If you're one of the nearly 4.7 million people who work at least part of the week remotely, you've likely already set up some sort of home workspace.
Millions of workers rearranged rooms in the wake of the pandemic's worldwide shift to remote work. They hit social media to share photos of workspaces of every type, from perfectly designed offices to converted dining tables.
But how does your home office desk setup look now that a bit of time has passed?
Is your Instagram-worthy desk buried under piles of clutter? Perhaps you've had to move locations and your setup is now haphazard, or you've given up entirely and are working from your bed or couch.
An excellent remote work area is essential, whether working remotely a few days a week or doing the at-home thing full time. Here are a few tips to help you create the ultimate work-from-home office setup to maximize productivity and wellbeing.
Why Do You Need a Home Office Space?
As a remote worker, you may be tempted to work from your bed or couch. After all, you're already in your PJs, and no one is around to see you.
While this is certainly comfy, it isn't ideal for productivity. Having a dedicated workspace is important for several reasons.
First, a functional workspace promotes a healthy work-life balance. Working remotely from home can make it challenging to leave work behind at the end of the day. With a separate workspace, you can focus during work hours and switch off more easily when you’re done.
Second, it helps with organization. If you have a specific place for all your work-related materials and gadgets, it's easier to find what you need. When you're looking for something important, this can save you time and frustration.
Finally, an optimized home office space can boost your productivity. When your work-from-home office setup is comfortable and conducive to concentration, you'll work more efficiently and accomplish more. Also, if you have a solid morning routine that culminates in settling into the same spot every day, it can signal to your brain that it’s the start of the workday.
Your Guide to the Ultimate Work-From-Home Office Setup in 5 Easy Steps
You need more than just a laptop to set up a home office workspace. Several factors must be considered, including lighting, furniture, and tools.
Choosing the proper office setup depends on your needs and circumstances. For example, some workers may need to improve their ergonomic set up to prevent back pain. Others may want to find a way to share their home office more efficiently. Spend time reflecting on what you can do to make working from home more comfortable and productive.
To help you get started, we've assembled five home office ideas to help you create a more productive and efficient workspace.
1. Establish a Designated Work Area
Choosing a location for your home office is the first step. If possible, set aside a room for your home office. A door that closes on your workspace can help block distractions and noise, and it can also signal the end of your workday.
If you don't have an extra room, make do with what you have. Use your dining room as a workspace during the day, or set up a workstation in your living room. If you live with others, you may want to avoid high-traffic areas and choose a corner of your bedroom or a small closet instead. In most homes, you can find an empty space if you are creative.
2. Make Sure You Have Adequate Lighting
Lighting is a key element for any room, but it's vital for your workspace. Poor lighting can make you feel drained, cause headaches, and affect productivity.
The best light comes from natural sources, so try to place your workstation near a window. The benefits of natural light go beyond being easier on the eyes. Studies show that introducing daylight in the workplace improves wellbeing, performance, creativity, and health.
In the absence of a natural light source, or if working near a window is too distracting for you, consider a desk lamp or floor lamp as an alternative. Ensure it emits full-spectrum light, which is more like sunlight and is easier on the eyes. In addition, you can use a light therapy box to boost your energy and mental health.
3. Clear the Clutter
Keeping your work area clutter-free is one of the most effective ways to increase productivity. Studies show that clutter in the work environment can make it harder to focus, leading to tension, mental exhaustion, and procrastination. Take a few moments to tidy your space at the end of the day. Take your mug to the kitchen, file any papers you no longer need, and clear up the clutter.
This includes digital clutter, too. Nearly three-fourths of us find a messy computer desktop stressful. Once a week or so, take some time for a digital cleanup. Unsubscribe from any newsletters or lists you don't want. Organize the files, folders, and bookmarks you need into a system that makes sense to you, and delete anything you don't need. Having a less cluttered screen and optimized files can improve your workflow.
4. Focus on Ergonomics and Comfort
Putting together an ergonomic workstation is essential if you spend hours at your desk. Ergonomics studies how people interact with their work environment, which for a home office is mainly your furniture. There are a few key aspects to consider when setting up your workstation.
The right desk can make a big difference in your comfort and productivity. If you have the option, choose a height-adjustable one to switch between a sitting and standing desk throughout the day. And make sure that your desk is the right height. You should be able to type while your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
An ergonomic chair should be adjustable and have proper back support. It's best to keep your knees bent 90 degrees, your feet flat on the floor, and your hips lined up with your knees. Consider using a footrest if you can't achieve this while keeping your elbows at the correct angle.
In addition, your back should be straight. If you need to, use a pillow or lumbar support to help keep your back in alignment. Adding an ergonomic seat cushion to your office chair can also help improve your posture and alleviate back pain.
Monitor position is also an important consideration. Place your screen slightly below or right at eye level, with the center about four to five inches from your face. If you primarily use a laptop, consider getting a laptop stand. If you have external monitors, try an adjustable monitor stand or mount to help you find the perfect position. Some stands also function as desk shelves, which can help you stay organized.
If you wear glasses, make sure to adjust the position of your monitor so that you don't have a glare or unnecessary eye strain.
Your Keyboard and Mouse
An ergonomic keyboard can also help reduce strain on your wrists and hands. When typing, your keyboard and mouse should be at the same level as your elbows. If they're not, use a keyboard tray to adjust the height or a wrist rest.
You may want to look for a keyboard with a split layout (similar to Logitech’s ERGO keyboard) or adjustable feet to change the angle and keep your wrists in a neutral position. And make sure that your mouse is within easy reach, so you don't have to strain your arm to use it.
5. Invest in the Right Tools and Technology
Being productive and efficient is challenging without the right equipment. You can significantly improve your work-from-home office setup with the right tools and technology. Here are a few essential items for any home setup.
A Reliable Computer
Having a reliable computer is the first step toward achieving your work goals. If you don't have a company-issued laptop, you'll need to invest in a quality personal computer. Consider your work and storage needs and what kind of processing power you'll need before purchasing. This will help you find the best computer for your needs, whether a Macbook Pro or a Windows-based PC.
A Monitor (or Two)
An external monitor (or two) can significantly improve your productivity if you work on a laptop. By using a large screen or two monitors in a dual-monitor setup, you can run multiple programs simultaneously, reducing the time spent switching between them. Plus, having a second monitor can help reduce eye strain because you'll be able to see your work more clearly.
Software and Apps
The right software and apps can help you work more efficiently and get more done in less time. There are many options, from cloud storage apps that let you backup and access your work anywhere to task management tools that help you stay on top of your deadlines and projects.
Consider installing Rize to help you improve your focus and build better work habits. Rize automatically tracks your workday to show you when you’re most productive and when you’re wandering off task. Daily and weekly reports are useful to help you structure your day around your peak productivity times so you can get more done.
Webcam and Headset
A webcam and headset are essential if your job requires regular Zoom calls or video conferencing. A quality webcam is necessary for video calls, and a good headset will improve the audio quality of your call and help reduce background noise. In addition to being useful during conference calls, a good noise-canceling headset can also double as a pair of headphones for listening to music and blocking distractions.
Printer and Scanner
If you need to print or scan documents regularly, a printer and scanner can be essential for your work-from-home office setup. Adding a multifunctional printer to your home office will allow you to print, scan, and copy in one. A wireless printer will make it easy to print from anywhere in your house.
USB Hub or Dock
If you work on a laptop, a USB hub or dock can be a helpful addition to your work-from-home office setup, especially for small spaces. A USB hub gives you more ports to connect devices, so you can easily connect your keyboard, mouse, headset, hard drive, and other peripherals.
A dock is a more permanent solution. Docks allow you to quickly connect and disconnect your laptop from various peripherals using a single cord. This is not only efficient but can help you keep a minimalist desktop.
Boost Your Productivity With the Ultimate Work-From-Home Office Setup
Creating a comfortable and productive work-from-home office setup can be challenging, but it's worth it. Following these tips, you can build the ultimate work-from-home office setup to help you focus while working from home.
Adding Rize to your home office tools can help you increase productivity and reach your goals. Rize can automatically identify how you spend your workday, highlighting when you're most productive and where you can improve your focus. Try a free two-week trial of Rize and see how it can help you boost your productivity from home.