Creating Your Best Home Office
Simple suggestions for designing a great at-home office or workspace.
October 16, 2020
Whether from staying with a sick child or letting in the cable guy, most people know what it is like to “make do” in a less than ideal work-from-home setup. But, with more of us than ever working remotely in a long-term or permanent capacity (thanks, COVID), optimizing a dedicated home office has become an important part of adapting to the world’s new normal.
For some, the task of designing a more permanent office might seem daunting. As part of the home, the space should still be comfortable and reflect your style, yet it of course needs to be primed for the focus and productivity your job requires. But, if you’re struggling with the process, we are here to help, with these home office setup ideas and tips.
2. LEAVE SPACE FOR FLEXIBILITY – BOTH PHYSICAL AND SITUATIONAL. In a shared work environment people move around occasionally – grabbing something off the printer, heading into a meeting, asking a quick question of the coworker down the hall. But, in a home office, a lot of the natural opportunities to get up and move are lost. So, include space and opportunity to make yourself shift, stretch and move throughout the day. Maybe opt for a convertible desk or computer mount so you can stand part of the afternoon, or leave room around your desk to walk around while on longer calls. Also, the rest of your home life might still sometimes make its way through your office door. One of the major benefits of working from home is this flexibility. So, use that flexibility to adapt your workspace for your unique situations or needs. Worried about the distractions of a partner also working from home? Maybe add a mini-fridge or coffee station inside your office to make it easier to stay in the zone. Or, if you need to accommodate a toddler with separation anxiety, maybe a nook for the child’s naps or independent play might be worth factoring into your layout.
3. CONCEAL YOUR CORDS. Clutter and chaos can increase stress and decrease efficiency – the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve in your home workspace. And the multitude of wires, cords and cables that run your electronics can quickly create a dust-collecting visual mess, not to mention an occasional safety hazard, if left unmanaged. So, it is definitely worthwhile to neatly organize or cover cords to help keep your space clean and well-ordered. To start, consider a simple cable clip to collect the wires that run along or off your desktop, keeping things tidy and untangled. Next, consolidate the bulk of cords where you can. Unique two-in-one solutions are available that include a built-in power strip for connecting up to 8 devices, while keeping their cords and plugs neatly organized and contained. From there, take a look at your floors. Is there cabling running along the baseboard for your ethernet connection? Or one final power cord running to the wall outlet? Cleanly cover and contain it with a simple DIY peel-and-press kit. Have some cords crossing your pathway to a printer or cabinet? Eliminate the risk of tripping over them while also hiding them from view, with an over-floor cord protector.
And smart dimmer options add another level of convenience to this, letting you control the lights, or even set an automatic schedule, through an app on your smartphone for incredible ease. Plus, with a smart option, as well as with a motion sensor or timer switch, you can ensure the office lights are turned off each evening, even if you find yourself ending the workday in a distracted rush to go start dinner. No worrying, no wasted electricity.
5. ADD YOUR PERSONAL TOUCH. One final tip – but perhaps the most important – is to remember to make the most of a home office being yours and yours alone. Unlike in a shared office environment, you have the opportunity in this workspace to find what works BEST for you – your needs, your life, your habits and quirks. Add plants, a pet, or as many pictures of your kids as you want. Have an area to pace while brainstorming. Feel free to talk to yourself, out loud and often, without fear of judgement. It’s time to discover the unique ways you can add efficiency and enjoyment while working from home.