When surveyed, more than half of all employees said they want to work from home. But not everyone has a functional home office space that is optimized for productivity.
From cluttered desks to uncomfortable dining room furniture, working from home can be overwhelming if you don’t have a well-designed office space.
In this post, we’ve asked some experts who work from home to share their tips on creating the best home office, so you can create the workspace of your dreams.
The Benefits of a Comfortable & Functional Home Office
It’s not just about making your office look beautiful; a comfortable and functional home office has some important benefits.
A quiet place to work
When your home office is actually your kitchen table or dining room, it’s hard to focus and get any work done. Kids and pets are easily distracting, and it’s almost impossible to keep your work organized without a dedicated space.
Setting up a dedicated home office in a spare room allows you to quiet the noise and chaos of the rest of the house and focus on your work. By making it functional and comfortable, you’ll get more work done and enjoy the process more.
Freedom to create your ideal workspace
Some workplaces have rules about desk decorations and personal items, which make them feel stifled and uninspiring. Not to mention the furniture can be less than ideal and hard to make your own.
When you have the freedom to design your own home office, you can customize it to your work and comfort needs. From the type of chair to the paint colors and accessories, you can add whatever you need to make it your own.
Fewer aches and pains
Office furniture is bought in bulk with price in mind. Although most offices provide ergonomic chairs, they rarely suit everyone.
If you find yourself getting a bad back, wrist cramps, or eye fatigue often, your office probably isn’t working for you.
When you design a home office with comfort and function in mind, you can add furniture designed to minimize aches and pains. This could be a new ergonomic chair, walking desk, raised computer screen, or wrist support.
Readiness for future emergencies
We all hope we don’t face another pandemic, but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Many people who had to quickly start working from home didn’t have a dedicated workspace set up, so it was stressful trying to continue working without any real home office space.
By setting up your home office now, you future-proof yourself against a future pandemic or job change.
A healthier environment
Did you know that people who work from home report better health and well-being overall? However, around 29% of people surveyed said it was worse for their health. Much of this could be attributed to their home work environment.
If you work from the sofa, you’re going to get a bad back. Likewise, if you’re sitting at your dining table arched over a laptop, you’re not going to feel great.
Having a modern, inviting home office set up will help ensure you’re on the positive side of those surveys and give you a healthier environment to work in.
The average American spends 27.6 minutes on a one-way commute. Unless you’re lucky enough to work close to home, commuting takes a massive chunk out of your day.
Working from home eliminates your commuting time, giving you more time to focus on projects or spend time with your family in the morning and evening.
When you set up a functional home office, you get a lot of new flexibility and a better work-life balance. Perhaps you want to incorporate a gym space to help you work out more often or include storage to help organize your family’s important paperwork.
A home office is the perfect place to get creative and accomplish a lot in just one space.
Increased home value
The more features your home has, the better its value. If it comes time to sell in the future and you have a stunning home office, you’ll find it much easier to sell your home than if you just had a cluttered spare room.
Take some time to design a beautiful, comfortable home office, and you’ll see the benefits.
Tips for Making Your Home Office Amazing
If you have no idea where to start when renovating your home office, here are some top tips to help you get started.
Start with a Good Foundation
Before you start shopping for desks or pictures, make sure you have a great foundation to work with. Map out the dimensions of your home workspace and figure out where everything will go.
Do you have space for built-in storage? Do you need to add new floors? Could the room use a fresh coat of paint to brighten it up?
When it comes to colors, go for calming tones and neutrals. Remember, this is a place where you need peace and concentration, so the base color is extremely important.
Some of the best colors for a home office space are:
- Deep blue and navy promote calm and concentration. Add mustard yellow accents for a modern look.
- Green balances emotions and promotes calm. Add a pop of pastel pink for a trending home office color scheme.
- Earthy orange is energizing and can help with creativity. Add some neutral tones to help create a cohesive scheme.
- You can never go wrong with gray as a base color. This is calming and easy to combine with almost any accent color to create an appealing home office scheme.
When you’re putting together a color scheme, stick with three main colors: a base color for the walls, an accent color for furniture and furnishings, and an accent color for pops of interest. Any more, and you’ll overwhelm the space.
When you’re aiming for functionality, home office gadgets are a must. There are hundreds of things you can buy for your home office, but there are a few basics you can get started with:
- A wireless mouse and keyboard – these eliminate the mess of wires and make it much easier to scroll and type.
- Underdesk elliptical machine – these are great for keeping you moving throughout the day and can help prevent back problems and muscle cramps.
- A conference camera with a speaker – if you have a lot of Zoom meetings, a dedicated 360-degree camera with a speaker will be a lifesaver, rather than depending on your old, blurry laptop camera.
- Office chair cushion – if you suffer from backache, a memory foam office chair cushion will work wonders.
- Monitor stand – these help raise your computer screen to a more comfortable height, so you’re not bent over and damaging your spine.
- Adjustable standing desk – if you can, get a desk that raises to a standing position, so you have the option to sit and stand throughout the day.
“If I had to choose my favorite office gadget, it would be my electric mug warmer. It keeps my coffee hot for as long as I need, which stops me from getting up every hour to get a fresh cup when I’m in the middle of projects. If you’re a coffee lover, too, I’d highly recommend one.” – April from Brew That Coffee
When you’re setting up your home office, stick with just one or two gadgets to begin with. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm the space with all the tech and accessories that you don’t end up using.
Incorporate Comfortable and Ergonomic Features
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your office looks; if it’s not ergonomic, it won’t be functional on a daily basis. When you’re looking for office furniture, comfort is key.
Make sure the desk is the right height for your sitting position (an adjustable desk is preferred, which means you can customize it to your needs).
When it comes to your chair, always go for comfort over aesthetics. Ergonomic chairs are made to support the lower back and help reduce pain in people who sit for hours at a time at their desks.
“As a screenplay writer and editor, I spend hours at my computer every day. Without an ergonomic chair and large desk, I’d never get my projects completed. If you work with clients and write a lot like me, invest in the best home office furniture you can – it’s worth it.” – Neil from Neil Chase Film
If you do spend a lot of time sitting at your desk, don’t forget to take regular breaks to get up and stretch. Your spine will thank you later!
Add Personal Touches
Personal touches are what make any home office personal and fun to be in. We tend to hate workspaces because they’re sterile and boring. But when we design our own offices, we can get creative.
Incorporate things you love and are passionate about so you love going into your home office. This could be artwork, pictures your kids made, movie memorabilia, or plants.
Figure out what would make your home office a joy to be in for you, and add those personal touches to make it totally your own.
Optimize Organization and Storage
Home offices tend to have a lot of paperwork, files, and office supplies. Not to mention they become a dumping ground for all the stuff in your home you have no place for.
But as soon as your home office becomes cluttered, you won’t want to work in it anymore. So, optimizing your organization and storage is key.
Box files, folders, and a ton of labels are essential for any paperwork you need to keep. Take the time to create a system that works for you and maintain it by decluttering and organizing paperwork at least once a week.
“An easy way to keep a home office organized is to substitute physical items with digital tools. For example, you don’t need paper calendars if you have an online one, and you don’t need office supplies like calculators if you use a digital one.” – Alastair from The Calculator Site
Create a Productive Atmosphere
If you run a business from home, a productive work environment will help you stay on top of orders and use your time effectively. Everything should have a dedicated place, from product creation to packing and shipping.
“If you run a handmade business, your home office should run like a well-oiled machine. Everything should have a place, including your supplies, tools, shipping labels, and everything in between. Without a productive space, you’ll waste countless hours searching for things, which could be time used for marketing or making more orders.” – Leo from CNC Sourced
For those in the service industry, your productive atmosphere will look far more minimal. You might feel more productive with a clear desk, paperwork tucked away in files and just the essentials on show. In this case, digital tools will play an important role in boosting your productivity.
Working from home can be a great opportunity to boost your productivity, improve your well-being, and increase your job satisfaction. But it can also quickly become stressful and overwhelming if you don’t have a functional home office.
Whether you’re setting up a home office for the first time or you need to renovate an existing one, keep these tips in mind to create a functional, comfortable home office that works for you.