These days home offices are increasingly popular. For those who don’t want to go out, as well as those small businesses that are simply run from the home. Whether you are new to telecommuting or you’ve been working from home for years, it takes a lot of discipline to stay on target and meet your ever-looming deadlines.
Though there are some things you can do in your home office space to help maximize your productivity. A lot of them are relatively inexpensive and easy to do.
Try To Keep Things Bright And Open
Many people feel that luxury is defined by light and space. It turns out that it’s also handy for keeping things organized and even keeping you alert throughout a long workday. Keeping your desk clear of random papers and notes is a great start.
Even something as simple as an In and Out bin for your mail and installing drawer dividers in your desk will help keep the things you need close at hand, while also keeping them out of the way.
Take a moment to think about the lighting. Working in a dark room might be nice for avoiding glare caused by the windows on your laptop screen, but it’s not necessarily good for your eyes. Yet you also don’t want your overhead lights blazing so bright that they too cause eye strain. If you find your eyes getting tired or you start to get a headache toward the end of the day, you might want to try lowering the wattage of the bulbs.
If you’ve been having glare issues from the windows or other external lights, you might want to try hanging a light, neutral color curtain. Ideally, you want one that will let a little natural light in, yet still doesn’t visually distract your monitor.
Set Up Your Desk And Chair For Proper Posture
A lot of people with a home office use a laptop computer. While it might be convenient for being able to take it with you, laptop computers tend to make you look down more than traditional desktop PC monitors. Try to configure your desk and the height of your chair so that you are staring at the screen at close to eye level. This can lead to strained muscles in the neck and shoulders. When you’re uncomfortable in your chair at the end of the day, the temptation to give in to your distraction is greater.
Also, take a moment to think about your chair. If you’ve been struggling to deal with neck, shoulder, or back pain, you might want to think about changing the chair or adjusting it for better ergonomics. Sometimes a simple portable lumbar cushion can make a world of difference.
Add Shelves As Needed
A cluttered desktop and desk drawers waste your time and cause endless frustration. By adding shelves to your home office space, you get an area to put up trade publications and reference materials. That picture of your family can leave the prime real estate of the desktop for a loftier position on a nearby shelf.
You don’t have to put a lot of construction into the process. Even if the idea of physically hanging shelves with drywall anchors puts you off, there are a lot of great modular standalone shelving systems out there. Most can be put together in less than an hour and even have the looks to spruce up your home office décor.
Include Creature Comforts
You want your home office to feel warm and inviting. When done right it might even become your secret hideaway from the rest of your home life. The last thing you want is for it to feel like a prison cell where they’re going to take your shoelaces away.
Including little creature comforts like family pictures, a favorite coffee mug, or a scented candle can help transform your home office into an inviting place that you want to be in. Adding plants and other creature comforts to give some organic appeal to your home office adds to the ambiance. This in turn makes you feel more at ease, and more likely to stay put and on task. Even if you weren’t born with a green thumb, there are a lot of artificial “Silk” plants that look amazingly real, yet require zero maintenance beyond a little seasonal dusting.
Add A Whiteboard Or Other Options To Help Stay On Task
These days a lot of people will use their phone’s calendar app, or some other digital option to keep track of things. The problem is you have to actively open and use it. When you have a whiteboard, chalkboard, or other visual systems to help track things you tend to stay on task and keep motivated. Being able to see the big picture of what you need to accomplish at a glance can be a driving force for productivity.
Even if you don’t have hard and fast deadlines for a specific project, it helps to give yourself one. People tend to stay on task and maximize their time when they feel like they’re racing the clock to get something done.
Unless you have a dedicated room for your home office, then chances are you’re improvising a lesser-used space in your home to get business done. Unfortunately, not every area in a home has the best heating and air conditioning. If you find you are too cold or too hot, you might want to consider adding a fan or perhaps an oil-filled radiator.
They can usually be placed under your desk to keep your legs warm. Cooler temperatures during the summer can even help keep you more alert, which helps you stay on task.
Music, White Noise Or Silence
When it comes to a professional workspace, some people love to have the radio playing softly in the background. Yet others want dead silence or at least some sort of background noise. If you do want to play music, just try to keep the volume low. You don’t want to be boogieing all day to your favorite jam or get distracted by talk radio when you need to be working on an important report.
If total silence is uncomfortable, or impossible, you might want to invest in a white noise machine. They’re small and often inexpensive. You might even find that you’ve gotten used to the white noise of the office in the background and appreciate it while you work. If anything it might help drown out the background noise of your own home.