How to Work From Home Effectively
In an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, many organizations are encouraging employees to work from home. Between using dining room tables as desks and bar stools as office chairs, we’re feeling the need for a designated, enjoyable workspace to help us stay productive and inspired. Here’s how to start working from home. Create the best home office for your mind, body, and productivity during the pandemic.
Match Your Desk to Your Work Habits
If you’re building your home office from scratch, start with the right desk. The size, shape, and features of your desk should be consistent with your workflow. If you tend to get restless while you work from home, consider a convertible standing desk that allows you to change position throughout the day to help you stay focused. The adjustable height is also helpful for keeping fatigue at bay. Don’t forget the standing mat; it can help to relieve any pressure put on your back and feet while you’re upright for long hours.
If you need sprawling workspace and ample storage, consider your home’s layout first. A sleek, lightweight desk will keep a small space from feeling cramped. That sense of spaciousness is important for productivity, which will make working from home a success. Mid-century modern or contemporary styles are a great place to start. A fold-down desk, like a wall-mount or built-in bookshelf, is also ideal if you’re short on square footage. Check out our Best Office Furniture for Small Spaces for more ideas.
Upgrade Your Office Chair for Productive Posture
Your home office chair is an investment. This is where you’ll be working during all of your off-site hours, so it should have an ergonomic frame or lumbar support for your posture. At the very least, avoid hunching over the kitchen island in a backless bar stool. Minimizing strain is key to good workflow.
While it’s necessary to feel comfortable, avoid working from home out of your recliner. Comfy cushions don’t foster practical work habits, so get a desk chair that helps your posture while keeping your attention focused. Check out our guide on How to Find Comfortable Inexpensive Office Chairs for details.
Don’t forget usage is an important consideration for working from home, so consider adjustable height and armless features. Look for a swivel chair or one with casters if you need to move back and forth between monitors or projects.
Layer Lighting to Stay Alert
Good lighting is energizing. Bad lighting is draining and makes you irritable. When you’re working from home during coronavirus, the amount and intensity of light is going to affect your output. For more visibility and less irritability, layer the lighting in your home office with different types of fixtures. Task lamps are useful for concentrating at your desk, while floor lamps illuminate a wider, softer ambiance.
Dimmable, multidirectional lighting will help balance the contrast, which is convenient for backlighting during videoconferencing. Warm, white LED lights are generally a good investment for brightness that’s strong, but not uncomfortable.
Pick Window Treatments to Adapt Natural Light
Controlling natural light can help you stay on track while working from home. By choosing the right window treatments, you can both prevent eyestrain from harsh lighting and regulate the temperature of your space. Depending on which direction the room faces, your window treatment needs will differ.
South-facing windows in the Northern hemisphere get the most direct sunlight, so a combination system will suit your home work environment best. Choose an energy efficient shade with light filtering qualities for harsh mid-day rays. Then add a sheer curtain for morning and evening sun so you can adjust throughout the day. For West- and East-facing windows, either shades or blinds will all help you reduce glare. And for North-facing windows with their naturally soft light, go for a curtain that looks great when open — you’ll rarely need to adjust it.
Create Space With Wall Mirrors
When your home office has a small footprint, it’s easy for your work area to feel cramped and overcrowded. The feeling of messiness can lead your attention astray throughout the day. For small home offices, creating the illusion of space can enhance your ability to stay on task. Place several small mirrors on the wall opposing a window to scatter light throughout your workspace. On the other hand, a single large mirror on any wall can double the perceived area. However, be discerning when placing a mirror on the wall in front of your desk. Because the stress of looking appropriate on video conferencing can cause distractions and reduce your productivity, you’ll want to avoid the same effect of seeing your reflection from your desk chair.
Stay Energized With Colorful Wallpaper
Bare walls can be a bore, and an uninspired work space can lead to uninspiring work. Peel and stick wallpaper is both cost effective and easy to apply at home. It works wonders as an accent wall, so there’s no need to paper the entire room. Because busy patterns can result in visual tension, fewer colors and simple imagery are your best bet. Likewise, look for bigger details rather than small ones to avoid unnecessary strain on the eye. With so many available patterns, you can narrow your options by color. Pick a soothing cool tone as a background with warm, energizing elements to make your office more conducive to productivity.
Clear the Air With Soothing Indoor Plants
Invigorating your home office can keep you on task while you log hours remotely. Plant life brings calming greenery to your office space while increasing oxygen levels. With the additional oxygen in the air, you’ll notice improved concentration and creativity. That better air will also help combat mental fatigue. Plant stands lift larger indoor trees, such as fiddle leaf figs, off the floor so that they’re more visually prominent. Meanwhile, hanging planters allow the lush vegetation of philodendrons to cascade as living office wall decor. If you’re not much of a green thumb, artificial silk plants can still improve mental wellbeing. So once you set up your plants, take a moment to glance at your office greenhouse, then drop into a flow state with ease.
Put Up Nature Prints to Inspire Creativity
Humans innately seek connections with nature, so finding overlap between indoors and out can enhance your focus. If the landscape outside your window is more concrete than jungle, you can mimic natural elements inside with smart decor choices. Mounting a framed print or canvas art above your desk can provide a metaphorical window into natural spaces. Landscape scenes of rural meadows, pristine waters, and curated gardens are best for a sense of serenity. If you’re framing a photograph or print, pick a natural wood frame to remind you of the great outdoors. And for more ways to integrate the wild into your space, read Biophilic Design: How to Restore Nature to Your Home.
Decorate Mindfully With Personalized Decor
As we’re all waiting for news on coronavirus, we can start to feel in need of reassurance. Personal touches in your home office can help you to feel connected to the world — especially anything with an organic, natural texture. Artwork, framed photos, candles, plant life, and even a cute mousepad can all keep our at-home work environments from feeling too “sterile.” You can also bring in personality through your office supplies, whether it captures your favorite theme or color. These calming measures are just as important for productivity as they are for easing anxiety.
Keep Motivated With a Morale-Boosting Coffeemaker
Your laptop’s positioned, your cords are hidden, and your devices are all synched up. All that’s missing is a steady supply of caffeine. A compact coffee maker for the corner of your desk or an elaborate espresso machine for quick trips to the kitchen can help keep you from feeling rundown during all this uncertainty.
While you’re exploring appliances to establish new home office routines, consider a juicer. It makes meal prep quick, convenient, and will help to provide you with plenty of healthy nutrients. You’ll keep your work ethic high and your immune system in fighting condition.
Now that you’ve set up your home office to meet your needs, you can begin working remotely with enhanced calm and focus. Want to take your work space to the next level? Read our Home Office Layout Ideas for more office inspiration.
- Home Office Guides