Working full-time or part-time in the home requires much thought to create a working environment. Learn how to set up your home workspace here.
Imagine what it would feel like to roll out of your bed in the morning and take three steps to work? You could make your favorite coffee in your favorite mug and settle in with the best coworker ever (your dog).
For many workers, that dream is now a reality. In 2019, 70% of workers around the world worked from home at least one day per week, while 53% worked from home for at least half the week.
There’s just one problem — unless you have a dedicated workspace, your house is not set up like the office. And if you want to be productive in the comfort of your own home, it’s time to set yourself up for success. Here are a few essential tips to set up the perfect home workspace.
Make a List of Your Home Workspace Needs
Before you claim an unused corner or one side of the couch, you should get organized and make a list of what you need from a home workspace.
This is not a list of wants, but rather a list of critical needs. Start with the basics, such as:
- A computer
- A phone
- A printer
- A desk
- High-speed internet
- A paper shredder
- A surge protector
- A file cabinet
- An ergonomic chair
From there, you can branch out to include items specific to your business. This can also help clarify what you need from the essentials you’ve already listed.
If you’re a graphic artist, for example, you may need a larger desk to fit your artwork. If you’re a photographer, you may need specific photo editing software, an area to shoot, and dedicated storage space for your equipment. Programmers may need software in which to write their code.
Oh, and pets should always be on the list. They’re the best coworker on the planet, so make sure to include a few things to keep your favorite colleague happy, like a cushy bed, a water bowl, and some toys.
Select Your Dedicated Space
Based on your list of needs, you can turn a critical eye to your home and select a dedicated workspace based on those needs.
While it may be tempting to use the couch, you will benefit from a dedicated workspace, ideally one that’s separate from where you relax. This will help you physically and mentally separate work and relaxation, a separation that’s usually achieved by commuting to an office.
Ideally, your dedicated space should be quiet and private (or at least somewhat removed). This should be a space you go where the rest of the house (i.e. roommates, spouse, children, parents) know not to bother you.
A spare room with a door is a great candidate, especially if you’re frequently on the phone with clients. If you regularly meet with clients, try to choose a room near the front entrance of your house so that clients don’t have to walk through your home.
Use Pinterest Responsibly
Once you’ve chosen a space, you’re ready to equip it and decorate it. A word to the wise — use Pinterest responsibly.
Browsing for inspiration can help you create your dream workspace, but keep in mind that what looks good in a photo may not be functional for the workweek. A candy apple red wall, for example, photographs beautifully but is exhausting to stare at and may even make you angry.
In simple terms, too much stimulation is a distraction in its own right.
Instead, prioritize what you need and then adapt it to create a beautiful, functional office space. Your first stop should be cabling services and a desk big enough for your files, not artwork.
Add Personality and Comfort
That said, once you’ve found the right balance of form and function, don’t forget to add personality and comfort to your space.
The trick here is that you want to create an environment that’s stimulating without being distracting. Unlike an office, you have complete control of your home workspace, which means it’s easy to go overboard.
Instead, focus on small details and build out from there. For example, personalize thoughtfully with photos of your favorite people and places, but don’t forget to rotate your photos. Staring at the same photos means that you eventually stop processing them, which means they’re no longer stimulating.
Another good way to add comfort is by introducing greenery. According to NASA, plants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours. Plus, seeing plants and nature has been shown to make us feel calm.
Most studies focus on the following plants:
- Golden pothos
- Arrowhead vine
- Chinese evergreen
- Snake plants
- Peace lilies
If you have a notorious black thumb, start with a plant that’s nearly impossible to kill, like a yucca (it only gets watered once a week), a peace lily (it practically grows in a fish tank), or a jade plant (which goes dormant when unwatered and grows when it starts receiving water again).
Separate Personal from Professional
Last but not least, when setting up your workspace, make sure that you go the extra mile to separate personal from professional. This isn’t just a matter of choosing a dedicated space–it’s about controlling and separating the flow of work and personal.
For example, if you get work mail and personal mail sent to the same place, you can reduce confusion by storing it in separate places. Ideally, store all your work paperwork and correspondence in your office.
You should also maintain separate records and even separate bank accounts. Your home office should have its own phone line (or, in this day and age, you should have a dedicated work phone).
Plus, segmenting work and home will help you during tax season. The more you can prove that the office is separate from the rest of your home, the better chance you have of qualifying for the home office deduction.
Ready to Build the Perfect Home Workspace?
Your perfect home workspace is waiting to take shape. All you have to do is take the first step.
If you need more tips on making the most of home, work, and everything in between, make sure to check out our blog for more great posts.