Deciding to work from home doesn't always come with a plan. Some might slowly segue into having a home office while others might have an in-depth design plan from where the paper clips go to how much to budget.
Whether you are the former, the latter, or somewhere in between, transforming your home office is a great way to improve your workspace and, thus, your comfort and productivity.
Research has shown that a great workplace is not just about having the right tools anymore; it's also about your experience in the office. Organizations that improve their employee experiences are enjoying much higher levels of engagement and productivity, according to Gensler's 2019 Workplace Survey.
So if you want to improve your engagement and productivity, you might be due for a home office overhaul.
Is Your Home Office Serving You?
You may not have considered making any changes to your home office. Perhaps you've noticed a few little things here and there that you wish were different, but there are some signs that could indicate your workspace is not creating the feeling you need to get more things done. Some signs that your office is counterproductive include:
Not knowing where things are
Feelings of overwhelm
Further, if you have to "dash-and-stash" when you have clients visiting, chances are you would benefit greatly from a home office overhaul.
Effects of An Inefficient Home Office
Imagine trying to cook a new recipe, only to discover - as you begin getting all the ingredients and equipment together - that someone has rearranged everything and you know where nothing is! You'd have to search everywhere and would not know what - if anything - you needed to buy from the grocery store.
It would be frustrating, exhausting, and might even make you forget the whole idea.
In the same way, a home office that is disorganized can disrupt your workflow and thwart your creativity. If you don't know where everything is and feel cramped or exhausted, you may not be maximizing on the benefits of having a home office.
If you're not ready to do a whole renovation, here are some simple ways you can make your home office more comfortable and, thus, more productive for you:
Keep it Single-Purpose
You wouldn't bring your photo albums or craft supplies to an employer's office, would you? The same should go for your home office. Of course, sometimes space can be an obstacle here but if space allows, make sure your home office is strictly for your work. Be sure that everything in your home office is related to the work you are doing or is used for your work.
If you look around and find you have items in your home office that don't have anything to do with the work you do, spend some time removing them and storing them elsewhere.
Not only can this help you keep home and work separate, but can also help when calculating budgets for office supplies. You can even have "office hours" that help you keep your home office separate from everywhere else in the house.
Clutter has a way of building up until we are neck-deep in expired brochures, old catalogs, and empty envelopes. Clutter has many negative impacts on our mental health - from feeling distracted to loss of productivity. If you're feeling overwhelmed with the clutter in your home office, dedicate a day to getting it cleaned up.
Tight workspaces can be uncomfortable and suffocating. Consider removing unnecessary furniture or items from your office to open it up and give you more space to work in. If you often have clients visiting, they will also appreciate being able to sit comfortably without feeling like they are cooped up in an elevator.
Greenery in the office has long been proven to be beneficial to work environments. Experts have found that having plants in the workplace increases productivity, reduces stress, and creates a general sense of well-being in the office.
Consider New Lighting
If your home office has few to no windows, new lighting might be in order. If you spend a lot of time looking at the computer - which many office workers do - you might be straining your eyes which can cause headaches, blurred vision, dry/burning eyes, and even neck and shoulder pain. Study the different types of office lighting available and decide which one is best for you, based on the kind of home office environment you want.
If you are fortunate enough to have windows in your home office, make sure you're allowing enough natural light in with the right kinds of window coverings. Sometimes just changing the colors of the drapes or curtains can have an impact.
Replace Old Furniture
If you're still using the couch you had when you moved in, consider replacing it, recovering it, or removing it altogether.
Get a Quality Office Chair
You don't have to spend a fortune on an office chair but it is important that your office chair suits you. If you find you're feeling cramped, sore, or uncomfortable at the office, you may benefit from a new chair. Using the wrong chair for you can cause poor posture and puts too much pressure on our spines and joints.
With today's cloud storage availability, you can significantly increase the amount of office space you have available by removing the hard copies you have. If you scan these items and store them either on disk, flash drives, or a cloud service, you'll have more space and make your office look less cluttered.
Vertical storage can help you make use of small spaces. It's a simple and inexpensive way to open up the room and make it more warm and inviting while also serving a purpose.
Transforming your workspace ultimately comes down to determining what is working for you and what is not. Evaluate the space and take some time to think about how you want to feel when you enter your home office. How do you want your clients to feel?
And then allow yourself the time to implement those changes - big or small - to make your home office the perfect representation of you and the value you offer.