When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, employees worldwide were sent home with a laptop and a lot of uncertainty. The work-from-home lifestyle was a complete novelty to people with no experience navigating a world of Zoom calls and home offices.
Fast forward two years later, and what was once a pandemic-only circumstance has become how many people prefer to do their jobs. Now, remote work is a part of daily life for many employees.
If you’re a remote worker or want to become one, you’ll need an office space designed for functionality, comfort, and focus. We’ll help you achieve these needs and more with this guide to creating a work-from-home zone you love.
How to Create the Perfect Work-from-Home Zone
The key to creating a dedicated workspace is picking the right environment and tools for the job. Luckily for homeowners with limited space, the WFH lifestyle doesn’t require much square footage. Suppose you don’t have a spare room to transform into a home office. In that case, you can set up remote workspaces in other areas like your dining room or kitchen.
No matter the room, the following home office setup ideas will help you create a promotion-worthy work zone.
Consider Your Lighting
Choosing a location with good lighting is key to a functional, comfortable work area. We suggest working near a window with lots of natural light to boost your mood and keep your brain active. Don’t just take it from us – a 2017 study from the Sleep Health Journal found that workers exposed to a light source throughout the day got better sleep at night and reported lower levels of depression.
Unfortunately, the solution isn’t as simple as flipping on the light switch. Harsh overhead lighting can have a similar effect as poor lighting, increasing eyestrain and interrupting sleep cycles.
If your home office doesn’t get adequate lighting throughout the work day, don’t panic. You can bring a little sunshine inside with light bulbs that mimic natural light. Halogen light bulbs are a great choice because they cast a high-quality white light that resembles the purity and tone of sunlight. Choose a dimmable halogen bulb to turn down the brightness as your workday progresses.
If you don’t feel like switching out overhead light bulbs, consider buying a trusty desk lamp for your work zone. Countless desk lamps are available, many designed to closely mimic natural light. This one from Amazon is a great choice; it has various brightness settings and a timer function to simulate daily sunlight cycles.
Select Ergonomic Furniture
Though you may be tempted to work from your bed, this isn’t a good idea for obvious reasons. You’ll likely have poor focus, diminished work output, and a painful neck strain when all is said and done. For this reason, investing in ergonomic office furniture is a crucial component of your makeshift workspace.
Even if you must set up your work area in the corner of your living room, you can make the most of the small space with must-have office items. We recommend adding a supportive office chair and standing desk to your space. Desk chairs with lumbar support are best for ensuring comfort, support, and good posture while you work. Standing desks are adjustable and can be moved up and down depending on how you want to work. Even standing up for a few hours each work day will improve your circulation and posture while providing a much-needed energy boost.
If you work from your dining room or kitchen table, no sweat. Make sure you buy an adjustable desk chair or lumbar support cushion to save yourself some serious back pain. Buy a lap desk if you prefer to take meetings from the couch. Lap desks are portable work surfaces designed for using a laptop with no table. These tools provide a surface for maneuvering a computer mouse while saving you from propping a hot computer on your legs.
Invest in Useful Office Accessories
Your desk is assembled and situated, but now you need some handy office supplies to simplify daily tasks. You’ll likely spend most of your days working on a computer, so it’s crucial to amp up your device game. Updates such as adding an extra desk monitor or upgrading to a cordless mouse can significantly impact your daily productivity. You might even consider updating your Wi-Fi bandwidth for faster, more efficient connectivity.
Next, you might want to upgrade your old headphones to a model suited for daily video meetings. We suggest headphones with noise-canceling features and improved sound quality for a positive listening experience. Many headphone products include Bluetooth technology, allowing you to tune in to meetings without navigating cumbersome cords.
Lastly, outfit your workspace with all the necessary office supplies for your job – think pencils, pens, sticky notes, and a stapler. Purchase a desk organizer to add vertical storage to your desk. This one from Amazon is perfect for filing papers and wrangling loose paper clips.
Incorporate Plants and Decor
While you’re busy adding functional features and office accessories to your workspace, don’t forget to add some personal touches. Chances are that you’ll spend a third or more of every day in your dedicated workspace. For this reason, you should make it a space you enjoy spending time in.
Add houseplants for a touch of greenery in an area otherwise dominated by devices and office supplies. Not only will plants bring some color to your workspace, but they’ll also make it a healthier environment. A report from NBC suggests that placing broad-leaved plants around your office will improve indoor air quality, regulate humidity, and positively impact your mood.
Next, customize the work area with home decor that delights you. Use candles, picture frames, and patterned office supplies to spice up your space. Then, transform your office into a comforting haven with pictures of friends, pets, family, or your favorite band. Floating shelves like these from Wayfair provide a chic place to display your favorite pictures and decorations.
Use Work-from-Home Best Practices
Setting up the perfect space won’t do you much good if you don’t develop good WFH habits. Luckily, there are some best practices to remember as you transition to working from home.
Microsoft provides the following tips for tackling remote work:
- Separate your “work” and “play” areas to create a healthy work-life balance. Setting up a designated office space is the best way to achieve this best practice.
- Set aside time each month to declutter your workspace. Throw away old sticky notes and wipe up those crumbs from yesterday’s lunch. A clean, organized workspace saves you from distractions and frustration – plus, it looks nicer on video calls.
- Start your day with a shower and clean clothes. Though you may be tempted to stay in your pajamas all day, you’ll eventually start to feel crummy. Taking the time to wash up and get dressed each morning will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
- Stock your kitchen with your favorite snacks and drinks. This might mean investing in a new espresso machine or creating a grab-and-go snack bin. Having tasty items on hand will keep you energized and motivated throughout the day.
- Limit distractions and set a daily schedule for yourself. By setting and following a schedule with focus times and breaks, you’re creating a healthy WFH mindset. This best practice also lessens your chance of staying up late to complete tasks you missed from an inefficient workday.
We hope these tips help you create a remote work environment you love. Remember that you don’t need a spare room to create a functional home office; good lighting, ergonomic furniture, and a reliable internet connection can transform any space into a zone for focus, productivity, and comfort.