How to Set Up a Productive Home Office

Harness these helpful hints for creating a productive work environment in the comfort of home.

Find out how to set up a productive home office space.

Remote work is the new reality for many of us. While some employees are thriving outside the traditional office, others are struggling with this new normal – it can be hard to focus on work when you’re sitting next to a pile of laundry or Netflix is calling your name!

However, with a few adjustments, you can boost your productivity and turn chaos and clutter into a calm, clean, and creative space. Here are five tips for designing a new kind of office:

  1. Choose a dedicated space
  2. Consider your coworkers
  3. Get comfortable
  4. Get organized
  5. Make it your happy place

Keep reading for more helpful hints on how to set up your own home office.

Choose a dedicated space

It might be tempting to write a report while still in bed or on a comfy couch. But you’ll be in a much better headspace for a productive eight hours if you set up an intentional space to go while you’re working that you can then leave behind at the end of the workday. This can also help you set healthy boundaries, so you’re less tempted to log on and answer emails at 11 p.m.

If you don’t have the space to take over an entire room, there are still ways to select a dependable work spot. For instance, even in a tiny apartment, a small table in a corner away from potential distractions and with natural light will do the trick. If all else fails, invest in noise-canceling headphones.

Consider your coworkers

After the fifth time an important meeting is interrupted by your cat knocking something over or your spouse asking where the snacks are, you’ll understand the importance of setting up a dedicated location where you can (kindly) drown out distractions from your kids, pets, and partners.

Every home has a unique routine that will work for them. For example, some two-parent households set up alternating schedules or adjust their work hours to take turns working and caring for children throughout the day. If you have a dog, make a plan for when they inevitably bark during a presentation, such as shutting the door to your dedicated workspace or being prepared to hit “mute.”

Communication is key. Find a system to signal to your family or roommate that you’re on an important call. And be honest with your coworkers when things get hectic at home.

Get comfortable

Many organizations have invested in ergonomics over the last several years to improve employees’ comfort, productivity, and efficiency. But medical experts worry that most home offices aren’t ergonomically ideal. Check out these tips to improve ergonomics at home, whether you’re at a dedicated desk or the kitchen counter.

If you don’t have a good source of natural light in your home office space, try a task light or a small desk lamp to illuminate your work.

A good chair is essential for proper posture and comfort. Learn what to look for when purchasing a new office chair or choosing one you already have at home.

If you’re used to using two or more monitors, need a power strip, or miss your ergonomic mouse, speak with your supervisor about bringing home whatever office equipment you’ll need to be your most productive.

You should also make sure to make time for movement. Without meetings and lunch breaks, it can be easy to sit for more extended periods than usual. Turn bathroom breaks into movement breaks and consider going for a few short walks throughout the day.

Get organized

We promise: dedicate just an hour or two to cleaning and de-cluttering, and you’ll soon have a handle on your home office. Suggestions for your to-do list include:

  • Create a filing system. Use color coding, file folders, labels, tabs, a hanging wall organizer, or a more traditional filing cabinet.
  • Centralize your calendar. Hang a dry erase board or a large wall calendar to keep track of important dates and deadlines. Or, go paperless and set up calendars and reminders on your computer or phone.
  • Place trash and recycling bins nearby for easy access. Throw away or recycle dried-up pens, old magazines, and outdated documents.
  • Use storage containers, baskets, or bins to stash supplies.
  • Wrangle your wires. Use cable ties or Velcro to wrap up loose wires. Better yet, consider upgrading your printer, keyboard, and mouse to wireless versions.

Stock up on shelving. Whether you have room for a full bookcase or can only fit a few small display shelves, get things like personal photos, potted plants, and books off your desk and out of your way.

Make it your happy place

Most importantly, make your space your own—a place you can feel calm and comfortable in for the bulk of your day. Achieving this might be as simple as setting up a few framed photos or some scented candles (not typically allowed at most businesses!) or inviting your pets to snuggle up nearby during the workday. You can make an even bigger splash and truly make your space your own by redecorating or repainting the entire room.

Everything you need to set up a productive and personalized home office is available in our online catalog. We stock everything from pens and pencils to printers and poster frames! Shop online or call our local customer concierge at (608) 310-4300 today.