If you work from home, you have the opportunity to design your own office space. No doubt you will want to work in an environment that fosters creativity and enjoyment, but your home office should also be designed to minimise distractions and maximize productivity. Getting this balance will keep your mind and body happy and your business on track.
It’s Your Office
Everyone’s office will be different, depending on a number of factors. Before you set about installing your equipment, or even designing your layout, think about how the space is going to be used. Ask yourself questions like:
- What type of work will I be doing in the office?
- Will colleagues be using the space, or are you the only one working there?
- Will clients be coming around for appointments?
- Are there any other functions for the space?
- Will you be making video or conference calls?
- What equipment do you need?
- How much space do you have available?
Use Your Space Wisely
Your office should be a place of productivity, and this demands a certain amount of privacy. If you have the space, it makes a lot of sense if you can use an entire room for your office. If not, a section of a room is enough, especially if you can somehow make it feel more separate with screens or sliding walls. Of course, you have to work with what you have.
One of the key tips for creating your office space is to maximize natural light. The best way to do this is to position your desk in front of, or adjacent to a window, so that you feel sunlight all through the working day. Increased sunlight has been linked to enhanced mood, sleep and health, as well as improved productivity.
You will also need to supplement natural light with your own lighting. Full spectrum bulbs are great if you are lacking sunlight, and if you are working late then you will need high quality task lights.
If you have limited space to use as your office, focus on the necessities, which are usually a chair, and desk for your computer and other work-related items. You can save space with some clever tricks like using filing cabins as the legs of your desk, installing shelves, or having noticeboards built in to the walls.
Ergonomics and Functionality
Most home businesses require high-speed internet. Anything less will cause disruptions and decreases in productivity. Your home office should have decent internet and router, with a dedicated phone line if you will be taking calls. You may also need a printer, scanner and other equipment, as well as plenty of storage.
One of the most important elements of good office design is ergonomics. You need to be comfortable in your office, not only for your day-to-day happiness, but also for your long term health. Sitting at a desk all day can lead to back and spine problems, and a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for illness. So, if you have a job that requires you to be at your computer screen for long hours at a time, such as an architect, a designer or an online poker player, you will definitely want to focus on making your office ergonomic with equipment such as a comfortable chair and wireless mouse. A standing desk is also an excellent choice, so that you do not spend the whole day sitting down.
How Much Is Too Much?
When it comes to décor and adding your own personal touch, it’s important not to overdo it. Research has shown that less clutter will make it easier to think more clearly. Don’t fill your desk with loads of stuff just to make it “personal”, as this could soon cause distraction and frustration.
Instead, keep your desk space clear and make use of wall space to hang pictures and artwork, or inspirational and uplifting imagery and memories from your life. You could also make use of colour, which has been shown time and time again to be linked with mood. The colour green is an excellent choice for an office, as it is neutral and natural, yet soothing and stress-reducing.
It’s your office space, so you can do whatever you want with it! Yet always keep in mind that you have to promote productivity as well as happiness, and that the two are related when it comes to your work life. One of the main problems with working from home is the lack of distinction between work and time off. A well designed office should help you to make this distinction. By defining the space, your mind knows when it is time to work and when it is time to relax.