Here at Razor Sharp Digital, we are fully remote. That means that everybody that works for us works from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that option more common for all workers. People want to know: how can you create a home office that you can be productive in? We’re here today to share some of our favorite tips and tried-and-true successes for a good work from home spot.
The Perfect Spot
When setting up your ideal work from home space, it’s best to find a space in your home, like a spare bedroom or spot in the basement. Ideally, you would use a small room that can hold a desk and computer equipment with a working door. It’s important to find a quiet spot that’s free from any distractions so that you can take calls, attend video meetings, and get work done without problems.
If you can’t get a dedicated space, try to find a space you can use that is out of the rest of the household’s way as much as possible. Our social media coordinator has a spot set up in the corner of her dining room, so the room is a dual-purpose space.
If you have a partner, roommate, or child who also needs to work from home, you can create a shared office. Rather than having multiple people working in different areas throughout your home, a shared workspace can keep business (and school, if necessary) in one room. If you’re worried about getting distracted working with another person, look for ways you can set up room dividers between workstations. Make sure you have headphones readily available so that you can tune out any noises when needed.
The Right Desk For You
For home office desks for most, you’ll want something that’s big enough to fit your computer, store basic office supplies, and allow you to spread out. If you already have a desk that fits these needs, great! If not, you can find tons of desk options from various stores, from standing desks and writing desks to L-shaped desks and small corner desks. The options really depend on your needs, how much space you need, how many monitors you have, etc. Whichever option you go with, be sure it’s a reasonable height for your needs and works with the office chair you have.
A Good Chair
There are a lot of bad chairs out there that can actually injure you over prolonged use. Dining chairs and deck chairs, for example, rarely are at the right height, and they don’t always encourage the needed upright posture. If you can afford it, get an adjustable professional office chair, where you can set a precise fit for your body and workspace. You will need to test them out in person if possible. You cannot tell the perfect fit from a picture on a website.
Make sure your chair features things like adjustable height, a way that can make it roll, something that provides lumbar support for the lower back, and ideally has adjustable positions. An armrest is preferable, but only if you use it correctly. This means your forearm should rest lightly on the armrest. There should be no pressure from your arm onto the armrest. The armrest basically should remind your arm to stay in the right position, not support its weight.
The lighting in your area is very important to your work, but most don’t realize that. Lighting is often an area people don’t think about. Ideally, you have sufficient indirect light to illuminate your workspace, so you can easily read papers and see physical objects.
Overhead lighting is usually best, such as from a ceiling lamp. You can go a step further by adding a desk lamp or a floor lamp near your space. Better yet, when looking for an area in your home for working remotely, try to set up next to a window so that you can have access to natural light. This provides both good office lighting and can improve your focus and general mood while working!
Don’t place a lamp right next to a monitor, where you end up with competing light sources and possible glare. You may need lamps for additional lighting, but if possible, place them in a way that they don’t create glare on the monitor screen and are not in your direct field of vision when you’re working on the computer.
Likewise, make sure your monitor’s brightness is not too dim or too bright, both of which can cause eyestrain. “Too dim” and “too bright” are subjective, of course, but the monitor’s lighting intensity should be just a little brighter than your ambient lighting, and that ambient lighting should be sufficient to read paper documents without additional light.
Keeping Your Space Organized
One of the best ways to stay productive during remote work is by keeping your home office organized. First, go through your space and remove any items that don’t need to be there. This will eliminate clutter and help you stay focused. Next, look at ways you can organize the items that you need in your home office. Separate important documents or files in a secure cabinet or desk drawer with a filing system. Use a desk organizer to keep any pens, highlighters, or sticky notes all in one place. And store big items like books and notebooks on shelves or in labeled storage bins to keep your workspace tidy.
Shelves are good to have in a home office. Not only do shelves provide a place for you to store items up and out of the way, which keeps your office organized, but they can also give you room to decorate your home workstation. Opt for floating shelves to display items like pictures, small plants, and other home decor. Install bookshelves to store binders, books, storage bins, and other office supplies.
Stay on Track with a Planner
A simple solution for keeping yourself accountable while working at home is to use a calendar, chalkboard, whiteboard, pegboard, or daily planner in your home office for notes and reminders. This makes it easy to stay on top of deadlines, meetings, and tasks while you’re working remotely. At the beginning of each day or week, put together a list of what’s coming up and what you need to tackle so that you can remain focused and productive at home.
Bring Plants Into Your Office
Simply looking at a plant can reduce stress. Just because you are at home does not mean working from home will not get stressful. A plant can be beneficial to your general wellness. Plants add color to your home office and can even remove toxins from the space. Succulents are our favorite low-maintenance option.
Don’t Forget To De-Stress
Working from home is hard for many people, especially when sharing a home office or also having to take care of children and pets while at home. That’s why it’s important to include some stress relief during your home workday. Working by a window when there is nice weather is a great stress reducer. Get a few candles in your favorite scent and light them when you are feeling stressed. Set up a timer that reminds you to get up and stretch every few hours. Design your workspace in a way that makes you the least stressed.