How do I Create a Comfortable Home Office Setup at Home?
It’s been a while since remote work became the “new normal,” and we have gradually slipped into this new role. Some companies are enjoying this arrangement to the extent of making WFH their newest policy.
However, the charm of working from home in the comforts of our beds dressed in our favorite jammies has now worn off. Most employees crave the structure and routine of their office life.
Fortunately, you can easily create a comfortable home office design is more than a rickety desk and a worn-out chair stuffed in a dull corner. Are you wondering how? Keep reading as you unlock these mysteries!
What Must an Ideal Home Office Setup Contain?
Whether you seek long-term or short-term home-office space solutions, here are a few basics that you would need:
A Dedicated Work Space
Ideally, have a small, dedicated room set aside as your office space. It would physically separate your personal life from your professional life. If your house has a spare, rarely used guest bedroom, you have already hit the jackpot! Convert this space into your home office, and you are all set to stake a claim over this area. Alternatively, you can use compact furniture like Murphy beds and TV mounts for the room to serve a dual purpose of an office and a guest room.
However, if having a separate room is not possible, then identify a quiet sport that offers you privacy. Consider the traffic flow of this area and the needs of your job. For instance, you may need a place with a door to block out external sounds if you are often on calls or telecommuting at work. If you often have clients over, you would need a spot near your home’s entry points.
Proper Work Desk or Table
Next, you would need a work desk or a table of the perfect height.
The standard height for office desks is typically 29 inches from the floor to the work surface. However, this industry-standard is set for pen and paper writing. For computer-based operation, keyboards and mouse trays shave off an inch or two for the optimum height. Hence, it is best to record an accurate measurement according to your height.
Ideally, your forearms should be parallel to the floor, and your wrists should not be bent when you use the keyboard or the mouse.
Standing desks have emerged as a new trend to keep workers healthy and happy as they work. They keep you on your feet. Plus, they are height adjustable, allowing you room to raise or lower the height of the desk. In fact, get the best of both worlds by purchasing a standing desk extender!
Perfect Monitor Specs and Height
Invest in high-resolution, high-quality monitors are at least 25 or 27-inches large. In terms of display resolutions, all the terms and alphabet soups may appear confusing and overwhelming. However, if you want notable contrast, sharp displays that will be easy on your eyes, choose between QHD, WQHD, or 4K UHD.
Having two displays is much more convenient than toggling between windows. Hence, most employees prefer having two screens for multi-tasking and improved productivity. Dual screens equal double the work, especially if your work involves coding, writing, researching, or designing. If purchasing another computer screen is not on your list, you could mount a flat-screen TV to function as your second screen while also saving space!
Your monitor should line up with your vision to support a straight posture. Adjust the monitor height such that your eyes position about 25 to 30% below the top of the screen. If using a riser is not an option, then you could invest in a swivel mount for the perfect viewing angle.
A Comfortable Chair
Sitting for prolonged periods is dangerous to your health. However, sitting in a bad chair is even worse. Considering the number of hours you would spend in your office chair, pamper your tushie by investing in a high-quality, comfortable, and ergonomically correct chair. A good chair can also work wonders for your posture, so your spine and back will thank you too.
Make sure you get a height-adjustable chair that offers lumbar support. A chair with a seat tilt arm offers adjustable seating positions, which is an added plus. The adjustable armrest is optional, especially if you know how to use one correctly. If possible, try out the chairs at physical stores before buying them.
Here’s a bright idea – have a lot of light!
A large chunk of individuals overlooks the importance of lighting while considering their workspace. Natural light should be your first and most preferred source of lighting. It helps maintain your circadian rhythm and keeps you productive by 3 to 40% ! Thus, position your work desk near a window so you can bathe in natural light and even steal a few glances at the view (remember the 20-20-20 rule?)
If natural light is a scarce resource, make use of ambient lighting to brighten up your office space. Overhead fixtures are the best source of indirect lighting. You should be able to read printed documents and papers without straining your eyes.
Ensure that the source of lighting does not compete with the light of your monitors or create glares. If they do, use curtains or reposition the light placement to diffuse it.
Stable Internet Connection
Remember the old days when you would have to wave around your mobile phone to get a decent network service? Well, that time is behind us. You will find internet service providers that offer high-speed coverage that clocks at 1 Gbps! Depending on your requirements and the number of users, subscribe to a minimum of 50 Mbps speed.
Hook up your desktops with wired ethernet connections for higher reliability. WiFi is sufficient for basic, routine office work that does not require high capacity. Ensure that your equipment supports the speeds offered by your service provider. The last thing that you would need is a 100 Mbps speed that gets throttled by your router!
Depending on your work, you may require other ancillary items such as headsets, printers, scanners, webcams. Apart from these essentials, consider getting your hands on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for desktops and surge power adaptors for desktops and laptops. You may also need an external hard disk to back up your data, or you could subscribe to cloud services.
Tips to Make Your Home Office Setup More Comfortable
Once you have all the basic ready for your at-home office, make it more comfortable and functional in the following ways:
Start Your Research With Pinterest
If you wish to find inspirational posters for your workspace or create a DIY cubby for your office stationery – Pinterest will have you covered on all bases. Browse through an assortment of options to inspire your home office setup. However, remember some setups look great only in glossy prints and may not support your daily 8-hour shift. Similarly, those ornate, vintage desks may end up being too small to accommodate all your office items.
Remember, you control your office settings and not vice versa. With this mantra in mind, explore all the options available on Pinterest to create your dream office!
Go Green – Have Some Plants on Your Desks
Plants make people happier, healthier, and more productive. That’s not just us speaking; it’s science ! Given this stress-busting quality of plants, get a tiny pot that you can place on your desk. Succulents are a brilliant choice as they are low-maintenance (or might we even say “no-maintenance”) plants that you cannot possibly kill even if you don’t have a green thumb. Plants like the Boston fern, dracaena, spider plant, and ficus have powerful air filtering properties, which will improve your office’s air quality!
A Splash of Color Boosts Productivity
Did you know that you could trick your brain into being more productive? Yes!
Luckily, an at-home office setup gives you the creative freedom to decide on the decor right from the color of your walls! Bright and warm colors will keep your mind alert and give it a productivity boost. Shades of yellow, red, and orange are psychologically stimulating and will help you bring your A-game on.
If painting the walls is not an option, you can always use wallpaper, sticky notes, and other such items for a cost-effective fix.
Keep Things Homely
Just because you are at your at-home office, it does not mean that you need to box yourself inside a soulless office cubicle. Start by designing your office to complement the room. Next, add personality to your workspace with cartoon cutouts, trophies, and family photos. Redecorate this space occasionally, or else it will soon blend in with the background. You could even use aromatic candles and soft music to create a nurturing environment.
Channel Your Inner Marie Kondo
A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. It can stress you out, dampen your productivity, and make you feel overwhelmed. So make prioritize cleanliness. And for home offices, you are the janitor and the cleaner. Thus, create a weekly schedule to tidy out your desk and clear your little nook. If things don’t spark joy, get rid of them.
Get Creative With Storage
Unless you have filing cabinets and storage chests lying around your home, find new and innovative ways to store your stuff. With papers, files, and books, you could invest in a bookcase to hold these items. For office supplies, clear containers placed inside desks can make one feel super organized.
Maintain a Stock of Goodies
For a start, keep basic essentials such as water, pens, notepads, always within reach. Indulge in your personal victories, aka snacks and beverages. Are you a habitual coffee drinker? Do you treat yourself to a double choco-chip cookie after clinching a sale? Keep these at hand, too. Get a mini-fridge or a coffee pot to minimize distractions and to prevent yourself from leaving the office intermittently.
Manage Wires Responsibly
The more we rely on modern devices and electronics, the more wires criss-cross across our desk, on the walls, and on the floor. Jumbled cords and wires are a sore sight that could also be potential hazards. Position your device as close to the power outlet as possible. For the rest, learn the art of wire management. Fortunately, you do not need fancy equipment to organize these wires. Whether you are figuring out how to hide TV wires on a wall mount or need help for setting up a charging hub – just a few zip cords, clamps, or even a pool noodle can keep the messy wires away.
Set Aside Distractions
Let’s face it – we are more likely to get on Facebook and “scroll for a bit” when you don’t have a manager circling your workspace. However, these indulgences can dent your productivity and make your work more prone to errors. Set aside a spot to store your personal gadgets so you can stay on track. Of course, an occasional break now and then is permissible if you are not prone to get carried away!
In continuation of the above point, it is crucial to follow a schedule and stick to a routine. Have a desktop watch to fix accountability and to ensure that a 15-minute break does not turn into an hour-long Netflix binge. Conversely, if you are a workaholic that loses track of time, the watch can be an excellent reminder to power down and tune out of the “work mode.”
Once you iron out the creases, working from an at-home office can be quite exciting and enjoyable. Use the above guide to set up your office space, and you will churn out work in no time!