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From the start of the COVID-19 era, all of us have, more or less, become a part of the largest work-from-home experiment. So if you cannot avoid this new reality, at least try to make the best home office setup that suits your needs.
Setting up your workspace is one of the most inspiring things you can do at the start of your adventure. And, in the very beginning, it’s very likely that this space will be a home office setup. You might even already have a certain structure in place, but it’s important that you optimize it to make sure it does not hinder your work.
According to the Leesman Index, more than 57% of workers agree that the way their office is arranged affects their productivity. It’s all about enabling the conditions in which you are most likely to succeed in your entrepreneurial project and even the most trivial of upgrades could mean the difference between growing and going bust.
In this post, we’ll go over the most important aspects of a home office setup that will ensure the best working conditions possible. So, where do we start?
Dedicated home office space
The first thing you should do is find a dedicated space.
It would be ideal if you could spare one separate room for your home office. This would help you focus and minimize everyday distractions. A separate office would serve as a great “do not disturb” sign for your dog, roommate or family. If your business includes lots of phone or video meetings, this would serve you great.
However, not many of us have a whole room to spare, and that’s fine. The most important thing here is that you dedicate one specific place to your home office. Having one station that you know you work from can be beneficial for your overall productivity.
You can easily solve the “privacy” issue by talking to your roommates or family and establishing easy-to-notice signs for “do not interrupt”.
Set up your workstation in your bedroom or living room, or another quiet area of your house. If you already have your desk set up, then you’re halfway there. Now just optimize.
Consider a standing desk
If you’ve ever worked for hours at a desk, you know just how painful sitting can get. A standing desk could be the perfect solution.
Not only will it help with the pain, but it also lowers your risk of weight gain, heart disease, and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, 87% of people said using a standing desk increased their energy throughout the day.
It’s important to note here that getting one doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to your old desk. You can get a standing desk converter which is simply installed on top of your existing desk and can be removed or lowered whenever you feel like sitting.
On the other hand, if you’re on the more adventurous side, you can always try a treadmill desk. Two birds, one stone! Although, keep in mind that it might take some time to learn to focus while walking.
Finally, make sure that you get a good ergonomic chair that you can adjust for your body. Adjustable height, arms, and backrest will save your wrists, shoulder, and back.
Now that we have the main workspace, let’s make sure everything is running smoothly.
Have your tech working for you, not against you
We’ve all been there. There is nothing as frustrating as your phone, computer or internet not working properly when you have a huge task list.
Did you know that on average, at work people lose five and a half days per year waiting for their computers and the internet to load? We know, buzzkill.
Research computers, find one that you can smoothly do your daily tasks on. If you’re using a laptop, consider getting an ergonomic mouse, your hands will thank you.
Get a good Wi-Fi router and a high-speed internet connection, especially if you will be having lots of online meetings. Having your tech running smoothly will help keep your productivity levels up.
To boost it further consider using additional computer screens.
Whatever the nature of your business may be, chances are you’ll be using multiple windows, numerous browser tabs, and excel sheets simultaneously.
Having two screens would be a lifesaver. In fact, so much so that a survey has found that working on two monitors could provide a 20-30% boost in productivity! With numbers like that, you’d be crazy to miss out on it!
Get as much natural light as possible
At home, you have the autonomy to choose how your workspace is oriented. Choose somewhere that gets the most natural light.
Why? Research shows that being exposed to natural light boosts productivity by up to 25 percent! It even helps reduce eyestrain and headaches by 84 percent.
Apart from that, sunlight gives us Vitamin D and that in turn significantly boosts our mood and energizes us. As such, lighting is not as trivial as we may have thought.
If your home office isn’t well orientated in regards to the Sun, choose a light that simulates natural light well. Consider getting one of the LED models that allow adjusting color temperature to set the one that suits you. Generally speaking, cool temperatures are the way to go work-wise.
Plants, artwork and other decor elements help reduce stress
Who doesn’t like plants?
They help tie a space together, they are the source of higher quality air, and they help reduce stress, increase attention span and recover after demanding tasks.
When you’re in a video meeting with a client, having a plant in the shot may even have a relaxing effect on them. Additionally, consider adding artwork and other decor elements.
Use vertical space. Add in artwork that you personally like, add floating shelves and fill them with your books, memorabilia, etc. Not only will this make you feel better, but should it appear as a backdrop in your video meeting, it will make you seem more human to your clients! However, make sure that your background is not cluttered. Not empty, not cluttered, just balanced!
When discussing backdrops, let’s not forget the colors around your home office space. Most people would recommend green as it can inspire creativeness. University of Munich’s study found that green stimulates mental processes that foster creativity. And if you’re a Feng shui believer, the color green entails growth and decisiveness.
However, we’ll let you decide for yourself. Just make sure not to pick up too intensive color to avoid getting eye strain and headaches.
We now have the space more or less done, and it’s time to move on to the most important tips when it comes to the best possible home office setup – your habits.
Keep it clean, keep your time
It’s extremely important that you keep your home office clean. It’s a “clear your space, clear your mind” type of situation.
Researchers at Princeton University found that clutter negatively impacts your ability to focus and process information.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to turn into a neat freak, but simply keep it organized and clean it at the end of your workday. If your desk isn’t enough to store your physical files, think about other storage options.
When you end your workday, really end it. Today, when most of us have our work emails on our phones, it’s hard to disconnect. When you have a home office, it’s even harder.
Try to switch off your workstation and your brain, and you’ll be able to start anew fresh and productive the next day. Read books, watch movies, socialize and spend time with your family.
However, the other side of this coin is too many distractions. In the beginning, especially if you’re starting your business after working in an office, it may be hard to focus – this you’ll have to learn.
A good technique to get you started could be the Pomodoro technique.
It entails fully-focused working for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 cycles of this, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. Do the same for the rest of your workday.
It all comes down to keeping healthy habits, taking care of your mental health and staying as physically active as possible. Come on, you can do it!
Set yourself up for success
Optimizing your home office setup is all about creating a better opportunity for success.
Look at these tips as guidelines for arranging your home office in the best possible way, and build on them according to your ability, needs, and individuality. Find what suits you.