Many dreams of working in the home office:
- Getting out of bed in the morning.
- Making a coffee.
- Grabbing the laptop and off to the couch in pyjamas, where you work on the most important to-dos for the day.
But it’s not that simple. What can work for a few days and tasks becomes really exhausting in the long run. Without a proper, ergonomic workplace in your own home, the first physical ailments are not long in coming. And without a spatial separation, the boundaries between private life and work increasingly blur, concentration suffers, motivation decreases and the simplest tasks become real challenges.
If you want to work efficiently at home, you should set up a suitable home office. We asked twelve experts what their secret is for the perfect workplace in their own four walls.
Designing a home office: 11 experts and their home office ideas
Tip 1: don’t take yourself too comfortable
When furnishing your home office, you should try not to turn it into an IKEA showroom. Do not choose sofas that invite you to sleep and lounge or lights that make you sleepy rather than alert. Here are a few ideas that will make your home office more productive:
1. Sitting for long periods of time is bad for concentration. It makes you tired and means that work cannot be done efficiently. The solution for this is a standing desk that can be purchased in addition to the normal desk.
2. There is nothing like daylight. Make sure your workplace is as light-flooded as possible.
3. Make sure your home office is 100% office. It should be free of your children’s toys and shouldn’t contain any items that distract you, such as a television. Your workplace is only there for work and should always look and be treated that way.
4. It is a good idea to have a dedicated area just for ideas. This could be a whiteboard, a folder on your laptop, or a note on your phone. Whenever you have an idea that you could benefit from later, write it down in a separate ideas area to come back to later. This way, no idea is lost, and you can concentrate on your work after writing it down.
Tip 2: Choose light that perfectly illuminates your workplace
The eyes are our most important sensory organ: with them we perceive most of our daily impressions. Especially in the home office, they are constantly on duty and do hard work. Appropriate lighting supports the eyes and enables you to do your work optimally. For me personally, good light contributes to the following things:
- More motivated work
- Avoiding mistakes
- Stay vigilant longer
- Not to get tired prematurely
Bad lighting conditions put a strain on my health and wellbeing. For me, poor lighting conditions in my workplace lead to:
- Headache from strained vision
- Eye problems
- negative mood
In recent years, many studies have shown that lighting influences the internal clock and the biological rhythm. Light intensity, spectral composition and light distribution therefore clearly have an influence on psyche, behavior and physiology.
How to get started with light:
1. Choose the right illuminance and light color
When buying a lamp, keep the following points in mind for optimal lighting:
- A workplace should have at least 500 lux.
- 300 lux is sufficient for the immediate surroundings.
- Transferred to the lumen values of LED lamps, this means that you need lamps with approx. 1,000 lumens for the desk and 600 lumens for the surroundings.
- Light color: work area 4000 Kelvin, general lighting 3000 Kelvin.
2. The optimal desk lamp
Ideally, your desk should be at a 90-degree angle to the window. In this way, daylight falls on your workplace without dazzling. Your desk lamp should be attached to the side and above head height to avoid direct glances into the light and annoying shadows.
3. Think of good general lighting
Don’t make the popular mistake of the island solution, where you neglect the entire space. Additional lighting in the form of a ceiling or pendant luminaire provides the basic lighting and balances out the light-dark contrast. This means that the eye has to adapt less and is relieved accordingly.
Tip 3: Ensure comfort and convenience
I ran my company both from home and from a rental office, and for the past four years, I have mainly worked in the home office. Proper home office setup is vital to both your psychological wellbeing and the success of your business.
An office chair that has been designed with ergonomics in mind is essential. You should not try to save money here. The quality of your chair is more important than that of your desk. If you have chronic problems, you can seek additional support from a lumbar pillow or gel seat cushion. It is not easy to work with back pain.
Ideally, your desk should have enough space for your computer screens and space for writing. Some desks are nothing more than computer stations, and if you go for something simple and narrow, you will soon be struggling with a lack of space for writing and paperwork.
Cabinets, in which important documents can be sorted, should always be close to the desk. If papers are put on the other side of the room, you may prefer to keep them on your desk than to put them away right away. This not only overflows your work area but also creates stress when looking for documents.
The printer and the associated paper and ink supplies should also be near you. A U or L shape with a desk, a cabinet for documents and printer is ideal for all of this.
Finally, set up your desk so that it faces a window. During video conferences, you are so perfectly lit. Don’t forget to clean up the clutter behind you. Otherwise, the meeting participants will certainly see them.
Take your time and invest in a great chair (or convenience accessory), desk, or work table that is deep enough to hold monitors and paperwork. Put your printer and filing cabinet near your desk.
All of this doesn’t have to be luxurious, elegant or expensive. The keywords here are convenience and comfort. My advice to start with: Try to get the most out of what you have at home. Be creative in using the existing furniture.
Let’s get to work!
Tip 4: turn your office into a living space
I’ve been working from home since 2011, first for an employer and now as a business owner. My home office is used for over 8 hours a day, so it’s important for me to feel comfortable.
As for the desks, Ikea’s own style worked best for me. As for the chairs, I’ve found that high-quality gaming chairs offer better support than similarly expensive comfort chairs.
I have decorated my office with pictures and nice little artefacts that I have collected over time. I also have a shelf of awards that I have received over the years. My office is my style, and I think that’s important.
Make your home office your haven, where you can think right and be in your element. It will increase your productivity and creativity.
Tip 5: Let ergonomics become your best friend
Working in the home office sometimes means that you have to sit and work all day long. Equipment and furniture that are not suitable for good posture or good working conditions can lead to poor health and an unsafe work environment. Therefore, when setting up your home office, you should look very carefully at the materials or furniture that you choose.
Determine the things you need for your workplace and find good and suitable equipment and furniture that contribute to a better work environment.
It can be about how your mouse lies in the hand while working on the computer or how soft or hard the keyboard is when typing. You should also consider getting a footrest for a more comfortable work experience.
Find a chair that properly supports your back and arms for long periods of sitting. Avoid uncomfortable and unsafe working conditions and make ergonomics your best friend.
Tip 6: Invest in an ergonomic chair
A good, stable chair can make your life a lot better. If your back is properly supported during work hours, you will avoid back pain throughout the day, concentrate better, and work more productively.
I worked in a bad chair for years before buying a good one, and my life has gotten better since then. I feel better, do more work during the day, and sleep better at night.
When buying a chair, it is important to look for adjustable lumbar support. So you can adapt the chair to the shape of your back.
It should also be adjustable in height because your feet should be flat on the floor while you work. Working is guaranteed to be much more pleasant.
Tip 7: Find a good standing desk
A good standing desk has the ability to reduce fatigue and increase productivity. Personally, I have benefited from using a large standing desk as it has given me a spacious environment for my work station and has also improved my concentration and reduced my lower back pain and discomfort.
The biggest advantage of a standing desk is that when you get tired, you have the option of lowering the desk and getting into a sitting position.
Choose a standing desk that has the shortest sitting elbow height and the highest standing elbow height and contains an electric motor. This way, you can adjust your desk to your natural height with the push of a button instead of having to crank it manually.
Tip 8: Set up your screen (s) correctly
Having enough screens is really important to productivity. Compared to a laptop screen, owning a large monitor or two is equivalent to upgrading from a tiny school desk to a formidable corner desk!
The ability to have all of your communication and video calls on one screen and your actual work on another, for example, is a whole new experience and can really improve your output.
Even if you’re working with a laptop, there’s nothing stopping you from plugging in an external monitor to instantly set up a dual monitor. Experiment with positioning and screen resolutions until you determine the optimal workflow.
Large monitors are inexpensive, and your employer may be willing to make the investment for you.
Tip 9: make sure you have a decent video background
If your work involves video conferencing, you should definitely pay attention to what meeting participants see from your home office. Avoid family photos, boring erasable chalkboards, clocks (you don’t want anyone looking at the clock while you are talking), piles of things, etc.
Instead, choose a natural and calming background, preferably one that relates to your industry. For example, if you’re a creative person, there might be works of art in the background. A blank wall is also perfect.
Tip 10: Avoid distraction with storage space
A corkboard on the wall gives your desk a cleaner look. Instead of flooding your keyboard and workspace with paper, you can just pin notes on the board. With a little imagination, it can even become a real eye-catcher.
Use creative ideas to optimize wall space, be it a pegboard or memo board. In this way, you create many useful storage options.
Equip your home office with shelves for easy access and convenient storage. Open shelves and corner shelves are easy to install. The idea behind it is to save nerves and anger when looking for all the important items.
Lockable dressers are useful for hiding some of your documents and supplies when you don’t have wall space.
Place a trash can under your desk to help you dispose of unnecessary paper. A basket made of plastic, wood, wicker or metal even enhances your workplace.
Tip 11: think about soundproofing
If your office is in a busy area of the home, consider adding some acoustic tiles to the walls. New acoustic tiles are awesome: they come in every shape, size, color, pattern, and you can literally just stick them on your walls.
Use them as a decorative sign next to or behind your desk, and they will absorb sound so you can focus better.
The rest is a matter of personal preference. Some studies have shown that people who have plants in the workplace and incorporate natural wood into their decorations have lower levels of stress.
If you were happy to watch a huge rainbow every day, go ahead! The best thing about a home office is that you can design it to suit your needs. So set it up so that it makes you feel good so that you enjoy spending the time there.
Setting up a home office – summary
From the right light to the right alignment of the desk, there are many things to consider if you want to set up your perfect home office. The final thoughts on the subject of the workplace in your own four walls come from home office expert.
The right equipment
Speed and efficiency are two things to consider when deciding how to equip your home office. Only buy devices that you are sure will be used on a daily basis. Desk, chair, laptop, telephone system and lighting are indispensable in every office.
Provide a container full of sticky notes, larger notepads, highlighters, pencils, pens, a stapler, staples, and a staple remover.
The large color copier may seem like a great idea, but it isn’t ideal if you work in a small space and would only use it a few times. This also applies to the copier and fax machine.
Most systems are sold as a unit, but take up space in your office that you could use for other things or just leave empty. Depending on your needs, a cheaper option might be to go to your local library and send a fax.
Wireless hubs are great options that allow you to work on your laptop from anywhere in your office. Have a separate telephone line installed for your office so that your customers always have access to this line.
Make sure your phone can send and receive messages, and that it has conference and speakerphone capabilities.
The right organization
First, think about the space for your home office, the number of furniture you want it to contain, and the location of all room connections. Use pencil and paper to layout the room.
Choose a desk that is suitable for the room. L-shaped desks, curved corner desks or sit/stand desks are perfect choices for small spaces. If possible, move the desk to a window with a window sill to add natural light to your workday. Put a tall floor lamp near your desk so that you can continue working after sunset.
Stack bins of office supplies on top of each other to use vertical space. You can create extra workspace by using modular cabinets and adding shelves. Arrange everything so that you get the most out of your office in terms of storage, lighting and power. Add surge protectors to protect your devices from electrical surges.
Don’t feel obliged to choose storage ideas that would fit into traditional office space—looking for unconventional and interesting ways to store the typical office supplies.
If you are going to use an additional bedroom in your home as a home office, you can, for example, use existing closets as storage space for office materials. This minimizes the need for storage space in the main office area.
Make sure each office item has its own place. Avoid storing things somewhere after they have been used; instead, put them back in their usual place. So everything is organized, and your home office remains clear.
Office supplies shouldn’t be piling up on your desk. A messy desk hinders work from being done and creates chaos. A tiered trolley is the perfect solution. Keep the trolley next to your desk. You can store everything you need in it, from staplers, pens and paper clips to the daily planner, note cards and additional printer paper.
The individual decoration
Decorate your workspace in the way you find it aesthetically pleasing and in such a way that you also promote a healthy environment. It is not uncommon for a person to spend several hours a day in their home office staring at a computer screen, causing eye strain and fatigue.
Articles on ways to counteract this have suggested looking away from the screen every few minutes and focusing on things that are comfortable. This could be your favourite painting, a vase full of fresh flowers or green plants, a corkboard with your favourite photos or drawings that you strategically place insight.
Thoughtful personalization will also help make your home office as inviting as possible, which will add to your productivity. Memorabilia that inspire you, a colourful carpet, a candle with your favourite scent – all of these can have a positive effect on your workday.
Many things can affect productivity, one of which is the colour you choose for your home office. Painting your workspace can be an inexpensive solution to a dreary workplace. Colour has an impact on how we perceive our surroundings and react to them.
Color psychologist Angela Wright invented the ” Color Affects System, ” which states that while each individual may prefer one color to another, the effects that color has on people are universal. According to Wright’s theory, green promotes harmony and balance, while blue stimulates the mind. Yellow promotes creativity. Red affects the body.