Working at home is not for everyone but when you’ve made that leap you can really appreciate the benefits. One of these is the freedom to design your home office to perfectly suit your needs, but you also have to ensure that work doesn’t creep into every other area (kitchen table, sofa in the sitting room etc.). A quiet environment can be very helpful when you have deadlines and when you have control over your surroundings, you can tailor everything from the kind of desk you want and where it’s positioned to the things that you put in there to boost your productivity.
Lifestyle Wardrobes WA, experts in home storage solutions in Perth, have gathered 10 tips to help you create a perfect functional space that is comfortable for you to work in.
- Choose a quiet space for your home office
If you can choose a room, try to have it away from the madding crowd, or at least the kid’s. If you only have a small space to work with, don’t pick somewhere that will have a lot of foot traffic throughout the day. Also, don’t have a television nearby as the urge to distract yourself may prove too difficult (although some daytime TV may bore you to tears). The best place is somewhere that you don’t have any distractions or noise, and also doesn’t disrupt anyone else; if you work in the kitchen and someone else has to prepare meals, this isn’t going to be a happy situation for either of you.
- Don’t mix business with pleasure
Rather like the last tip, even though we can now work on the go, try not to have your workplace littered with distractions. Put away your mobile phone, unless you’re expecting an important call (it helps to schedule calls, so that you can leave it on silent for the rest of the time). Remove any games consoles and turn off social media notifications on your tablet if you are using it for work.
If you’ve chosen a room with a view, make sure that it’s not too distracting. If you’re looking out on a city street, will the traffic going by cause a disturbance? Or, if you have a garden view, will the kid’s at play be too noisy for your work? Carefully consider what is best for you and arrange accordingly. Keep your boundaries as much as possible, don’t allow others into your personal workspace and when you’ve finished for the day, close the door on your office and enter into your home life. This differentiation makes a powerful difference psychologically.
- Are you seated comfortably?
It’s vital that you are seated comfortably as it matters a great deal to your productivity. Studies have shown that correct posture and good seating have a profound affect on our physical health. Amy Cuddy gave a famous Ted Talk on how posture affects our hormone levels so consider that if you aren’t really in the mood to do any work, is it something to do with your seat. You spend most of your time in that seat so invest in an ergonomic desk chair, for your back and your productivity.
- Declutter your desk
If you can’t see your desk, it will impede your progress at work. Try and keep your desk clear and certainly only have what you need on it. Piles of paper aren’t helpful. Spend 5 minutes in the evening clearing away the unnecessary so you can sit down to a clear desk to begin your day. Remove books, endless bits of paper and half drunk cups of coffee. Allowing yourself space to work gives you space to think too.
- Let in the light
The light you need to work is different to the lighting you may have at home. Do you have a ceiling light or a specific work lamp? Check that these are bright enough to work under (but not too bright). The best kind of light is natural light, so if you can, work near a window or in a room with a skylight so that you’re getting plenty of sunshine. Exposure to the sun will boost your mood and help you get tasks done. If you don’t get enough natural light, it may make you feel lethargic and lead to you feeling demotivated.
If you can only have artificial light, experiment with different tones and levels of brightness to see what works for you. You might even consider different light fixtures to make sure it’s most comfortable for you.
- Bring some outside in
With our lovely temperate climate here in Western Australia, it can be tempting to set up work in the garden however this is unlikely to prove productive in the long run, unless you have some covered outdoor space that can be enclosed in cooler months. An easy way to add some nature to your space is by adding plants. A burst of colour always provides some visual variety when your eyes need a break from the computer screen.
If you don’t trust yourself to keep exotic flora alive, then you could have some evergreen plants or a cactus to add some green to the workspace.
- What’s that scent?
Promote a soothing atmosphere in your home office by using candles, scented oils or plants. Room atomisers can keep the room smelling fresh and essential oils such as jasmine or something citrus-based will help you feel calm but energised. A pleasant smell provides a natural mood boost, which is great for keeping you in the mood for work. Opening a window and letting the fresh air in can also provide a re-set when you need to get yourself re-focused.
- Make it personal
Although it’s a work area, it’s important to have some mementos or things that make it personal, otherwise you may as well be back in the office of a big organization. The purpose of adding personal items is to help with your mood, so add things that make you happy – such as photos of your children or pets. A piece of art can set the tone nicely, so put a favoured piece hanging on the wall.
If you need to be creative for your work, it helps to have things that will encourage this so having a note or sketchpad set up can be helpful. If you have time, or are setting up your office from scratch, maybe you’d like to incorporate a whole scheme for your office, although keep in mind that anything too noisy might be distracting.
- Keep your work equipment updated
Up to date technology is vital for working from home. Make sure that all the items you use (PC/Laptop/printer etc) are in good condition and that you are installing regular updates. Conduct regular maintenance checks so that you don’t lose time from system crashes. Always keep your computer antivirus up to date. Keep everything backed up, as the stress of losing a days’ or weeks’ work is preventable.
If something needs upgrading, don’t try getting a fix that may only be temporary. Time is money when you work from home, so if your technology is letting you down, consider how you can get it easily fixed or invest in that upgrade. Remember that any problems that happen will also affect your mood and motivation so it pays to make your life easier.
- Ensure you have enough storage and enough overall space
Is business is booming and things are piling up in your office space, maybe it’s time to expand into more space. If you increase your physical space to accommodate your business as it grows, you’ll have more room to spread out in, and it will take longer for things to build up.
If you don’t have the option to expand, invest in some efficient storage space. Clutter is only going to make you less productive so make sure that you are getting the best possible use of the space around you by looking into creative storage options, or better yet, have some custom built for your needs by Lifestyle Wardrobes WA. The room may be full of shelves and cabinets but not having overflowing piles of documents will ease your mind. Ensure everything is labeled and spent some day daily filing everything away so that you have a clear desk in the morning. Don’t make it too complex though, as extra filing and sorting will cause you more stress than it’s worth.
It may take some time and experimentation to get your office just the way you like it, and you may have to throw out old furniture or technology to make way for the new, but it can be an enjoyable process to set up your home, and it will make your workflow a lot better when it’s all set up.
With a tranquil space full of your personality, work will be a breeze. For storage ideas to help you in your home office, check out Lifestyle Wardrobes WA by calling us today on 08 9303 9962.