Working from home in your own office space is satisfying as it is convenient. With recent changes due to lockdowns and physical distancing, it has become apparent that working from home is a good alternative.
So, I researched the most efficient way to set up a home office. As well as, the essentials you will need and put together this helpful guide to help you boost productivity and the quality of your work.
So then, how do you set up an office space at home? You should designate a room or part of the room specifically for your desk. On top of that, you can add many features that can improve productivity such as an indoor plant, natural lighting, choosing colors that influence your mood, and some basic equipment.
The ins and outs of exactly what to include are self-explanatory. But, there are some subtle changes you can make that can have dramatic impact overtime on the amount of work you produce. Such as, where you position your desk, and the colors your use. So continue reading to see all these tips to increase your output.
The Productivity Boosters that Take Your Home Office Space to the Next Level
I’ll include here the productivity boosters that you should include and implement the ones you can. Others you might have to talk to your spouse about. Below that I will run through the basic items you need so you can see if you are missing anything.
- Writing your goals and putting them up on the walls
The power of written goals can not be overstated. All of the top success gurus recommend having written goals and reviewing them often. So, a good way to remind yourself of your objectives is to have them written. Or, printed out.
Then put them up on a wall that you can see from where your desk is. That way when you look up when you’re taking a breath or changing your music track you can read them to yourself. It has a big impact on your psychology and focuses your mind. This will make it easier for you to achieve your goals.
Although, no studies have been done on exactly if writing goals works or not. Famous authors such as Brian Tracy who studied the worlds most successful, found that it was a trait they all shared.
Experientially, you will notice this yourself in regards to how much work you get done if you have a goal and remind yourself of it. Rather, than just going with whatever life throws at you.
2. Colors for the walls
Many studies have found conclusively that colors impact emotions. Although, you’ll need to chat with your spouse about your redecoration plans. Angela Wright who is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London provided the following list of colors, based on her extensive research. I include it below for your perusal as well as my summarising thoughts regarding what colors to include in your office space.
|RED||The good: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement.||The bad: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.|
|BLUE||The good: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.||The bad: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.|
|YELLOW||The good: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.||The bad: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.|
|GREEN||The good: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace.|
The bad: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.
|VIOLET||The good: Spiritual awareness, containment, vision, luxury, authenticity, truth, quality.||The bad: Introversion, decadence, suppression, inferiority.|
|ORANGE||The good: Physical comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance, fun.||The bad: Deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity|
|PINK||The good: Physical tranquillity, nurture, warmth, femininity, love, sexuality, the survival of the species.|
The bad: Inhibition, emotional claustrophobia, emasculation, physical weakness
|GREY||The good: Psychological neutrality.|
The bad: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.
|BLACK||The good: Sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, substance.||The bad: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness.|
|WHITE||The good: Hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, efficiency.||The bad: Sterility, coldness, barriers, unfriendliness, elitism.|
|BROWN||The good: Seriousness, warmth, Nature, earthiness, reliability, support.||The bad: Lack of humor, heaviness, lack of sophistication.|
3. Put the back of your chair in front of a wall… it’s better Feng shui
Although, you might think Feng shui is a bit too mystical. Having a solid barrier behind your back is a psychological phenomena that makes sense. The back is the most vulnerable part of our body because we can’t see oncoming danger.
Begin approached by a person from the back feels naturally uncomfortable. Because we can’t see them. When working you want to feel calm and at ease to get the best thoughts and insights for your work.
So, it is best to position your chair so the back is against a solid wall. Other insights from Feng Shui that apply to the space behind you are not having the area behind you be:
- A high traffic area such as a hallway or bathroom. Even though there is a solid wall between you and it, you will still feel people mentally as they are moving about behind you, and will impact your focus.
- A window or open space where people can watch you. When people are staring at you, you can feel it. It will disrupt your focus and make your work not as good.
- Not a road or footpath. The movement behind you disrupts your focus. Also, loud trucks and people talking will make you want to turn around to see what it is. An additional distractor.
All in all, doing your best to put where your back is when you work gives you greeter psychological security and as a result, increases your focus.
4. Motivational people with quotes and your vision board
I see these on social media and Instagram and love them. Motivational quotes and images of successful people inspire me to work. But, unless we put them up we will never see them.
Social media is very distracting to producing quality work, because it is like someone is talking to me non-stop when I’m trying to work. With abundant dings and pop-ups that cause anxiety and give your mind a fright.
They also scramble my brain and make me unmotivated. So, limiting their use until after work hours improves my productivity. But, I still like to get inspired. So, having motivational quotes and images of things you want and your goals helps you. Look for inspirational people that you look up to.
Some examples are Warren Buffet, or Ray Dalio. Find quotes of theirs as a poster, or create one yourself and put them up where you will see them.
You might have an industry specific mentor, someone that is unique to you specifically. These work to distract you from the malaise of media, and public opinion. That isolates you from it mentally, and gives you enhanced focus. Put together some of these and put them up in prominent places.
Successful people have vision boards. So, put one of these together and put it up in your office. Things you want to buy, places you want to travel to.
5. Add a pot plant or two
A study published in the Journal of Psychology showed that plants increase productivity in an office. So, be sure to include one or two. Fragrant flowers or unique varieties will give you a zing of enthusiasm and joy. You could even install a hanging basket.
But however you decide to include plants in your office, ensure they get enough sunlight, and water. You might have to have a few and rotate them in and out of the house from time to time.
6. Monitor the temperature and humidity
Cornell University did a study on the difference that temperature makes on productivity. I myself can handle the cold, and pride myself in being resistant to the weather.
But, to have your most productive home office you should ensure that the temperatures range between 68 to 77 °F (20 to 25 °C). Because the study showed that the typing errors reduced by nearly one half, and people wrote 1.5 times what they normally would.
When it’s too humid the air feels damp and it makes you feel uncomfortable. So, grab a humidity reader, they’re pretty cheap, and see what levels feel right for you. Grab a dehumidifier if you don’t have a full HVAC system, and run it in your room.
You only have to run it for about 30 mins to draw out enough moisture to return your room to a comfortable level.
7. Keep it clean as much as possible
Although people are generally tidy. In a home office you don’t get visited by clients so you can have a tendency to build up clutter and packets of chips. Even though we love them. Some people like it cluttered. Some people like it tidy. But, try both and see how much better you work and feel with either.
It is culturally unacceptable to have an untidy office in a commercial office. But, in your home, it’s up to you how messy or tidy you want it.
Items Every Home Office Should Have
Whether you prefer a sit-down or stand up desk, a desk makes you feel more professional. Although I prefer to sit on the floor, it is very hard to type while sitting on the floor. Unless you have bad posture and are slouched against a wall.
Even then you get a sore neck after a while. For these reasons I reluctantly use a desk. I would get a stand-up desk but I get tired of standing for long periods of time. As long, as you keep fit and active, and flexible, it doesn’t strain your body too badly to sit for part of the day. Just ensure you don’t sit down on your breaks.
When I was looking around for a new desk I decided on this one HSH Rustic Computer Desk because it has:
- Minimalism and Industrial Aesthetic: Owning much to its clean lines and elaborated grey finish, this dapper-designed computer desk strikes a simple silhouette with two chunky metal legs，playing an understated foundation in your office space.
- Easy to Assemble: Elaborate design and clear instruction through all steps allow you to effortlessly assemble this workstation table under 25 minutes. All hardware included.
- Wide and Spacious Tabletop: Perched atop two extremely sturdy metal legs, the firm and spacious desktop with a concise appearance frees up space for your laptops, keeps all of your gaming gears organized, and is convenient for your daily needs.
Although, I decided against a stand-up desk, as part of my research I bookmarked the FEZIBO Dual Motor Height Adjustable because it has:
- Elegant Workspace: The large work surface measures 55″ x 24″ to provide ample room for a variety of office tasks and laptop setups along with important work projects and office supplies.
- Pull-Out Keyboard Tray: Underdesk keyboard tray frees up desk space and provides a comfortable work environment. A keyboard tray places your hands at a more comfortable height to reduce the potential for fatigue and pain.
- Electric Lift System: Powerful smooth dual motor lift system with very sturdy steel. Contained an industrial-grade steel frame that is able to support up to 176 lbs for supporting your office products inside your computer workstation.
An Internet Connection:
Doing internet stuff over Wi-Fi works. But, you do lose some productivity when you have connection issues and whatnot. For that reason, it is recommended where practical to have a hard line wire rather than use Wi-Fi. You will get the fastest speed possible. You will also limit the number of radio frequencies in the airwaves. If you cannot connect more equipment in your router because just come with 4 ports I suggest you this extra 4 post – NETGEAR Ethernet Switch. Because it has:
- Silent Operation: The fanless design means zero added noise wherever its located, making it ideal for noise-sensitive environments
- Plug and Play: Simple set up with no software to install or configuration needed
- Energy Efficient: Designed to optimize power usage lowering its cost to operate; Most models are compliant with IEEE802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet mode
A Laptop or PC
Kind of goes without saying. Most people have a preference for their favorite Laptop. I personally use the Lenovo Thinkpad after working with mine for a long time. The news ThinkPad E15 is a powerful unit to be considered on your list.
There’s something about the keyboard that when you type on it feels really satisfying. It has tactile feedback, and isn’t mushy and soft when you press it. The keys aren’t ridiculously loud though. But, each to their own.
If you’ve never tried a Lenovo laptop they are incredible, and the older models outperform some of the latest ones that come onto the market. But there are many different other brands that you can see here at Amazon to choose one that fits your budget and personal requirements, including personal styles.
Folders for Storing Printouts and Written Documents
A couple of manilla folders, or the big and bulky ones can be good to store all your documents. That way they’re all in one place. I personally don’t have a lot of paper lying around. Because I went paperless. But, some people like to print things out and it is nice to read things off paper from time to time.
So consider this, if you’re the paper keeper type of person, and like to print out all your documents. Or, if it’s a requirement of your work to do so.
A Comfortable Chair
A comfortable chair enhances productivity. Some of the best on the market are the Hbada Office Task Chair. Unlike other office chairs this has:
- Space Saving: You can flip the arms up and put the chair under the desk for saving space.Suitable for living room, study room, conference room, and office
- Ergonomic Great Design: Sleek design and simple adjustment mid-back desk chair. Match different decorative styles. Ergonomic backrest fits the natural curve of the lower back and takes the pain of spinal away from your body
- Breathable: High-density mesh back, flexible supportive, breathable. Designed to support your lower back
Unconventional ways to set up your office space at home so that you have improved efficiency include:
- Selecting the colors for the walls.
- Writing your goals on hanging them in your office.
- Place your desk in a place where the back of your chair is against a solid wall, and not in front of a high traffic area.
- Pictures of motivational quotes, motivational people, and images of things you want.
- Installing some pot plants.
- Monitoring the temperature and maybe the humidity.
- Colour-affects.co.uk: Psychological Properties of Color
- Wikipedia: Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
- University of Exeter. (2014, September 1). Why plants in the office make us more productive. ScienceDaily.
- News.cornell.edu: Study links warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity