The pandemic has affected our lives in countless ways, but a shift in workplace habits is among the most notable. The pandemic has forced millions of workers into their homes, taking away their commutes, their routines, and, of course, their offices. In fact, having a home office is one of the most popular home trends on the market right now and homes with a home office are currently seen in 9% more homes for sale than last year. If you’re among those stuck at home, day in and day out, making a few tweaks to your home office can improve your productivity and boost morale. Here are five great ways to improve your home office setup.
1. Lean into an ergonomic setup
Many office spaces are designed with employee comfort in mind, but our home offices can be a little less thought out and could potentially increase discomfort and stress during the workday. There are a few upgrades you can make when it comes to your office equipment. Consider investing in an ergonomic chair and desk. An ergonomic chair will provide you with the support you need to avoid neck and back pain and ergonomic desks can often move up and down giving you the ability to sit or stand as you work throughout the day. Additionally, specific keyboards, laptop risers and an external mouse can add extra comfort to your current office workspace. Adding just a few of these ergonomic upgrades to your home office can lessen your discomfort, making it easier to stay at your desk and stay focused on the task at hand.
2. Upgrade to new technology
Are you tired of trying to get work done on a tiny laptop screen? Do you struggle to hear your coworkers on video calls through old computer speakers? If so, some new technology might be just what you need. Investing in quality speakers, additional monitors, or even a smart home system to ensure you’re always looped in can be a big benefit, making it easier to do your job while eliminating some common headaches.
Not all companies will offer reimbursement for technological upgrades but some may, so it never hurts to ask. With the newest technology at your fingertips, you may be able to increase your productivity and enjoy your home office setup more than ever before.
3. Improve your lighting
The wrong lighting can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, especially when you spend most of the day in your office workspace. Without adequate bulb brightness and warmness, you may be more likely to strain your eyes or even get headaches while staring at your screens. If you have bad lighting in your home office consider increasing your access to natural light by taking away blinds or relocating your desk. Add a desk light or floor lamp to your office to bring in a warm, happy feel, or put better bulbs in your overhead light fixtures to improve comfort and visibility.
Many studies have shown that lights in higher color temperatures (above 3500K) directly impact our learning and productivity and increase our ability to take in information and concentrate on tasks. The higher the color temperature, the higher the level of focus. For this reason, it is recommended that you purchase LED lights with color temperatures around 4000K to increase focus and save you money on electricity bills. Bringing warm, bright light into your office space is especially beneficial if you live in an area that tends to have overcast skies, like Seattle, WA.
4. Add custom cabinets and organizational spaces
Many careers and positions require keeping extensive records, which is fine when you’re in an office with shelves and cabinets. But now that you’re working from home you most likely are dealing with a smaller space. With cabinetry designed to accommodate your job, you can improve organization and efficiency. Consider adding some custom cabinetry to your office, it is a great way to keep your office looking great while also giving you plenty of space to store your work so it doesn’t turn into towering piles around your desk.
If you don’t have the space for custom installations, even a small filing cabinet, shelves on the walls, or a desk with more drawers can make staying organized a little easier.
5. Bring in the decor
A drab workspace may seem functional, but it’s probably not a place you want to spend a lot of time. Stepping up your decor can be an aesthetic improvement that can excite you about working in your home office setup rather than dreading it. A work area that looks nice will feel nice, and that may be all you need to stay motivated during the day. Here are some simple upgrades you can make to your home office to help inject a little more energy and color into your space.
- Add a colorful rug: Rugs can be fashionable, but they can also make your space homier. This is particularly true if your at-home office is in a basement or a room that’s less cozy. A rug can also be easier on your feet and provide insulation to help regulate the room’s temperature, not to mention it could add some much-needed color and texture to your space.
- Draw on some curtains or blinds: If your workspace has a lot of natural light, curtains and blinds can be a good way to keep the rising or setting sun at bay. There are many curtain and blind options available these days that can be used to modify your windows. And, with the vast range of color options, materials, and designs available, you have the freedom to choose any that match your style and interior design. Whether this means adding some sage green curtains to your windows or automatic modern blinds that open or close with the touch of a button, the options are endless. Nice curtains or blinds can elevate the feel of a room, which could certainly help enhance a drab space.
- Incorporate artwork and plenty of it: Office workers across the country keep pictures on their desks, so why not hang some art in your home office? You may not need pictures of your family necessarily, since you might be able to hear them right down the hall, but t maybe a favorite art print, framed photos from one of your favorite trips, or any other fun and enjoyable pieces that can brighten up your home office setup. There are so many art options available, just find something that speaks to you and helps you stay energized and motivated.
- Invest in indoor plants: Plants can complement any decor and really add personality to your home office space. Other than plants having the ability to spruce up any space, they also have other benefits. Indoor plants are great for providing a pleasant and tranquil environment for working. Learn more about your favorite species — like the amount of maintenance and sun the various types of plants need— and choose the indoor plants that would be best suited for you and your home office.
Working from home is no longer a temporary situation for many Americans, so there’s no longer a reason to just make do with a cramped desk, an uncomfortable chair, and otherwise unmotivating workspace. Improving your home office setup can make working from home easier and more enjoyable, no matter what the future holds.