Today, people either work from home or end up bringing their job home with them. Paperwork, phone calls, expense reports, you name it: everyone needs a comfortable, productive space to work from home when necessary. At Waterfront of West Clay, we know how important it is to have a space you can settle into when you have work to do, so we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you create the ultimate home office!
Setting Up Your Space
Whether your home office has its own room or is tucked into a corner at the top of the stairs, maintaining a professional, productive home office depends on how you set up your space. You need to be sure to have plenty of room for your working area and for office storage (files, office supplies, etc). This may require a bit of creativity, but it can be done in any space.
A rule of thumb for a comfortable home office is to be sure that any frequently used files or supplies are easily accessible from your workspace. For example, you could build your own desk using file cabinets as the base. However, don’t sacrifice form for function. Desks, shelves, and storage in your home office is meant to serve you, so be sure to think about how you work and what items you need within reach before investing in furniture.
Once you have the furniture for your home office and are starting to organize, remember the old adage, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” This phrase is meant to help relieve stress; an organized desk is essential to the productivity and comfort of a home office. To help you achieve maximum organization of your work area, consider pencils cups to keep all writing instruments in one place, business card holders, or bulletin boards to display important papers. This will help to ensure that there really is a place for everything.
If your desk doesn’t have enough space for all of your storage items, consider hanging floating shelves to get papers and office equipment off the desk. When it comes to file organization, consider how you usually organize your paperwork: are you a stacker or a filer? Filing cabinets and desktop file organizers work for some people, but if you’re more of a stacker, you can get a nice basket for your piles. Setting yourself up for success is the most important part of designing your home office, so be sure to create a space that’s both comfortable and functional!
Lighting in home offices has become increasingly important as more and more work tasks are being done on the computer. When setting up a home office, be sure to embrace natural lighting. People tend to reflexively put their desks up against the wall in the darkest corner of the room, but this essentially recreates the soulless corporate cubicle. We suggest moving your desk close to the windows but keeping it parallel to the panes. Natural daylight is the most evenly balanced source of light available, as sunlight has an equal proportion of each color in the spectrum. Setting up your work area to maximize access to natural light allows you the benefits of all that light coming in through the window without too much distraction.
Proper lighting in your home office can also help reduce eye strain that comes along with too much computer work. When setting up lighting in your home office, don’t place it directly above computer screens and don’t put a computer screen directly in front of a light. These setups will increase eye strain and decrease the comfort and productivity of your work area.
If you’re not sure what kind of lights to buy for your office, consider daylight-replicating light sources that provide energy-efficient, full-spectrum lighting. We also suggest finding light fixtures that have dimmer switches so you can control the brightness of your office lighting throughout the day. Poor lighting can have negative psychological effects, so remember these tips when equipping your home office with lights.
The psychology of color is real; in humans, certain colors evoke different emotional and physical responses. Colors can impact your mood and energy level, so it’s important to consider what color is best suited to your home office.
Blues, greens, and violets are considered cool colors that can elicit feelings of peace and relaxation. Blue rooms have actually been known to lull people to sleep. These colors are ideal bedroom colors but are not conducive to home office spaces.
Yellow is an attention-grabbing color; it catches your eye and makes you pause for a moment. However, in a home office, yellow can be distracting or overpowering. Red is known to be energetic and stirring. It can produce strong feelings of excitement. Because of this, we suggest using red only as an accent color in your home office.
Green is the dominant color in nature and is considered to be neutral. Green rooms tend to evoke restful emotions and can help you concentrate. Painting your home office green can add freshness and vitality to the room while enhancing its balance. White, gray, tan, and ivory are considered neutral colors that carry overtones of other colors. These hues are not distracting and can be combined with accent colors, such as red, to create vitality and energy. Using purples as accent colors have also been shown to stimulate the imagination. Purple tones straddle the line between warm and cool colors, creating an environment of focus and concentration.
Perhaps the single most important piece of your home office is your desk chair. You may be parked in that chair for hours, so choosing an ergonomically-correct, comfortable seat is not a decision that should be made lightly.
Chair manufacturers have made significant strides in improving the designs of desk chairs for computer users. The ideal office chair will include features such as lumbar support that is gentler on your back and spine during long office hours. Once you have the perfect chair selected, consider adding a footrest or an ergonomic mouse pad shaped to fit your hand. These small additions will make you more comfortable in your new home office, allowing you to get more done.