When you work from home – whether it’s full-time, part-time or only over-time – you need a practical, peaceful and pleasant workspace. Here’s how to make the most of a home office.
Dedicate a room or an area solely to work
Your requirements of a home office will vary depending on the type of work you do. For instance, you might need multiple rooms – including a room appropriate for meeting and entertaining clients. Alternatively, you might be fine with just a desk in a guest room.
No matter how much space you need, it’s important to designate a specific area for work and to define its physical boundaries.
This gives you a clear separation between work and "home". It can also give you privacy, help you avoid distractions and improve your focus when you're working.
Draw inspiration from the stylish office spaces that you see in magazines and on Pinterest, but be realistic about what you can achieve, given your space and budget.
Always remember that first, your office needs to be a functional and comfortable workspace. All its key elements should have a purpose and support your work needs.
Think about ergonomics
Do yourself a favour and choose ergonomically designed furniture, starting with a good quality, adjustable office chair and a desk of the right height.
Also, consider ergonomic extras such as a footrest and gel mouse and keyboard pads. These may enhance your work experience and make long work hours less stressful for your body.
The typical advice for an ergonomic work setup is to make sure everything you're likely to need is within easy reach. In a home office, however, it's not a bad idea to locate some items so you're forced to get up periodically.
For example, it can pay to store items like your printer and office stationery in another room – and rather leave the kettle in the kitchen so you have to walk there to take a tea or coffee break.
Taking breaks from sitting in front of a screen is good for your eyes, spine and circulatory system, and may mean you can concentrate better when you resume work.
Create a comfortable space
Although your office needs to be functional and work-oriented, it’s important to create an inviting space where you feel comfortable. Create warmth with lighting by ditching overhead lights for a desktop lamp.
Within limits, make the space more inviting by incorporating throw cushions, rugs, artwork and the odd photo. If you need a place to read or think, get a comfortable armchair and a side-lamp.
Keeping your office at a comfortable temperature is also vital, so consider adding a desktop fan or a small heater – depending on the season. One obvious advantage of a home office is that you're free to be barefoot in summer and to wear fluffy slippers in winter!
Incorporate natural and artificial light
Good lighting is essential. Set up your office to make the most of the natural light in the room, and incorporate artificial lighting for the darker hours of the day.
Avoid using overhead lights and rather use a desk lamp that can be adjusted to direct the light and avoid screen glare.
It’s nice to decorate a home office, but remember that it’s a workspace first and avoid adding objects that will ultimately be in your way.
You can help keep a workspace looking tidy by opting for wireless devices and keeping any cables contained with cable ties or clips.
Optimise space using simple storage solutions, like a plastic drawer unit pushed in under a desk, and by using space-saving furniture, such as floating shelves.
Store office documents, supplies and equipment offsite, with XtraSpace
At home, most people don't have the luxury of enormous office spaces. To ensure you can work efficiently in a smaller space, it's a good idea to consider storing items you don't need straight away offsite.
This may also help protect the items from theft or damage due to fire or flooding.
At XtraSpace, our nationwide branches offer secure, affordable self-storage units that are ideal for storing:
- business documents, such as tax records
- office stationery and equipment, including spare computer peripherals and components
- office furniture, shelving or cabinets you don't currently need (but that could serve you well in the future)
- books and reference materials you don't need to consult on a regular basis
- excess business inventory.