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How to Set Up and Organize a Home Office

Matt  /  February 13, 2020

How to Set Up and Organize a Home Office

Working from home offers a number of advantages, including no commuting and a better work-life balance. Getting to design your own office is also a major upside for many people. Taking the time to put together a work space that suits your given job and personal needs is key for a high level of productivity as well as general job satisfaction.

Create a Designated Work Friendly Space

When you're working from home day in and day out, setting up the laptop on the living room coffee table simply doesn't cut it. The space you choose for your office should be conducive to working, which means that it should be a comfortable temperature with minimal noise and other distractions. Select a space large enough to house a computer desk, organizational units, and any other key office elements. Depending on the size and layout of the office, you may need to get creative with your configuration. For example, to maximize space in a smaller room, think about getting an L-shaped desk with the computer in the center and work areas on either side.

Invest Time and Money in an Ergonomic Setup

As you consider ideas for your new office space, it's easy to get caught up in decor options. While hanging appealing artwork and outfitting the office with a couple plants does make the environment more enjoyable, your main priority should be work. Don't skimp on the computer desk and chair. Spend as much as you can on these two items to ensure comfortable working for hours on end. Once you have the desk and chair, set up the space following basic ergonomic guidelines. The top of the computer screen should fall right at or just below eye level. The keyboard position should allow your forearms to sit parallel to the floor. Finally, adjust the chair so your feet rest firmly on the floor or on a footrest.

Select Personalized Touches with Care

A home office offers virtually endless possibilities for customization. Select a few meaningful items that make the space your own without distracting from the work at hand. Rotate photos, cartoons, and other images to make yourself more mindful. Greenery also adds a great touch to a home office. If you don't have a green thumb, choose low-maintenance plants such as palms, cacti, and spider plants. Don't forget about the scent in your office. When you're stuck in a cubicle all day, having a weird smell coming from the air vents or a neighboring cubicle can wear on you. At home, you have full control over the smell. Candles and essential oils are both great options.

Embrace Both Natural and Artificial Light

After spending years in the corporate world, many people place a desk right in the corner of the office without giving it a second thought. Whenever possible, position your desk near the windows to take advantage of the natural light and outdoor scenery. Even in the best of home offices, you'll still rely on artificial light during early morning and late night hours, and on cloudy days. Avoid harsh overhead lighting, choosing warm floor lamps, table lamps, and task lighting.

Get Creative with Storage

One of the biggest issues in most offices, both home and corporate, is clutter. Without dedicated storage and organization tools, you'll quickly find yourself buried in paperwork and miscellaneous items. Evaluate your storage needs and choose organization methods that allow you to store and find what you need with ease. Consider open storage for items you don't mind seeing every day, such as books and reference material, and concealed storage for files and other items you don't want to look at all the time, such as extra printer paper.

Hide Unattractive Features

Cords are typically the biggest eyesore in a modern office. Run a power strip behind your desk and plug your computer and other electronic components into it. Be honest about other elements of your office that you don't want to look at all the time. For example, if staring at the printer on your desk every day is depressing, conceal it behind cabinet doors.

Finally, remember that setting up a home office is an ongoing process. It may take a few weeks or even a few months to decide on the space at home that works best for your office. Once you're settled into a space, don't be afraid to keep making tweaks to the layout to accommodate your current work needs and personal preferences. Get more tips and learn more about working remotely.

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