The COVID-19 pandemic clearly changed how many businesses operated, and one of the most significant changes was the shift towards working at home. Home offices were nothing new at the time, but they became much more common when millions of workers suddenly could not be in their usual workspaces.
Many learned quickly that working from home wasn’t about sitting on a couch or at a kitchen table with a laptop. They needed dedicated office space, even if that space was still in their own homes.
Even though things have mostly gone back to normal in the business world, home offices are still very common. So, whether you’re still fairly new to telecommuting or you’ve been working from home for some time, you need to know how to set up a productive home office.
Here are some tips that will help.
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Have a Dedicated Office Space
When you first start working from home, it’s really easy to think that you can just sit at your kitchen table or your living room with a laptop while you work. That might be fine if you’re the type who can work through distractions, but you’ll be much happier and more productive if you have a dedicated workspace. Your home office should be kept separate from the rest of your home, both to keep you focused while you work and to maintain a work-life balance. It should only be used for work, too. As soon as you allow it to be used for anything else, it will lose its purpose, and your productivity will suffer as a result.
Invest in Quality Furniture
While you don’t need to go all-out and buy an expensive mahogany desk and leather office chairs, you do need quality furniture that will help you feel comfortable while you work. Any desk you have should allow you to sit and type comfortably without putting too much strain on your wrists, and you should have an office chair that will remain comfortable for extended periods of time. While you’re looking into office chairs, take some time to research chair mats for carpet floors so you can slide or roll your chair smoothly across your floor.
Rethink Your Lighting
Poor lighting can all but ruin any workspace, so you might want to rethink your own lighting in your workspace. If you have windows in your space, set up blinds or curtains that will let some sunlight in when you’re working during the day. If you don’t have natural light, use softer lighting that won’t seem too harsh while you work. Color-changing accent lights and string lights can also add to the atmosphere while still allowing you to clearly see what you are doing.
Make Sure That You Have the Proper Technology
Having the proper technology is more than just having an up-to-date laptop or desktop computer. You also need quality headphones that block out sound around you, a working printer, a good microphone, and anything else that you’ll need to properly do your job. Ideally, your home office should be set up like a commercial office. Your equipment doesn’t need to be state-of-the-art, but you should take some time to do your research and make sure that you have everything you need before you start working. The last thing you want is to find out that you don’t have the technology to complete an important work-related task at the last minute.
Consider Noise Levels
Noise can be a big stumbling block when you’re setting up a home office. If you have a full house with thin walls, it’s going to be hard to get anything done even if you have a dedicated workspace, so look into soundproofing your space if you can. If you’re the type of person who does well with some ambient noise or music, decide how loud you want those sounds to be. This is where a good set of headphones can come in handy, so be sure to do your research when you’re buying your office equipment.
While you’re the only one who knows what works best for your own home office, these tips should hopefully help you come up with a productive space. Keep them in mind as you create a space that will help you stay on task as you work from home.