Working from home may have been something you dreamt of in the past. Your fantasy looked something like this -- you woke up in the morning, gently rolled out of bed, grabbed a steaming cup of coffee, and padded over to your home office in your comfiest yoga-wear. Your favorite furry friend nuzzled at your feet as you responded to emails, with a little light jazz playing in the background. Your day felt stress-free without the commute, obligatory lunches with co-workers, and uncomfortable work-wear.
However, when working from home got thrust upon you last year, you were unprepared. You found yourself sitting at an uncomfortable and cluttered desk --or even a kitchen table -- with lots of distraction and little motivation. Your work-from-home space was anything but inspiring. In fact, your work and home-life has melded into one non-stop stressful and frustrating day. You feel as if you aren't giving any part of your life your very best.
If any of this resonates with you, don't despair. Now is the time to reimagine your workspace and create one that works for you. With some tweaks, you can create a home office that will boost your productivity, get your creative juices flowing, and leave a clear line between home and work. Here are four elements for creating an awesome home office. Make sure to read until the end, where you will learn a few "wow factor" ideas for finishing your space.
Choose a Great Workspace
If you have a dedicated room for your office, that's great. If not, you can easily create one in either a cozy corner of your living room, an upstairs landing, an extended counter in the kitchen, or a little nook in the basement. Get creative and look for underutilized spaces in your home. If you need to create a work area in one of the main rooms of your home, you could add a rolling screen or room divider for a little privacy.
When you evaluate a potential space, consider the following:
- Is this space relatively distraction-free?
- What will I be looking at from my desk during the day?
- Do I like this view?
- Is this space comfortable year-round?
- Does this space have natural light?
- Do I have a good zoom background?
Having lots of natural light in your workspace is ideal. Natural light makes spaces feel larger. You may want to consider positioning your desk where you can take the most advantage of natural light. For additional light, add a task light to your desk to ease the eye strain of looking at your computer. You can also add full spectrum daylight bulbs to your overhead light fixture for an added boost.
Don't forget to invest in some good furniture. You need an ergonomic chair or stool and a solid work surface. Desks come in many different sizes, configurations, and price points these days. Find the desk that will work the best in your space.
Keep Your Space Clutter-Free, Organized, and Convenient
To be productive, you will want to create a space with minimal clutter and ample storage. In fact, you should designate your work area as a "no clutter zone." If you have a dedicated room for your workspace, don't let this room become the stockpile center for everything else in your life -- abandoned hobbies, extra toilet paper, out-of-season clothing.
Put some thought into the items you regularly need at arm's reach -- pens, a stapler, scissors, a printer. Place those items closest to you so you don't have to get up constantly to use them. You could even add a small fridge or coffee station to your space to make your breaks convenient.
Maximize your vertical space by adding floating shelves above your desk or installing cabinets on the wall. If your office has a closet, install a shelving system to minimize storage in your office’s main area.
Finally, consider your paper management system. Think about your workflow when setting up your office. Where will you store new paper tasks before you have time to address them? Where will these items go upon completion? Could you use a bulletin board for pinning some of your inspiration?
Give Your Space Some Visual Appeal
It's powerful to create a home office you find visually appealing. Good decor can make you more productive. Your space should inspire you and reflect your personality. Are you a sports fan? How about incorporating a little sports memorabilia on the wall? Maybe you are a glamour girl. You could swap out your basic light fixture for a sparkly chandelier.
Invest in some wall decor that inspires you. Ground your space with a colorful rug. Use colors on your wall that delight you. If your workplace is a small corner in your home, incorporate some inspiring elements into this space -- a nice leather desk mat, a photo of your favorite vacation spot, or a beautiful plant.
Give Your Space the Wow Factor
As promised, here are some ideas for giving your workspace that extra "wow factor." Your home office should not only be where you do tasks at your computer but also a space where you can read in comfort, think, and contemplate that next great idea.
To accomplish this, you could create a seating area for reading, taking short naps, and brainstorming. Add a luxurious chair, a chaise lounge, or a daybed for these occasions. Accentuate this space with a luxurious throw and some colorful pillows. If you find your office is a bit drafty, you could even add a wall-mounted electric fireplace for a cozy vibe. You could add a whiteboard to the wall for brainstorming sessions. And, don't forget a table lamp for some additional illumination.
Make sure to create a space that delights your ears and nose too. Add a small speaker to your office to enjoy your favorite playlist. Use an essential oil diffuser to diffuse inspiring and uplifting fragrance into your workspace. These little touches make all the difference in creating a home office you will love -- one that inspires and motivates you every day.