Whether you like it or not, whether you believed it’d happen in this decade or not, people are successfully working from home more than ever. While many doubted the productivity of it over the past few years, the necessity of it brought on by the pandemic has shown that the majority of the workforce is just as, if not more, productive at home as when they’re in the office. One of the key components to being successful while working from home? Your home office setup.
Having a dedicated and focused workspace can mean the difference between a productive workday and one that’s less than productive. While there are obvious tips to having an optimized work-from-home space, like freedom from distractions, there are others that have more to do with your home’s design than with whether or not your home office is kid-free.
At Pella, we've worked with homeowners and their home offices for years. Here are some things you should check and updates you can make to optimize your home office in preparation for a successful 2021 at work.
Natural Light: A Bright and Snooze-Free Space
Having a lot of natural light in your workspace, be it the winter gloom of the Midwest or the bright warm sun of the warmer months, can keep you in a positive and happy mood, as well as make you less tired due to your body’s natural circadian rhythm and response to sunlight.
If you have a small window in your workspace, or an old one that’s no longer energy efficient and has to remain covered, replacing it with a larger window that lets in lots of light and keeps your space more comfortable could increase your productivity and lessen the chance of you needing that 2 p.m. nap.
Shelving and Bins: Clutter-Free for Focus
While some home offices will come with built-in shelves, most won’t. If this is the case in your home office, consider getting shelving built into your walls, or buying some additional shelving as well as bins for organizing and containing clutter. The less clutter you have on your desk or in your view, the more focused you’ll remain throughout your workday.
Your Desk: No, Your Couch Doesn’t Count
Whether your office is a corner in your living room, a dedicated home office, or an additional bedroom turned into an office, you need a desk for optimal productivity. Your couch or bed is not conducive to productivity because, over the course of your life, you’ve trained your brain to believe that the couch and bed are places of rest and relaxation — trying to work from them productively now can be counterintuitive and counterproductive. If you don’t have additional space for a desk, try working from your kitchen island or table instead. While not as preferable as a separate desk space, they still will be better than your couch or bed.
Small Spaces: Maximize the Vertical
If you have little room for your office, either because it’s a shared space, or is carved out of another room, you can maximize your work zone by utilizing the vertical space in your area. To do this, optimize your shelving and the space under your desk. This can be done with a shelving unit, or, for a more minimalistic approach, with sturdy floating shelves.
Multi-Purpose Offices: How to Make it Productive
It’s completely understandable that some homeowners might not have the luxury of dedicating one entire space to their office. If you need to double your office as your guest room, there are ways to do so that can still allow you to optimize your productivity.
For example, instead of purchasing a full bed for your guest room, consider a day bed or futon that can double as an office couch when you don’t have guests. Another good tip is to stick with minimal décor. Not only will this keep your guest room tidy, but it’ll also keep you from being distracted during work. In addition, getting a storage ottoman to keep extra pillows, blankets, and guest towels in can keep your space from feeling too much like a bedroom while you’re at work in your office.
Plants, Happiness and Productivity
For smaller, yet still helpful ways to make your home office more productive, try decorating with more house plants — which are known for helping create a peaceful environment — and other decorations that make you happy. Positive feelings surrounding your workspace not only will make you happier, but it’ll also lead to higher productivity.