By Kaelin Sanchez
1. Strategic Layout and Desktop Clutter
The first step for a productive home office is to determine its location. Find the quietest area of your home and work from there. An area where you can receive plenty of natural sunlight will work best; we’ll talk more about this in a later tip. Experiment with where you work best. Some people prefer to work with white noise while others require absolute silence. Consider a room with a door if a busy area in your home is nearby.
Organization is key in productivity. Shuffling through papers or cluttered distractions can decrease your efficiency and mood. Keep your desk distraction-free by creating a place for everything – books in shelves, folders in drawers, paperwork in folders, etc. While you should keep your desk clean, make sure it is not empty. Have a few motivational possessions or a plant to add a breath of fresh air to keep you focused and productive at home.
Color has been proven to affect your behavior, so deciding a color for your work area is essential.
“A study by the University of Texas found that neutral colors - grey, beige or white - in office spaces induce negative emotions, such as sadness and depression.”
For focus, efficiency and tranquility, stick to Mother Nature’s color palette – calm blues and relaxing greens. If you wish to draw attention to something in your office, red colors are known to stimulate your heartrate and blood flow right upon sight. This explains why firetrucks, fire extinguishers and valentines’ gifts are red. Yellow is the shade of optimism and induces a fresh mood and mind. It can trigger innovations and is most seen in artists, designers, and developers’ offices. Depending on your situation, try to experiment which color works best with your needs. Place color palette samples from your local hardware store near your desk and keep in mind the effect it creates when you glance at it.
3. Invest in the Best Lighting
Lighting in our homes is often neglected and overlooked. Ideally, you should have your desk exposed to as much natural sunlight as possible.
“Due to the lack of sunlight during the winter season, research has shown that people tend feel more lethargic which proves to slow productivity.”
Place your desk near a window that receives an ample amount of sunlight. If there is no window available for your home office, it is time to invest in a desk lamp or general lighting. You may find yourself straining your eyes from a light source that is too bright or too dim. Experiment with the different brightness levels and light tones to find the best combination that works for you. If your workspace is relatively large, you might also have to consider having multiple light fixtures.
“According to the American Optometric Association, the average worker spends seven hours a day staring at a computer screen.”
If you work on a computer, experiment with the brightness and contrast settings to find the most productive setting that is healthy for your eyes. Perfect light exposure while you work can increase your mood and promote better sleep. For those days with bad weather or working late into the night, artificial lighting is essential for your workspace.
4. Standing Desk Option
It is most likely that your desk will be your primary work area. This is where your computer and desk lamp will sit, which means that your focus will most be concentrated here. A new commodity that more and more offices are leaning more towards is the standing desk option.
Our bodies were biologically not designed to sit, and consequences of long term sitting include bad posture which can lead to back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain. Standing desks keep you on your feet all day which can burn your calories and keep you focused on your work. While there are automatic standing desks that are activated by the touch of a button, there are also lesser costing, manually operated standing desks.
5. Seating Support
If you are spending most of your day sitting in a chair, consider investing in the best chair that fits your physical needs and helps you focus. While most people neglect their seating support, it is one of the most essential steps for a more productive home office.
“The American Academy of Family Physicians have found that 90% of adults experience back pain in their life and 50% of employed Americans have back pain every year.”
Check out this helpful guide to find which chair would best fit your needs. If you are on a budget, consider a seat supporter that works just as well.
These tips are just the top of an iceberg. For more tips on How to Boost Productivity in Your Home Office, check out DecArte Interiors' Free Guide.
For discussions, thoughts, sharing, questions and connections with professionals working from home, join our LinkedIn Group - Working from Home Productivity Network.