Whether you’ve started your own business, telecommute, or simply want somewhere to sit down and handle your household’s paperwork, having a home office is important. However, from space limitations to numerous distractions, sometimes trying to work at home can be more challenging than at a traditional office.
One major problem is the reduced amount of productivity. This can stem from a variety of sources; however, oftentimes it is because many home offices are squeezed into a corner or involve sitting in an uncomfortable office chair.
To help you tackle this issue, here are two key ways to make your home office a more inviting, comfortable, and productive place to be.
Delineate the Space
Even if you have a separate room for an office, delineating the space effectively is a necessary step. This is because the way you orientate your workstation and other furniture can either help or hinder your workflow. After all, if you create a maze to your desk or put your filing cabinet just out of reach, you’ll end up doing more work than necessary just to get started.
Especially if your home office is part of a larger area (such as a den or living room), you need to make the most out of limited space. To up productivity, make sure to have a clear distinction between when you’re “at work” and when you’re “at home”. For some, painting the office walls a different color than the rest of the house can help create this effect.
If possible, try to make your home office a single-purpose area. Also, it should be situated so there’s a minimal amount of through traffic. For example, setting up your office in a corner of the dining room probably won’t work very well. Unless you live alone, not only is that area a fairly public space, but it is typically used for other things (such as meals).
Have Adequate Lighting
An often overlooked aspect about home offices, your choice of lighting is critical to how your workspace both looks and feels. Namely, working in an incorrectly lit environment often comes with negative emotional, physical, and psychological effects.
Specifically, a gloomy home office can just be depressing. At the very least, it doesn’t encourage anyone to want to sit down and work with any sort of energy or enthusiasm. Additionally, lighting that is too dim, too bright, or poorly positioned (aka creating a glare) can lead to eyestrain while doing standard tasks like reading or using the computer.
Ideally, your home office should have various layers of lighting that can be adjusted if needed. Most of the time, you should be getting adequate natural light via windows. For working at night or on cloudy days, you should also have good general lighting to illuminate the room.
If your home office is in a dark or windowless area (like the basement) then it is doubly important that you invest in quality task and overhead lighting. While natural sunlight is best in most situations, using artificial lighting that is warm and even is also acceptable.