Have you decided to start working at home? Maybe you’ve taken a job that allows telecommuting, or you’ve taken the plunge and started your own business. Whether you work for yourself or somebody else, you’ll need to set up a workspace that maximizes your comfort and productivity.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Get clear on what you will be doing in your office
Make a list of the day-to-day tasks you will be doing in your office. This will help you choose the best layout and furniture for your needs. For instance, if you will be meeting clients in your office, you will probably need at least two chairs and a small table along with your desk.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How many power sockets do I need, and how should I arrange my furniture to accommodate my needs?
- Will I be holding meetings, either in person or online?
- Will I need a lot of storage space?
- Will I need multiple work surfaces?
Choose a layout that will let you benefit from natural light
Research has shown that exposure to natural light boosts employees’ mood and helps keep them productive. Set up your desk and chair next to a window. If the sun gets in your eyes late in the afternoon, invest in some adjustable blinds that let you control how much light you let in.
If your office does not get much natural light, consider buying a lamp designed to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Just 15-30 minutes of exposure can give you an energy boost. This is a much healthier solution to mid-afternoon slumps than caffeine or sugar.
Create an ideas wall
Even if you don’t work in a stereotypically creative profession, it’s a good idea to set aside a space for brainstorming your latest ideas. You could hang a large board in your office and pin up notes, or even install a huge wipe clean surface. Just remember to take a photo of your ideas before wiping them away!
If you dislike the appearance of whiteboards, why not use chalkboard paint to create your ideas wall? You can use special chalkboard markers to record your thoughts – no chalk dust to clean up!
Try a standing desk
The debate between the merits of sitting versus standing desks isn’t settled, but there is some evidence that working at a standing desk can enhance your physical and mental health.
Other reported benefits include:
- Increased energy
- Lower risk of obesity
- Lower blood sugar levels and risk of diabetes
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Enhanced productivity
- Reduced back pain
- Enhanced mood
For the best of both worlds, you could try an adjustable model that allows you to alternate between seated and standing positions throughout the day.
Bear in mind that standing up for long periods of time can cause foot and lower leg pain, particularly if you are accustomed to sitting down. Use an anti-fatigue mat and wear supportive shoes. You can gradually build up to standing for longer periods.
Embrace color psychology
It’s a well-established fact that color has an effect mood, creativity, and productivity. The right color for your office and accessories will depend partly on your personal preferences, but here are a few general guidelines:
- Blue inspires a sense of calm and focus.
- Yellow inspires feelings of positivity and ambition.
- Green is relaxing and helps combat fatigue.
Avoid using white, beige, and grey. Research suggests that these colors drain energy and can even trigger sadness. Consider not only the colors you use for your office walls, but the color of your accessories. It may seem trivial, but even the color of your folders and pens can have an effect on your mood.
Remember, these are only general principles. The best setup is one that works for you. Some people love a minimalist, well-organised office, whereas others seem to thrive in chaos. Trying various layouts can be a lot of fun, so give yourself the opportunity to experiment. When you discover your perfect setup, you can look forward to many happy, productive days working at home.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. She does her voodoo regularly on the Pick Writers blog and occasionally contributes to other educational platforms. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors.