10 Tips for Setting up a Home Office
The Home Office
In today’s world more and more of us are working virtually, and whether by choice or necessity, there are a few things you can do to set up your home office to be your most focused, productive and healthy self.
1. Dedicated, Functional, Clutter-Free and Distraction-Free Space
·Separate your work life from personal life.
·Keep your routine. Get up, get dressed as if your most important client is going to stop by unannounced.
Have a healthy breakfast.
Do not try to work on a laptop from your sofa or bed or from your kitchen. This is not sustainable for you body, mind, spirit or productivity level.
Ideally, you’re able to set up your work space in a separate room with a door. Then you can “go to work” and when you are in there, with the door closed, you can tell your loved ones that you are not to be disturbed.
Think about what you need to be your most productive and set up your space around that. Literally make a list and only put on your desk the items that you use every single day.
Get your gadgets away from you – you don’t want to be distracted by social media, the news, or the replays of Cheers during work hours. If you use social media for work, get in, do what you must do and then get out.
2. Ergonomic Office Furniture
A home office should have furniture that you love and that fits you. If you are setting up an office as a lifestyle choice, you will want to invest in a good sit/stand desk (ie. adjustable) and an ergonomic chair that you love to sit in. This will help keep you active throughout the day.
Limited budget? – splurge on an ergonomic chair that height adjusts, tilts and swivels.
Zero budget? Follow these ergonomic rules when setting up your desk, chair and monitor.
The top of the computer screen should be at eye level or a little below – this allows your eyelids to close a little and moisten – reducing eye fatigue.
Position the keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor.
Adjust your chair so your feet rest firmly on the floor or a foot stool.
Get up and move around – take breaks, stretch and walk around
Stand when talking on the phone.
3. Good Lighting
Natural light is best for daytime office hours – put your desk next to the window to capitalize on it if possible.
You will want both ambient lighting (general overhead light) and task lighting – like a desk lamp. Use full spectrum bulbs that mimic daylight.
Glare – don’t place lights directly over the computer screen or directly behind it – both will lead to glare and headaches, eye strain and fatigue. Note: for video calls, the light source should be behind the camera – not behind you.
Use a tool like F.lux to automatically change the color temperature of your computer screen as the day progresses to help maintain your circadian rhythm.
4. Color, Scent and Chair position
Color effects your mood – blues and greens will be calming; reds, yellows and oranges will energize. Remember, too much of a bold color can be too much. Some colors are better left as accent colors. Neutral colors like tan, browns and grays are well, neutral.
Use aromatherapy – scent impacts mood, clarity and productivity.
Set up your chair so that your back isn’t to the door. Facing the door is the ideal position of power.
Plants reduce stress and increase well-being, creativity, and productivity. Find one for indoor/low light. Aloe vera plants, peace lilies, or spider plants are three common office plants.
6. Something you love
Personalize your space – put up a favorite piece of art, picture, motivational quote or whatever makes you smile on the wall in front of you so that when you take a break from looking at your screen your eyes rest on something you love.
7. Work Tools
Have a separate computer for your work and your home – this reduces the urge for distractions and helps to keep work and home life separate.
Go wireless if you can. If not, control your cords with a cord organizer or a Velcro tie to keep cords contained.
Get a multi-outlet surge protector.
Consider what ever else you need to do your daily tasks efficiently an effectively.
8. Water and Healthy Snacks
Stay hydrated – keep your snacks healthy and handy so you don’t run back to the kitchen every time you think you are hungry. Keeping hydrated and well-nourished will help maintain focus. Try to stay away from the sugar. 😊
Figure out how to block out any noise that may distract you. Close the door if you can. Get noise cancelling headphones, put a fan on or a white noise machine if you have one. Soothing music to drown out the family and the traffic.
Request “quiet hours” from the family if you are not home alone.
10. Movement and Schedule
Set up your space so that when you move you aren’t walking into or tripping over things.
Keep track of time and take frequent short breaks. Look away from your screen at something beautiful.
It’s important to have an end to your workday. When you are done working – leave your office until it is time to go back. Have your day end at a reasonable hour.
After a week or so in your home office – reassess and move around what isn’t working. Break a rule if it isn’t working for you. The most important thing is that you can be positive and productive in your work environment. If you enjoy being there, you will be at your most productive and produce your best work.
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