Working from home can be inspiring. It provides freedom and can make your life easier as it gives you more time to get on with things. You may not have a designated office space in your home or apartment like a lot of people. You can sit on the couch with your laptop and spread your work files out on the dining room table, but that temporary workspace can interfere with your productivity and well-being.
Freeing up a designated workspace can be easier than you think. When planning your home office, there are a few things that should be essential considerations when deciding on a location and the overall design of your office. You might be thinking that it is just an office space, so why should I need to design it?
Studies show that the environment you are working indirectly affects the quality of your production. This also relates to how your environment feels, looks, and even smells. It doesn’t have to be a spare room. Office space can be in the corner of your living room, on a landing, or a space under the stairs. If you have to spend many hours a day in your office, make it a space that helps you feel relaxed and glad to be there.
Look on Instagram or Pinterest, through design magazines or simply search on the internet for images of what inspires you. Once you have selected a space, you can set it up how you like it, depending on your budget. Paint can be bought relatively inexpensively and mixed up at DIY stores, and eBay, IKEA, Second Hand Stores or Auction Houses can be a good source for furniture.
Here are a few useful things I thought about when setting up my own home office.
If possible, locate your workspace near a source of natural light. Enjoying the light from a window or door can make a world of difference in how you feel after working for eight hours. Also, make sure you have adequate lighting for cloudy days or when the sun goes down to avoid eye strain.
Think about how noisy it is going to be. Set up your office where noise will not be a distraction for you or the people you need to speak to on the phone or the computer. If you like to play music whilst working, use a wireless speaker which makes it easy to have quiet, calming music playing while getting work done. Spotify and iTunes have dedicated playlists that work perfectly to create a calm, productive environment.
Make sure your office space is in a comfortable climate. Don’t locate your office in the frigid attic where numb hands and frozen feet will be a constant issue or where there are drafts. Likewise, you don’t want to be too hot when you’re trying to meet a deadline. If you can, choose a way to control the climate with a heater or a transparent window shade.
Colour and Feel
Design your work area so it matches your taste. This space should be a place that feels good to you so surround yourself with the things you like. I recently decorated my office using light paint, white furniture with bright accessories. Whatever your design tastes, make it part of your workspace. Pin up photographs, post-it notes, clippings from magazines or photographs. Anything that will be useful to you and motivate you to keep going.
With your office at home, you have control of what you smell so your office should smell good. I like to burn a scented candle in my workspace. You can also use essential oils to create a wonderful atmosphere depending on your mood. The scent of lemon is calming and promotes clear thinking. Lavender reduces stress. Peppermint helps with brainstorming and gives a boost of energy.
Consider whether you want your furniture to match the rest of your home. Make sure the desk is the right height for you, and the chair is the right height to fit under the desk comfortably. Buy one that can go up or down if you can, or choose wheels so you can push it out of the way and stand for a while. If you are going to be sitting for long periods you need a good comfortable chair. Look around and ideally try it out before you buy.
It’s All Yours
Make it a visually appealing space for you. I have a picture of a beach in Hawaii for my next dream holiday that motivates me, plus a photo of our dog Henry to make me smile.
Make sure you don’t have too many items on the desk or clutter it to the point you are crammed into a corner when writing. If you have lots of items around you, tuck some of them on shelves or pack away for now, and plan to rotate each month for a new look and feel.