Working from home offers many perks — great work-life balance, no commute, the flexibility to work as you please, and being close to loved ones, among many others. As creatives, working at home can be especially beneficial because we can work whenever we’re feeling most inspired and ideas are just flowing.
However, it’s not enough to wait for inspiration to be productive at home. It calls for having a dedicated office space that promotes creativity and concentration while also integrating comfortably with your living space, work style, and personal preferences.
So how do you set up a home office that fits your work, your house, and your life? Here are a few practical tips.
The first key step in having a productive work life at home is identifying where your home office will be. Distractions at home are endless — every time you look away from your computer, you’ll see the pile of dishes that needs washing, the dog that wants to be cuddled, or a stack of mail that should be sorted out.
The most ideal space would be a closed-off room with an actual door between your office and the rest of the house. This way, you have a visual cue (the door) for where work physically starts and stops.
Of course, that’s not possible in smaller living spaces like one-bedroom or studio apartments. Whichever corner of the house you pick, make sure it’s an area devoted to getting work done and not impinged upon by other activities in the house. Yes, artists, that means your dining table does not double as a drafting table.
Working from home doesn’t mean you should neglect your daily dose of vitamin D. Place your desk near the windows, but parallel to the panes. This setup gives you the benefits of natural light to elevate your work mood and productivity and gives you a good reason to turn away from your desk to take in the sun.
Still, don’t forget about artificial lighting. You’ll still need them for darker days or working at night because in general, house lighting is not ideal for work. Try different table or floor lamps that can brighten up your office space as needed.
Ergonomics should also be a priority in your home office; otherwise, you will never be comfortable long enough to sit at your desk to finish editing that video or writing that article. The top your computer screen should be at eye level to reduce eye fatigue and neck and shoulder strain. Invest on a chair that’s good for your back so you can spend hours parked in it.
As you set up your home office, think about how you’ll stay organized. While creatives are stereotyped to be messy (and for good reason), clutter is actually not good for you and your productivity.
There are thousands of organizational boxes, cabinets, etc. available to help you keep your home office neat, but if you’re already scanning documents and receipts digitally, why get a filing cabinet? If you only ever use your favorite pen, why bother with a pen cup? Sometimes having these organizing items only makes you accumulate more stuff, so carefully consider what will really help you stay clutter-free.
Research suggests that employees who design their own workspace can not only make them happier and healthier, but also 32% more productive. With your home office, you have the freedom to make every design decision.
To do that, think about your personal productivity style first. Are you able to design art better in a minimalist environment? Or do you need a pack of color in your surroundings to feel inspired? Also, try adding some personal keepsakes and decor to make you more comfortable in your home office.
Inspiration flourishes in environments where distractions are few, lighting and comfort are prioritized, clutter is minimal, and your personal style is considered. Consider these tips to help you build an office space that can help you create your next best work— right in the comfort of your own home.
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