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Setting Up an Ideal Home Office Space

Why should you consider setting up an ideal home office space for your work? Due to the technology available now, the work-from-home concept and practice have reached a point where many types of work and employment are benefitting a lot from it.

The work-from-home advantages don’t only work for employees and workers, but also for business owners and stakeholders. If you know that this has been in practice years before the pandemic occurred, you wouldn’t be surprised at all. One would even wonder what the hype is all about. But then, not everyone can possibly be in the know considering that the traditional work setup can be advantageous for many. Even so, this article would enumerate all the possible and sensible benefits and advantages smart work-from-home employees and business owners have been thankful for.

Regardless of whether you consider starting a business from your home, working from home full-time, or needing an office to pursue a home business, the following tips will be helpful. You can optimize your home office to boost your productivity level and enjoy a nice balance between work and home. Now, let’s get started!

grey-home-office-with-planst

IMAGE ABOVE: Gray walls are offset by the warmth of wood materials on the floor and other furnishings. Minimalist design is enlivened by potted plants on the floor, the side table, and the work desk. 

 

Setting Up an Ideal Home Office That’s Perfect for You

Here are the benefits of a work-at-home setup.

  • Budget-Efficient

Whether you have an established business or looking to start one, paying rent, utility bills, and other costs incurred from a rented office space could amount to a lot of money per month. In contrast, setting up a home office means you don’t have to pay monthly rent and additional utility bills. You can do the math and see if it will save you a lot of money.

  • Convenience:

People who have clients in different time zones must adjust their schedules to meet their availability. Having a home office will make it easier to connect with clients during off-hours as well. And it is more convenient to slip into your home office for an hour than driving to an outside office.

  • Personal Freedom:

A home office also means you have no boss to look over your shoulder, no set work schedule, no dress code, and no office politics to contend with. All you need is time-management skills. Depending on your employment contract, you may generate income that would be commensurate to the work and dedication you render.

  • Relief from Daily Commuting

Another good thing about setting up a home office is that you don’t have to suffer long commutes to reach your land-based, traditional office. You not only save money but a lot of time as well.

  • Stress Reduction

With all the conveniences of working from home, setting up an ideal home office right inside your residence is much less stressful compared with a shared workplace. Study after study indicates that people who work at home have significantly lower stress levels than those working in an office environment.

So, how to set up a home office?

 

A No-Nonsense Guide to Putting Up a Home Office

Setting up a home office will lead to many benefits for your work or business, home life, and well-being. Not to mention your family life. The key benefits include the flexibility to set your own schedules, saving a lot of time and money from daily commuting, and allowing yourself to establish a business with less overhead expenditure. However, ensuring a home office’s success entails creating a space that promotes efficiency, creativity, and a comfortable atmosphere.

And also set up a professional work area that maintains some distance between your business and personal life. From location to high-speed internet access, everything is essential to increase efficiency and productivity, from lighting to the uninterrupted power supply.

1 | Find the Best Location

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IMAGE ABOVE: A traditional high-end home office exuding old-world charm and appeal

 

For some people, choosing a suitable place at home for an office is not a problem. Their home has ample area for one. Though some may have homes that are limited in square footage that creating one may be next to impossible. However, if you’re a creative thinker, you can easily get tips and ideas from interior design journals, and then create a home office setup that would fit your available space. Or if you are not, then ask for the help of an interior designer, space planner, or architect. It’s been many years since the tiny house movement started. And one can learn a lot from how really small living spaces can be optimized by choosing only the essentials. And going minimalist.

Consider checking out the unused corner in the larger rooms, closets that are empty and large enough, or understairs spaces, and corners. You will find plenty of spaces there that just require a bit of creativity to transform into an office. Also, try to imagine an existing setup in the bedrooms, hallways, and a closet big enough for a tiny home office space.

Points to consider before deciding on a location

Ask yourself:

  •  Will I be able to close the door when the working day is over or at least hide my work away?
  •  Consider distractions and whether the place you have decided on is free from noise, distractions, and interruptions.
  •  Is the view you are getting from the window inspiring and motivating? Or are they de-motivating and distracting?
  •  The appropriate lighting creates a good work environment so choose an area with an abundance of natural and artificial light at night.
  •  Is there ample room for your desk, chair, filing cabinet, and other essentials?

Considering these points will enable you to find a potential place to set up your home office, allowing you to reap the benefits for a long time.

 

2 | Make Design Decisions in Setting Up an Ideal Home Office, and Get Inputs from Experts

IMAGE ABOVE: In a spacious, well-appointed residence, a home office like this should not be so isolated from the rest of the house. A computer station near the opulent wooden CEO desk, the wall-hung widescreen TV,  and the mantle and fireplace provide a homey office ambiance and energy, minus the tension and sense of urgency in a typical land-based workplace. 

 

Experts that can help you are workplace interior architects, interior designers, and planners whose expertise is in office design for both corporate and home-based settings. And you need to articulate your typical work day and week, work preference, and what the work is all about, the office equipment and appliances needed in your work.

According to research carried out by the University of Exeter, making the right design decisions about your workplace increases your productivity level by up to 32% and improves your health and happiness levels.

Before hiring an office space planner for your home office, think of the important questions to ask that should help you imagine in your mind’s eye how it would look. Here are a few things you need to discuss with your home office guru.

Ask  these questions to yourself and your home office space planner

  • How much space or floor area in your home could be used, or a room that could be turned into a workplace
  • Consider comfort that could be provided by a room furnace, air handling unit, air-conditioning unit,
  • Controlling the noise level by acoustic soundproofing or noise-control barrier
  • Space should have access to natural ventilation. Include also air-handling units such as room air-conditioners, and others.
  • Identify all office furniture, gadgets, office appliances and machines, and home office conveniences to create the perfect home office den.
  • The home office area would benefit from direct access to a patio, terrace, or deck for a brief rest for both mind, eyes, and body.
  • Input your preferred style preferably minimalist, modern, or contemporary For Bohemian, shabby chic, period, rustic, country, and traditional styles, tone it down
  • Provide enough storage closets, shelves, and cabinets.

Make the entire room not only look great but also homey, energizing, and efficient. It’s a home office for your work. So, it should provide home amenities, comfort, and inspiration.

If you go for flamboyant interior design styles like art deco, art nouveau, or shabby chic, tone it down or create a cleaner-line version of them.  Unless of course the owner or client is a purist, dyed-in-the-wool fan of any of the listed period styles.

Are there items that keep you motivated and happy? Include them in your list of “must-haves.”

What other kinds of items do you want to have in your home office?

All these points will make you more comfortable and content in your home office, helping you increase your productivity level.

 

3 | Include Natural and Artificial Lighting

IMAGE ABOVE: The placement of the office desk is dictated by the windows on two adjacent walls, and the room’s east-west orientation. So the morning sun streams through the right window and the left. The controlled and minimally adorned room lends a restful, cheerful atmosphere, just right for working at home. 

 

This is truly a cinch but still needs to be stated and tackled. Once you have decided on a unique and appropriate, tailor-fit design for your home office, consider including natural and artificial lighting in your home office. According to research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, it is found that people who work in full natural light have a better quality of sleep compared to those working in low-light, windowless workplaces.

Research conducted by  Carnegie Mellon University has found that natural light and higher lighting levels are useful for boosting productivity. Another research investigating daylight in schools indicates that students who study in classrooms with more natural light progressed faster in math than those studying in classrooms with less natural light.

  • Decide the best location for your work-from-home office

An important consideration in setting up the home office space is the ability and freedom to decide where it should ideally be.  One in which both natural and artificial types of lighting are optimized.

Therefore, your home office should be in a location where there are enough windows for daylight illumination and ventilation. Regular windows are fine especially when they’re positioned opposite each other, or almost, to create cross-ventilation. Ideally, one window should be facing south for more sunlight. Productivity and creative thinking get a boost when sunlight streams through your windows.

Then nighttime artificial lighting should be strategically thought out to provide the ideal level of illumination for general lighting, accent lighting, and most especially for task lighting. Accent lighting is to emphasize nooks, corners, or displays to enhance the space. Task lighting helps you to have the right lighting for reading and doing office work on your working desk and area. Together they all create comfortable, interesting, and task-friendly lighting and ambiance for home office work to be pleasant.

Some other benefits of having an abundance of light include;

  •  Decreases the chances of mistakes when you are working.
  •  Good lighting refreshes your mood.
  •  It keeps you alert and active.
  •  Minimizes eye strain.

 

4 |  Add Privacy

setting-up-an-ideal-home-office Space

IMAGE ABOVE: A work-from-home young lady is in her home office or bedroom where she could have complete privacy 

 

Privacy is as important as public interaction. It is an essential factor that allows you to concentrate only on your work. The lack of privacy not only inhibits personal progress and self-expression but also disrupts one’s thought processes. Moreover, the lack of privacy in one’s workplace gives them less control over their working atmosphere, causing their productivity to suffer.

If you’re lucky to have a full room as your dedicated home office, you don’t have to worry about privacy since the room will have walls going all the way up from the floor to the ceiling and doors that you can close. However, if this is not the case and your office space is in the corner of your bedroom, it will be hard for you to separate your workplace from the rest of your home. Unless your bedroom is the master bedroom, and a corner space to set up an office is quite okay. Or perhaps a no longer used dressing room would be enough for an office.

 

  • A home office in the social or major area of your home

Here we’re talking about open-plan modern homes where the living and dining, and sometimes even a showcase kitchen all flow into each other. With that configuration, it would be possible to fit in an office area without making it seem awkwardly positioned.

In that case, adding a privacy divider to your home office is a good idea. You will easily find traditional dividers on the market that sits on the floor. . Alternatively, install customized screen dividers, office partitions, or Venetian panels.

The most ideal type of room for a home office is one that is flexible in its configuration. It’s already inside your house, so keeping the noise level down and cutting down on being interrupted are all within your control. The home office should have access to nature, like the outdoor yard. Working on a computer, whether a desktop, laptop top, or tablet can be taxing to the eyes. And going out for a breather, and training your eyes on the surroundings, especially those far away. It helps refocus your eyes to distant objects as looking at the computer screen for hours in a day can lead to eye trouble such as near-sightedness.

 

5 |  Add Touches of Green or Blue

gray-and-white-home-office-with-green accents

IMAGE ABOVE: A condo unit with an open plan living area. On the right is a small desk paired with an office chair on casters, In the foreground, a basket of different fruits is on a work table. Three different green hues are used on the walls: yellow-green adjacent to the TV console, and lime-green after the white stone wall. The other two adjacent walls are in pale light green. Notice that the different green hues of the walls are the colors of the apples and fruits in the basket. 

 

Colors enrich our lives in both subtle and powerful ways, giving us a certain positive feeling instantaneously as we enter a room. These feelings can vary from cozy and serene all the way to lively and energetic. They can be feelings of coziness, delight, energy, all those feelings that depend on the viewer or person experiencing a place or a room he is in.

And your home office place is no different. Smart people who work from home understand that the atmosphere or ambiance of their home office like the colors can refresh them and promote a positive mood altogether boosting their efficiency.

Research conducted by the University of Texas indicates that colors aren’t just capable of changing one’s mood; they also significantly impact productivity. It means it is vital to pick the right color for your home office to stimulate both creativity and productivity. That is why when setting up a home office choose a color that looks great to the eyes, increases output, and sparks creativity.

In this regard, it is believed that green and calming blue are the two most common low-wavelength colors that improve efficiency and focus while also lending an overall sense of well-being.

The Color Blue

dark-blue-living-room

IMABE ABOVE: A home office area is defined by a bluish-gray low partition, adjacent to a living room with a dark blue accent wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue is the more common dominant or accent color choice for a workplace at home. It is recommended for people who require work productivity enhancement. You can pick out two to three from an array of shades for a soothing yet vibrant work environment. But since shades of blue are mixed from pure blue color added with black to tame its intensity and purity, be careful in choosing which shades to use. Veer away from blue shades that are too dark to avoid a gloomy, cold atmosphere. Enliven the blue shade with some neutral colors like warm light grays and light browns or tans.

The Color Green

home-office-with-green-painted walls-and-office desk

IMAGE ABOVE: A sparsely appointed home office directs the focus on the office desk with an area rug to visually anchor it. The hard-to-miss tall indoor tree and artwork on the wall are enough to make this room visually appealing. However, the reddish-brown baseboard on the wall and the window trim could have been painted in a more neutral and lighter shade to not compete with the main focal point.

 

Green is the color of nature. While associating with growth, renewal, trust, wisdom, hope, fertility, and harmony, it encourages broader thinking and creativity. For your home office environment where you need inspiration, green is the color that feeds the impulse of innovation and pushes the momentum forward. Moreover, softer green shades are also a wise choice that reduces anxiety and encourages balance.

Furthermore, the color also minimizes eye strain, which means it is a wise pick for people to work for prolonged hours. It is restful and enhances vision.

 

Other Colors Are Also Just As Good, or Maybe Better

However, this doesn’t mean that you should be forced or encouraged to follow this rule to the max. They’re not set in stone. And a set kind of colors is not the only way that makes people feel comfortable in a place or room. The light quality and illumination, the night lighting, the configuration of the room, the amenities, and whether it’s minimalist, modern, traditional, or bohemian in design. There are thousands of other people who gravitate to other colors besides green and blue. And the different shades, tones, and tints of blue and greens are just as great as the other hues. How each person perceives and likes or hates them can be different.  It’s not always logic at work but personal preference, too.

Lastly, other areas or portions of the room could have hues that are more sophisticated and pleasing to the eyes such as tones. They are pure colors with gray added. Tints are hues with white added which makes them lighter and “softer.” Shades are hues with primary or pure colors added with black. They’re much less intense than pure colors, and in comparison, they are much less distracting.

 

6 |  Get a High-Speed Internet

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IMAGE ABOVE: A work-from-home guy doing some stuff on the laptop holding a cup of black coffee with his left hand

 

A recent study in Australia states that the biggest reason for employee frustration is slow internet connectivity. It isn’t only annoying, but it also decreases your productivity level. While you are waiting for documents to download, attachments to upload, web pages to load, or files to transfer, you could be getting work done.

Another research indicates that employees waste more than a week each year waiting to get a response through their internet connection. If you’re spending a week on finding missing documents and another week waiting to get a response from your slow internet, you are wasting an entire year’s vacation. You could have spent that with your family at one of your favorite locations. Here are more tips to help you.

So, when you are setting up an ideal home office, make sure to pick an internet service provider that is fast and reliable.

 

7 |  Include a Standing Desk

man-working-on-his-computer-at-a-standing-desk

IMAGE ABOVE: A working guy doing work-from-home at a standing desk using his computer

 

Many people believe that including a standing desk while setting up home office space is just a trend and has nothing to do with productivity, which is not true. A standing desk (also known as a sit-stand desk or height-adjustable desk) is an excellent addition that you should add to your home office for ultimate comfort and excellent production rates.

There’s one amazing advantage of having a standing desk in your home workplace. That is, it will keep the stress and tension in your body at bay. Sitting for a prolonged time causes various unpleasant health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and so on. Alternatively, if you’re not convinced, just form the habit of taking short breaks from work and do some walking.

  • Arguments for adding a standing desk in your home office

Working for up to eight hours without much opportunity to move your body or stretch your legs is not good. With a standing desk, you can move your body and stretch your legs anytime you want. Moreover, standing also allows you to maintain a better posture. It’s one of the conveniences one can add in setting up an ideal home office

Furthermore, even if we are sitting and the desk is adjusted at the proper height, we still lean toward our laptop screens, which creates a hunched posture. This can result in neck, shoulders, or back pain that could lead to long-term muscle problems.

On the flip side, we get more natural feelings in a standing position since we maintain a straight posture. However, ensuring to maintain this posture needs you to set the desk at the proper height. You might also discover that altering your positions between sitting and standing throughout the day will prevent pressure on your hips as well.

  • So, how does having a standing desk in your home office increase productivity?

The logical explanation for this productivity boost means you will reap the health benefits. And if you feel better, both physically and mentally, you will eventually enhance the quality of your work.

Don’t forget, in a home office you have the freedom to take small breaks as often as you need to. So, you can just stand up, walk and move around more. And isn’t it that at home, whether you’re engaged in your home-based work, doing house work, or spending time with your family, you get to sit, stand up, move around, walk up and down the stairs, or work in your backyard?

 

8 |  Keeps your Home Office Clean and Tidy

IMAGE ABOVE: Every item on this desk is carefully placed making it clean and tidy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When setting up an ideal home office, it is vital to keep it clutter-free. It is difficult to work in a disorganized environment or workplace. Mess and clutter affect creativity and productivity. A clean, orderly workplace not only helps boost productivity but also improves your overall health and well-being.

A shipshape and immaculate work environment unleashes your creativity. So, when cleaning up your workplace, the first thing to do is to get rid of all unnecessary items and sources of distraction. For items you don’t use daily but you want to keep in your workplace, keep them organized in a drawer or other accessible storage.

Purchase office organizers and shelves, which are explicitly designed to keep your office paraphernalia easily accessible and, well, organized. Include filing cabinets and decorative baskets to make sure everything can easily be found if you need it. Moreover, organizing things in your home office will not only be pleasing to the eyes; they will also improve the way the entire home looks, save your time, and increase your contentment and productivity.

Also, make sure to keep a trash can near your desk to throw rubbish, like old magazines, unnecessary notes, receipts, old documents, and other no longer needed stuff.

 

 

9 |  Add Office Plants in Setting Up an Ideal Home Office

sculptural-plant-in-a-corner

IMAGE ABOVE: A sculptural-looking plant is big enough and so beautiful that it enhances the work-from-home cum living area in this home

 

Indoor plants in your home office yield numerous proven health benefits. As humans, we love to interact with nature. However, the places where we spend most of our time, such as the workplace,  don’t offer much of the natural environment.

Studies have proven that adding some greenery, such as houseplants, has various benefits for employees and people who work remotely. Having houseplants in your workplace keeps the air toxins-free, increases satisfaction, and heightens self-reported concentration.

Another research states that people surrounded by office plants are more productive than those working in environments that don’t have them. Some significant benefits of having office plants while setting up an ideal home office include:

  •  They help to reduce or prevent stress.
  •  Plants help to boost productivity levels.
  •  They make your home office a more pleasant environment.
  •  Plants provide fresh and clean air.
  •  They encourage creative thinking.
  • House plants increase indoor humidity.

However, you cannot place any plant in your workplace since not all of them can thrive there. You have to consider plant needs such as sunlight, regular watering, and others depending on the species. Some best office plants that you can have include succulents and cacti.

see also HPJ article on plants for office

 

Final Thoughts

The best thing about setting up an ideal home office is you can set it up in any part of your house that has enough space. It could be in the basement, in a cozy corner, or anywhere else inside your home – the options are only limited by the available space and your imagination. However, you should consider the points mentioned above to make the workplace environment pleasant and comfortable. There are lots of benefits of a work-at-home setup. And there are many ways to enhance them based on your needs and preference. That way you will truly enjoy and benefit from it more. In short, the best place to do your office work is right there in your restful, comfortable home.

FAQs

Q: How does adding office plants to your workplace helps to increase your productivity?
Answer:

Adding office plants to your home office contributes to cleaner and fresh air. They also make the place more inviting and stimulate creative thinking. Moreover, they reduce stress levels so that you can concentrate on your work in a better way.

 

Q: What items are must-haves in the home office setup?
Answer:

For setting up an efficient home office, make sure you have high-speed internet access, a desk (and/or a standing desk, maybe), a comfortable chair, adequate lighting (including natural lighting), a telephone, and a set of organizers to put the files and other items in order.

setting-up-an-ideal-home-office

IMAGE ABOVE: This home office has almost all the pluses of a good one: privacy, good lighting and ventilation, a laptop and a desk lamp, drawers, a stand for often used materials, and an interior design that’s refreshing and nice to look at. What may be on the unseen side is a comfortable bed, a night table, and a lounging chair. 

 

Home Office Necessities for Home-Based Business