagant purchases. Instead of just ordering that expensive lamp, you’ll look for bargains.
It also helps you avoid reflexively buying things that may not fit into your space.
2. Space Selection
Space selection depends entirely on your home. For someone with an unused bedroom, that unused space makes the most sense. You can easily fit a desk, chair, and some basic storage into an average bedroom.
For someone living in a small apartment, it gets trickier. At a minimum, try to position your office space away from high traffic areas.
If you live in a small space and expect that you’ll work from home for the next few years, you might want to consider buying a house that offers more room.
3. Furniture Selection
The amount of space and money at your disposal will play a significant role in your furniture selection. One thing you should spend the money on is a good desk chair.
Any flat surface with proper support can hold up a computer. A piece of plywood sitting on two sawhorses can function perfectly well as a desk.
Your body will prove less forgiving about low-end or DIY alternatives to a desk chair. Look for a chair that offers most or all of the following:
- Lower back support
- Height adjustment
- Adjustable armrests
- Swivel feature
This combination of features lets you set the chair for long-term sitting comfort and minimal back and shoulder strain.
If you’re working with minimal space, consider a bookcase to maximize storage vertically.
4. Cord Management
Maintaining a functional office space at home means you’ll end up with a lot of cords in a small area. A laptop, printer, and basic desk lamp drops three cords in your immediate area. Add in charging cords for a couple of mobile devices and it gets crowded.
You don’t need anything fancy, but you should find a way to keep the cords neat and out of the way.
5. Lighting Update
If possible, bring as much natural light into your office space as possible. Natural light cuts down on common problems in office spaces, such as:
- Blurred vision
Natural light also boosts overall mental health. That improves productivity by reducing stress and minimizing anxiety.
If you can’t bring in more natural light, consider investing in full-spectrum light bulbs. These bulbs mimic sunlight and can offer similar benefits to natural light.
Privacy proves one of the biggest challenges of working from home, particularly with so many kids still at home. Working from a spare room with a door make privacy easier since you can shut the door.
If you don’t have a spare room, you must look for other options. A basic folding room divider can limit the visual noise in your environment. Hanging up a sheet or curtain will achieve similar results.
For a bit of noise reduction, look for passive noise-canceling headphones. Passive noise-canceling does a better job of reducing everyday noises like human voices.
7. Limit Clutter
Where flat surfaces exist, clutter will accumulate. It’s as true for desks as it is for tables and counters. In a space-starved office at home, though, you must do everything you can to limit clutter. You typically can’t afford the lost room.
The best strategy for maintaining a clutter-free space is for you to do a few minutes of organizing first thing every day. That way, you only deal with one day’s worth of clutter at a time, instead of weeks or months of clutter.
8. Personal Touches
The more impersonal an office space, the more taxing it becomes on the psyche. You shouldn’t go crazy with anything you don’t want colleagues seeing on a Zoom meeting, but add a few personal touches.
Put a picture of your family on the desk. Hang a painting you like on the wall nearby. These kinds of personal touches make the space feel like your office and not just an office.
9. Health Considerations
One benefit of working away from home is that it makes you get up and move around. You walk out to your car in the morning. You walk outside or down the street for a cup of coffee or lunch.
Most things that are not specific for your job require some level of movement. In your home, most things remain close at hand.
A standing desk can help offset some of this lost motion from working at home.
Keep an exercise mat in your office if you can afford the room. That way, you can take a short break and do a set of pushups or planks. If you’re motivated, you can use the mat for a quick yoga routine or some dedicated stretching.
Staying active while working remotely will pay dividends in your overall energy and health.
Building a Successful Home Office
A successful home office is the one that works for you. In general, though, a good home office provides a level of privacy, a dedicated space for a desk, and decent lighting.
Don’t forget about doing some things that keep you active. Use a standing desk or keep an exercise mat handy for basic stretches and exercise.
Worried that your Billings, Montana home just won’t support a remote working lifestyle long-term? Picket specializes in online home buying in the Billings area. Contact us today for more information or questions.
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