Whether you’re a freelancer, gig worker, or self-employed, it’s no secret that working from home is on the rise across America. Whatever your case for working from home is, it’s important that you set apart a space in your home for work and customize it to your needs and productivity goals. Below are five easy tips that will help you create a home office space that works for you.
While there may be several places in your home to set up an office space, some areas may not be optimal for productivity. If you have children, pets, roommates or a spouse you’ll want to find a place where you can manage distractions in order to help you focus. If possible, it’s ideal to have a dedicated room for your home office. If it’s necessary to set up in a space associated with another activity such as sleeping, cooking, or entertaining, you’ll want to ensure you separate your workspace as much as possible to help you stay focused.
You’ll be spending hours at your desk while you’re working so it’s important to ensure that it is set up for productivity and organization, minimizing distractions and clutter. Be sure to search the various desk options available, as a traditional desk may not work for you. Determining what will be on your desk will help you select one. Will you need a second monitor, an external keyboard or additional space for a laptop? Take into consideration what things you will need to access quickly and frequently during your workday. This could be as simple as pens and paper or a printer or fax machine. Taking all of this into consideration will help when determining if you want a traditional desk or one that better suits your unique work needs.
Beyond your desk space, general organization in your home office is another key factor to take into account. From office supplies to computer cords and important files, everything should have a place. Depending on the needs of your work, you may want custom shelving options or new furniture that may require renovation or construction to your current space. Tapping into your home’s equity can help you finance projects to optimize your space. A home equity line of credit for instance, will give you the funds you need, similar to a credit card, allowing you to pay it off over time. Other organization tips can also include downloading apps on your computer to help organize your time, files, contacts etc.
Productivity levels can be aided or hampered by lighting. Indirect natural light from windows is usually best but if that isn’t an option, strategic placement of ambient lighting is key to increasing productivity and reducing eye strain. Having a light above you on the ceiling can also help. Consider the brightness of your computer screen and make sure it’s not too dim or too bright. Make sure that your monitor is at a comfortable distance from where you sit or stand to ensure you’re not squinting throughout the entirety of your workday.
In addition to making sure your space helps you reach your productivity goals, you should also make sure it’s safe and healthy. As an independent contractor, you’ll likely be spending long hours in your home office, putting you at risk for back and eye strain. Consider taking these steps to create an ergonomic environment for your home office to help prevent health problems that could arise in the future. It may be worth it to invest in a chair that will support the natural contour of your back. Also, getting a standing desk can reduce some of the issues that come from sitting too long.
Adding personal touches like plants, art, photos of friends and family and other sentimental objects will help make the space feel more like your own and can boost your mood throughout the workday.
Working from home and creating a home office can give you a sense of independence and freedom. With that said, being intentional about your home office space is key. Hopefully, these five tips will help you determine what you need in order to stay productive and reach your goals daily.