There are definitely perks to working from the comfort of your own home. There’s no need to fight a busy commute, deal with cranky co-workers, or even get changed out of your PJ’s. Instead, you can roll out of bed and take a few steps to your conveniently located home office and get to work.
But as convenient as a home office can be, it’s easy for the lines to be blurred between work and home life. Further, home offices can often be inefficient when they’re not set up properly, which can have negative effects on your productivity levels.
If you have the advantage of working from home, consider the following tips to make your office an efficient one.
Select the Right Area in Your Home
Many people end up working from their kitchen or dining room table when they work from home, but these spaces are usually not conducive to a productive home office. These spaces will often have to be shared with kids’ homework, piles of mail, and, of course, daily meals.
Instead, choose an area in your home that can be dedicated solely to your office. Ideally, it should be in an area that’s quiet, private, and spacious enough to house all of your office furniture, equipment, and supplies.
Lighten it Up
Unfortunately, there are plenty of offices that are dark and dingy and don’t promote productive work. Don’t let that happen with your home office space. Instead, ensure that you have ample lighting to ensure both productivity and a cheerful environment.
Ideally, you should have plenty of natural light. If not, you can make up for it by adding layers of different types of lighting, including floor lamps, table lamps, and overhead lights. Just be sure that your computer screen is positioned in such a way that it does not reflect any glare from the lighting, which can put added strain on your eyes.
Make it Ergonomically Correct
You might not think that you can suffer a physical injury just from sitting at a desk all day, but you might be surprised to know how many people head to their doctor’s offices complaining of pain in their wrists, neck, and back as a result. The truth is, if you’re not sitting properly or not at the right height for your desk, all the repetitive motion can cause chronic injury.
You can effectively prevent such physical discomfort by making sure that your office furniture is ergonomically correct and adjusted according to your height and body proportion.
But an ergonomically correct office doesn’t just stop at the furniture. It’s up to you to use your office equipment properly, and that means making sure that you’re sitting straight up, shoulders back, eyes aligned vertically with your computer screen, and elbows at a 90° angle. Finally, be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch and move your body around.
Keep Your Supplies Readily Available
It can be easy to interrupt your focus and lose your groove if you need to stop on a regular basis to get up and reach for something that you need, whether it’s more paper for your printer, a new pen, or folder. Whatever you need to stay productive in your home office should be within easy reach at all times. Be sure to keep your office well stocked of all things that keep your production level up.
Keep Your Technology Up-to-Date
Nothing is more frustrating than technology that’s nearly obsolete. A slow internet connection or a computer with an operating system that doesn’t support the programs you need can throw a wrench in your productivity levels. If you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time working from home, it makes sense to ensure that your home office is outfitted with equipment that will serve your specific needs.
Keep a Dedicated Work Phone
More and more people are ditching their home phone lines for cell phones. But if you still have a landline at home, make sure not to use it for both personal and business purposes. If you still like the idea of having a landline to deal with clients or peers, be sure to get yourself a second line that’s dedicated specifically to your home office. Or else, consider getting yourself a second cell phone to serve the same purpose.
Set Regular Office Hours
If you were to work in a regular office, you’d likely have to clock in and out at your assigned start and end times. But when you work from home, you’re free to start and stop whenever you like, as long as all your work is completed and your clients have been attended to.
That said, it’s easy to spill work into home life when you work from home. Not only can this interfere with your focus on your work, but it can also impede on your social and home life.
While you have some flexibility when you work from home, consider establishing certain work hours so that you can focus solely on your work during that designated time frame. Then, once you’re done, you can free your mind from your work responsibilities and enjoy your free time doing what you please without having to sneak in a phone call or email in between.
The Bottom Line
Being able to work from home certainly has its obvious perks. But if you want to make sure that your productivity levels remain high, you’ll want to ensure that your home office is set up properly. With a private, quiet, dedicated space, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to crank out just as much work at home as you would at the office.