3rd July, 2018

5 tips for creating your home office

Having a home office can unlock more time and energy, but only if you put in the planning to get it right.

One of the biggest benefits working from home is flexibility. Not only do you get to choose your working hours, but you can also tailor the space where you spend those hours to your exact needs.

Rather than recreating the tired old ‘desk and chair’ style office cubicle, take time to plan out your space.

By following these few simple steps, you can make your home office start working for you.

1. Use your space wisely

Before dumping a desk in the corner of a room and hoping for the best, ask yourself what you need out of a home office.

Maybe it’s a lot of desk space, lots of storage space, a place for tools, plenty of light or even access to lots of power points; different offices need different things.

Once you establish what it is that you need, try and find the area of the house that best suits these.

If you’re hard-pushed for space, don’t panic.

Googling examples of micro offices can be a good start and inspire you to convert even the smallest space into a productivity hub.

If you find you have too many things cluttering your desktop, using storage boxes, tall bookshelves or even having shelving installed above your workspace will help free up some space.

2. Separate work life and private life

Working from home often means that ‘normal business hours’ are out the door as our personal and professional lives start to overlap.  It’s important, though, to set aside a space exclusively for work.

A good way to make sure your worlds are not colliding is to examine your home office space at the start of each week and remove any personal life distractions.

Keep your work space focussed on work, and move things like personal bills, TV remotes, junk mail, books and other non-work-related items.

READ: Blurred lines – when personal expenses are mixed with professional

Where possible, your office space should be as distinct from your other rooms as possible.  This simple differentiation can have a psychological effect on how you divide work and rest.

Another good reason to use your space exclusively for work comes at tax time.  Only expenses incurred maintaining exclusive workspaces at home can be claimed.

3. Embrace the light

Recent studies are discovering more and more links between poor mood and insufficient lighting.

If possible, your home office should include a window or two for a daily dose of fresh air and natural lighting.

If windows aren’t an option, take the time to shop around for different types of lamps and fans, ensuring that your designated space is well lit and well ventilated.

Experiment with different levels of lighting, or even different lighting tones to find out which works best for you.  As well as finding the right level of lighting, find the right types of lights.

From desk lamps to floor lamps, ensure your lighting is placed in strategic places around the office so that you’re always able to see without straining your eyes.

4. Ergonomics

Saving money on a home office is a good thing, unless it comes at the sacrifice of comfort and support.

According to a Lancet paper cited by the ABC, there are 3.7 million people in Australia who have suffered some kind of back pain in their lives.

Always make sure the top of your computer screen is at eye level, or a little below.

READ: OH&S for businesses 

If you’re using a laptop, it’s a good idea to get a stand and perhaps a wireless keyboard, or even use a stack of books to get your screen to the right level.

If possible, buy an ergonomic chair and make sure it is set to the right height for you, with your feet flat on the floor.

Keep an eye on your posture and your positioning throughout the day, rearranging the desk setup if you find yourself constantly twisting or having to lean.

5. Add plants

It has long been known that having plants around us when we’re indoors is beneficial for health and happiness.

Having plants in your home office can really help you feel like you’ve brought the outdoors in and can assist with productivity and overall work focus.

On top of that, plants look fantastic and most require minimal care to thrive.

At the end of the day, the space is yours to create and enjoy.

Your home office should be somewhere you enjoy being, a place that inspires you and provides you with the support you need to get the job done.