As time goes on, working remotely is becoming more and more popular, whether it’s because of the Covid 19 pandemic, changing working conditions or just because flexible work is becoming more commonplace. Some studies have even found that working at home makes people more productive – a key selling point for many business owners. Of course, you may not have all of the assets you need at home for a suitable work at home environment.
That’s why it’s a good idea to set up a home office. It’ll help you to concentrate when you are working, and it’ll also help you to detach at the end of the day when it’s time to step away from your desk. Of course, setting up a home office isn’t the easiest thing to do. What do you need to consider? That’s what we’re here to answer today! Here’s everything that you need to know about how to set up a home office.
Table of Contents
Find the Most Suitable Room For Your Workspace
The very first thing that you need to do when you are setting up your home office is to find the best possible room for your office. This needs to be chosen carefully, as you will need to figure out what size of furniture you need, the lighting situation and various other aspects based on the room in question. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions of where you can put your workspace.
Use The Spare Room (Guest Room)
The first option is to use a spare room in your house if you have one available to you. You can skip this part if you don’t have a spare room, of course! The spare room is a good choice since you can use it as a dedicated home office space. You don’t need to deal with any other distractions in a spare room if you don’t want to, and this can be very handy for improving your focus.
One thing that you need to think about is the logistics of the room. Make sure that you have enough space for your desk, chair and anything else that you may need in the office. You also need to make sure that you have good WiFi access in the room. If you can’t then you may need to think about getting a dedicated router for the room. Think about how you want the room to look and think about the lighting. This will help you to make a space that will work well for the purpose.
Consider The Living Room
If you don’t have a spare room, then it can also be a good idea to set up your home office in the living room. This isn’t as good as using a spare room since the space won’t be dedicated to your working environment, but it can still work very well. You can set up a desk in a position that will work well for you, such as behind the couch or in a little nook in your living room. It can also be useful if your internet router is in the living room.
One thing that you need to do when working in the living room is to minimize the distractions. This means turning off the TV if you are easily distracted by that. You may also be distracted by other people in your house when you are working in the living room since it’s an area with a lot of foot traffic. If you are prone to distractions, then it’s a good idea to do what you can to minimize these distractions.
Avoid The Bedroom if Possible
You should try to avoid using your bedroom as your home office if possible. You may think that it’s a good idea to work from your bedroom. After all, you simply have to roll out of bed, turn on your laptop and you’re ready to work. It’s simple, and you can even be comfortable in bed and wear your pajamas.
There are a number of reasons why this is a bad idea.
For starters, when you are working in your bedroom you may struggle to be productive. You may find yourself feeling more sleepy since you associate your bedroom with sleeping and relaxation. As such, your work performance may end up suffering. That isn’t all, either.
If you choose to use your bedroom as a home office, then it can also cause havoc for your work life balance. When your desk is in your bedroom, you may feel more inclined to be on your phone or laptop at late hours of the night. You may struggle to detach since your work gear is close to you and easier to access. It can also mean that you struggle to sleep at night because you are working excess hours all the time.
Of course, sometimes working from your bedroom is unavoidable, and that’s okay. But if you do have any way to put your office environment in a different room then it’s certainly worth your while to do so.
Office Furniture You Will Need
Now that you have found the right location for your home office, the next thing that you need to do is fill it up with furniture. Make your home office your own, as this will help you to feel the most productive during your work day. But what do you need for your home office? Read on to find out.
Ergonomic Chair / Comfortable Chair
One of the most important things that you should buy for your home office is an office chair. You can’t just buy any office chair either. Sure, you could use a random chair from around your home, but you’ll likely pay for it – not in cash, but in the effects that it has on your body.
Having the right office chair can be worth its weight in gold, especially since you are going to be spending the vast majority of your day sitting in it.
An ergonomic office chair is going to be the best choice, since you can make alterations to it based on your specific needs. You need to look for a few key features in an ergonomic office chair too. For instance, you should consider whether the height and width of the chair is adjustable. This will allow you to have the optimal posture while you are working, which helps to reduce the likelihood of back problems. Likewise, having lumbar support can help to minimize slouching, which isn’t good for your body. Look at things like the backrest, and whether the chair is breathable. Also consider the swivel and the armrests.
Finally, when you have found the perfect office chair in terms of comfort, you can then select a color and design that will work for you.
Desk / Standing Desk / Alternative (Laptop Stand)
You can’t just have your laptop on your lap all day, contrary to popular opinion. That’s going to cause you to slouch, which really isn’t good for posture. Instead, you should be looking for a high quality desk. There are a variety of options available, but the most popular is a standard desk.
Make sure that you get an option that is durable and will support the weight of your computer/laptop and anything else that you may need to put on the desk. You should get something high quality, especially since you want it to last you a long time.
You don’t have to go for a standard desk, of course. You could also opt for a standing desk. This is a great choice if you want to do some favors for your cardiovascular system. It’s better for your health to be working while standing. Many of them can be adjusted too, so you don’t need to stand all day.
If you don’t have the space in your house then you don’t need to have a desk that consumes a lot of space. You can also get laptop stands and portable desks that will just go on your lap. This is a great choice if your home is a little too cramped for extra large furniture.
You’re more than likely going to need to get a laptop or a computer in order to work from home. In many cases your employer can provide you with this, so it’s worth asking them for that. If you are self-employed, however, then you will need to buy your own laptop or computer.
Don’t just buy the cheapest option out there, however. It may not run very fast, and it may not have the space that you need to effectively do your job. Make a decision based on your role. What do you do for a living? If you do basic admin stuff, your requirements are going to be very different from those of a graphic designer or an architect. For these sorts of jobs, you are likely going to need something with higher specifications in order to get the job done.
Look for something with plenty of space, with a good processor and with all of the other specifications that you are likely to need. You should consider whether you will be using the computer for more than just work too, as this will influence the decision that you make.
Keyboards, Mouse, Monitor and Web Camera If Not Using A Laptop
It’s one thing to buy a computer, but how are you meant to use it if you don’t have all of the extra accessories too? You don’t need to worry about this if you have a laptop, but if you have a computer then you’re going to need to buy some extra things in order to use it. This includes:
- A Keyboard – necessary for typing. It’s best to buy one that’s comfortable to use that will match the way that you type. Make sure that it’s durable, and is compatible with your computer.
- A mouse – helps you to navigate on your PC. An ergonomic mouse is a particularly good choice, especially if you suffer with things like carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Monitor – rather than squinting at your laptop’s screen all day, it’s worth investing in a monitor. Look for something high quality, ideally with anti glare if you’ll be sitting near a window.
- Web Camera – Essential for those office Zoom meetings. They usually aren’t built into monitors, so you will need to buy one that you can plug into the computer.
These are the main accessories that you will need for your computer. There are others of course, but you can’t really use a computer without these.
Many laptops come with microphones built into them, but they aren’t very good. For this reason, if you are going to be doing things like Zoom meetings a lot, or any other job that requires the use of sound, it’s worth buying a microphone. Make sure that you buy one that’s fit for the purpose though – a cheap one that you found online may not be a good choice if you’re going to be doing things like recording podcasts.
Accessories e.g. USB Adapters, Cables and AC Adapters
Connectivity is key when it comes to your home office! For this reason, make sure that you take some time to get the key accessories that you will likely need on a regular basis. For instance, you will likely need USB adapters, various cables and some AC adapters to ensure that everything in your home office is set up properly.
If you’re going to be working in a crowded room such as a bedroom or a living room, then it’s worthwhile to invest in a set of high quality headphones. This means that you can focus much more easily on your work, and other people in your house aren’t going to be hearing what you are listening to. You don’t need anything too fancy, but noise canceling headphones can be very useful when you are working.
If headphones aren’t quite your style and you’d prefer to hear things out loud, make sure that you get a pair of speakers that you can use while working. Again, your laptop will likely have speakers built in, but that doesn’t mean that they are very good. Being able to hear the audio out loud can be very useful, so get a good quality pair of speakers that will help you to hear everything clearly.
Notepad / Whiteboard
Finally, if you’re someone who easily forgets things or needs to take notes throughout the day while in meetings, make sure you have somewhere you can write things down. A notepad can help you to keep track of important information that you can access easily. Alternatively, you can also use a whiteboard for things like brainstorming, or when you need to demonstrate something on a presentation on a Zoom call. These can also be helpful for allowing you to come up with new ideas too.
So now that you have all of the basics ready, it’s time to consider a couple of extra things. These will help your home office to really feel like your own, and give it a little bit of extra personality. Here are just a few ideas!
Consider The Lighting In The Room
Lighting may not seem like a big deal, but it can make a huge difference in a home office. Not only can poor lighting affect you physically by causing eye strain and headaches, but some data suggests that it can even cause issues with your mental health.
If possible, you should try to ensure that you are exposed to natural lighting, since vitamin D can affect hormones and moods. Try to sit close to windows, and it’s worth getting a daylight desk lamp. Make sure that your lighting is neither too muted nor too bright.
Consider Getting Plants
Did you know that having plants in the office can help to improve productivity and happiness? For this reason, it’s worth taking a look at your office and working out which areas need a little bit of extra life. There are a lot of different plant shapes and sizes out there to choose from, and you can even get some unique planter boxes to add more personality to the room. Things like hanging vines can also make a shelf look very elegant. Play around with it!
We all want a home office that looks good, but that really isn’t the most important thing. We spend a lot of time working, so it’s essential that you have a space that you feel comfortable in. Make sure that you have comfortable chairs, lighting, and that the environment in general is right for your working needs. Looks should always come second to personal comfort when it comes to an office space.
Think About The Decor Of The Room
You don’t want your room to look dull and lifeless, do you? For that reason, you should take some time to think about how you want to decorate the room. Some examples include getting some paintings. If you are particularly gifted in arts and crafts then you could possibly create your own art! You could put your children’s art on the wall too. If you aren’t very artsy, then take a look on Etsy for some unique decoration that you can enjoy. Another thing you can do is have some pictures of your loved ones to put up on the wall. This could be friends, family or even your pets. The goal is to make it feel more like your own, to remind you of why you are working in the first place to keep you motivated.
Make Sure You Have Good Internet
You’re likely going to have a tough time trying to be productive at home if your internet isn’t very good. If you have poor internet, then it’s a good idea to speak to a new provider. Sometimes the issue may be with the proximity of the router and your computer though, in which case you may need to play around with some ethernet cables to get better internet.
Have A Dedicated Space For Gadgets
Make sure that you are keeping everything organized and minimizing distraction. This means having a particular place where you can keep your gadgets. This includes things like phones, notepads, pens and tablets. If they are all in one place then it’ll be easier to access them when you need them. Likewise, it may also deter you from scrolling through your phone while you’re trying to work.
Keep Your Workplace Tidy
The cleanliness of your office environment can have a huge impact on your behavior and productivity. If you don’t have a tidy workspace then you will find it difficult to access your key work items. Not only that, but it may also mean that you struggle to concentrate because it’s such a mess. The best thing to do is make sure that your desk is clean and organized before you start the workday. It will help you to feel more productive and everything will be organized, causing you a lot less stress while you are in the middle of working. It’s a simple piece of advice, but it’s important.
Separate the Professional From the Personal
When you are working from home, one of the hardest things can be trying to keep your personal life separate from your professional one. After all, you’re working in your home, which is where you lead your personal life. Here’s some advice to help you to keep your personal life separate from your professional life so that you can have a healthy work life balance.
Have A Dedicated Work Phone
You may think that it’s easier to use your personal phone for work. After all, you won’t need to pay as much in phone bills and everything will be in one place. With that being said though, it’s definitely worth spending a little bit of extra money on buying a phone that you use solely for work. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, you don’t want to be getting work calls at all hours of the day when you are trying to relax. Secondly, it can help you to detach from work when you aren’t currently working. It’s better for your mental health to get a phone that’s dedicated solely to your work if you are able to. If you are working for an employer then there’s a good chance that they will be able to provide you with this anyway.
Arrange For Child Care During Your Work Hours
We all like to be around our children and family, but it’s often best to see if you can get childcare during your working hours. This is because children can be very distracting and demand a lot of our attention. If they are staying elsewhere then that’s one less thing to distract you while you are working. This will help you to minimize distraction and be productive during the work day. Likewise, it’s worth seeing if other people in your home can give you some peace and quiet while you are working too. The last thing that you want is to get distracted, not get anything done and then you’re playing catch up at all hours of the day.
It’s best to try to avoid distractions when you are working from home. We know – this is certainly easier said than done! All sorts of things can crop up when you’re at home, such as family wanting last minute favors or that pile of unwashed laundry that seems to be staring you in the face every time you walk past it. With that being said, you really need to try to minimize distractions as much as possible when you are working from home.
How can you do this? Well, for starters, you should try to make sure that any key things that distract you aren’t in your immediate reach. If you have a habit of getting distracted by your phone, put it in a different room or further away from you. This will help you to avoid the temptation of taking any important non emergency calls or texting, or even scrolling through social media. To avoid the dreaded household chores creeping into your mind, you should do them the night before instead. These little things can make a huge difference to your productivity!
Don’t Have The TV On
Sure, your phone and social media are both big distractions. Do you know what else is a big distraction though? That’s right – keeping the TV on. It can sometimes be nice to put the TV on as background noise, but it doesn’t always stay as background noise, and that’s where the problem lies. If you’re doing something that you don’t particularly like while you are working, you may find your eyes gravitating towards the TV. Pretty soon you’ve lost an entire hour watching reruns of 90210.
The solution? Turn the TV off when you are working. If you have TV shows to watch then record them if you can and watch them later on. This isn’t an issue at all if you have something like Netflix. You can put the TV on during your lunch breaks or any free periods that you may have during the day. This way, you are much less likely to be distracted by the TV when you are trying to work.
Set Up A Work Routine
Last but not least, it’s worth your time to try to figure out a working routine that you can follow. One of the benefits of working from home is that you can often work on your own terms. You can work when you feel that you need to. But this is a double edged sword, as you may be more likely to procrastinate and struggle to concentrate.
Instead, it’s better to have a schedule and a routine that will help you to get into the right mindset for work. This can include getting up in the morning and getting dressed into some comfortable clothes instead of your pajamas. It can also help you to feel more awake! Set a regular time period in which you will take your lunch break. Then, when work is over make sure that you shut down your laptop and put it to one side. You should basically try and start and finish every work day as if you were going to go into the office. If you treat it like that and allocate set hours for doing your work, you will have a much easier time staying productive.
Having a schedule can be beneficial in numerous ways, but it’s not easy for everyone to incorporate. Thankfully, technology has advanced through the years. As such, there are things that can help you to be more productive. For instance, you can use time tracking apps and you can use a scheduling app that will set off alarms when it’s time to do a new thing. There are always ways to make scheduling more efficient for you.
That’s everything that you need to know about setting up your home office! The main thing to begin with is ensuring you have the right equipment for the job at hand. From there, you can then make your home office your own, and work on ways to keep your work life balance in check. Pretty soon you will be a whizz at staying productive even when you’re working from home!