When working from home, having a well set out office can be the key to making sure you get your daily jobs done. But putting together a well-designed home office, with the right equipment and furniture, doesn’t just give you what you need to work. It can allow you to work more effectively.
From creating a space to think to making sure your work seating is comfortable and supportive, (particularly if you have a bad back), here’s how a well-designed home office can make you more productive.
Space is essential for working effectively in a home office – space to move, work and think. So having a well-designed office in your home, which provides you with ample space for the basics – a large desk, seating, equipment, and storage to keep the room free from clutter – can help make you more productive.
If you work in a closed-in space, that environment is likely to make you feel cramped, distracted and considerably anxious. So you’re likely to find it harder to focus and concentrate. Whereas, a space that’s more open should do the opposite, allowing you to work more effectively.
A spacious home office will also allow you to position equipment, like your printer and filing cabinet, without them taking up too much room. This can also make the room feel less overwhelming and more comfortable upon entering so that you’re more inclined to want to work right away. With more space and less clutter, work shouldn’t feel so on top of you and tasks should feel more doable.
A decent-sized, well-designed desk can be a big part of helping to improve your work productivity. Desks of a good length and width can allow you to have what you need to work around you, but at arm’s length. This allows you to use things when you need them, without them feeling in the way, so you can stay focused.
As well as your computer, keyboard and mouse, this includes key equipment – your phone, in-tray, stationary holder, a note pad to write down ideas, and a desk clock to keep an eye on the time – all without making the space feel too cluttered. (Check out my post of organising your home office the Feng Shui way to maximise the benefits to your health.)
Desks with several drawers at one end can also help speed up the way you work. This is because drawers allow you to keep and grab those urgent items, like spare pens and paper, when you need them. For working effectively, this is better than a desk with a cupboard as it will take longer to access those items – you’re likely to have to move from your chair to look in the cupboard for what you need. Wide desks can also provide you with ample legroom to work more comfortably and, in turn, more effectively.
When it comes to seating, selecting a chair for your home office that provides you with comfort and good posture, alongside the ability to work well, can help make you more productive. Being more comfortable can give you a higher level of concentration. You’re focusing on what you’re doing rather than that irritating tension in your back, for instance.
It should also allow you to work comfortably for long periods of time without fidgeting. However, the seat shouldn’t be so comfortable that you feel so relaxed your work pace slows down. It should instead promote a good posture to keep you seated upright, focussed, alert, and on the ball.
Office chairs on wheels can also help increase productivity, as you’re able to move around your desk and react to things with ease, without standing up. This includes quickly answering the phone or grabbing a file from a drawer.
A good office chair should also be adjustable, well-shaped and firm to give good support to your bottom and back. It should also have armrests to support your arms when typing.
A tidy office equals a tidy mind. So it makes sense that a home office with ample storage, to keep things tidy and organised, can make you more productive, while a cluttered space can be distractive and slow down your productivity. A well-designed home office will have a range of storage to keep your essentials close by and your less urgent items out of sight.
Good storage includes a filing cabinet to keep your business documents and shelves to hold key files. You can use shelves or drawers alongside your office walls to store items that you’re unlikely to need on a daily basis, such as your tax and financial information. More urgent items can be stored at arm’s reach, like in your desk drawers, as mentioned above.
Finally, carefully selected lighting for your home office can also help increase your work productivity. Poor, harsh lighting can result in eye strain, headaches and feeling irritable, which can be distractive.
It can also slow down your productivity, as you’re likely to feel unfocused and need more breaks from work. You should also aim to illuminate your home office space in a way that doesn’t create harsh shadows or undue glare on your computer screen.
Effective lighting involves an adjustable desk lamp, which can be positioned to bring light to exactly where you need it when doing different types of work. This includes typing, reading documents, sketching ideas, or taking notes on the phone. Also, a home office that’s set out so the desk is close to a window will allow some natural light to come in during the day. This lighting is easier on the eye and more comfortable to work in, helping to increase your work productivity further too.