We all know that working from home can have various perks and pitfalls. Often, creative people work from home – writers, bloggers, graphic designers and video editors, to name just a few. There are many benefits to doing so, such as being able to manage your own schedule and also being able to choose your clients as you please. However, as anyone who works for themselves will know, there are also a fair few negatives, such as a lack of motivation and a tendency to get distracted. Both of these things often have their roots in working from home, which is something that many freelancers world over do. When you work for yourself, it doesn’t make that much sense to rent an office – after all, it’s just another overhead to eat into your monthly budget.
But, not having a focused and comfortable workspace at your disposal can easily end up causing you a few problems. Let’s be honest: we’ve all tried working from our couch at some point, and it rarely works out! So, just how do you go about designing and creating a home office to maximise your workflow and help you succeed? Here are some tried and tested tips to help you on your way.
Never underestimate comfort
If you type the words ‘home office’ into Google (as you probably have done many times before!), you will find yourself met with various images of dreamy, perfectly organised spaces, with stylish furniture. Most of them look like something out of a Brooklyn studio apartment, with hardback chairs and a reclaimed vintage desk. But hold fire for a second before you go out and buy all this stuff: will you ACTUALLY be able to work in this kind of environment? Sure, that kind of chair does look good. But will they still look as good after you’ve been sat in them for 30+ hours a week, suffering from a crippling backache? We are now seeing a generation of people emerge who are experiencing longstanding health problems as a result of spending too much time sat in uncomfortable office chairs. Sometimes, this can’t be helped, as it depends on where it is that you work. When you work from home, however, it is you and you alone who has ultimate jurisdiction over what is and what isn’t in your office. Try not to be swayed by the dreamy Pinterest boards. The entire vibe of your home office is not going to depend on whether you get the pristine hardback chair or not – so if in doubt, always go for the comfiest option. A good office chair should support you right up to the neck (or at least the upper back), be cushioned and should have adjustable height and recline. They may not look quite as chic, but you always have to put your health over style. Similar rules apply for things like laptop height and keyboard positioning. The top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes, and your forearms should be parallel to the floor when typing on your keyboard.
Create a pleasant ambience
When we think of ambience in the home, our minds probably turn to a bathroom full of lit candles, or a cosy living room with a log fire burning in it. However, there is no reason why your home office can’t have ambience in it too. There are two main things that make up this pleasant vibe, and they are heating and lighting. The last thing you want in your home office is to be cold or to overheat, so take some steps towards regaining control of the temperature. If you don’t already have a radiator in your home office (or if you just need a replacement), try visiting a site such as OnlyRadiators.co.uk. There are plenty of different types of the radiator to suit all tastes and needs, so don’t think that you simply have to stick with the one your property came with. It can also be worth having one custom-made if the room you are dealing with is particularly small.
On a opposite note, you may also want to consider having an air conditioning system installed in for the hotter days during the summer. No one likes sticking to their office chair in the middle of the July heat, after all! If this is out of the question for you, however, don’t worry – a fan will usually suffice, and make sure you can open your windows fully to let some refreshing air in. As far as lighting goes, natural light is the best way to go for your home office. It makes the whole place seem much airier, and your natural body clock will respond well to it, making you feel much more ready to work. That said, we all know how dark winter can be, or how often you end up working late when you have a deadline to finish. Having a selection of lighting options in your office for both of these occasions can, therefore, be vital. Usually, a bright ceiling lamp and a couple of smaller table lamps suffice, as that way you can control the lighting and therefore the mood of the room.
When you work in a company office, one of the first things you do is probably to bring in a picture of your family to sit on your desk. When you work from home, you may not feel the same burning need to do this – but ask yourself why? Your office might be in your home, but it is still your workspace, and having some personal touches like family photos is a great way to keep motivated and make you feel a little more at ease. Invest in a couple of funky photo frames and set up your photos on your desk for you to gaze at absent-mindedly between jobs. It isn’t just photos that you can personalise your workspace with, though. Part of the beauty of working from home is that you can tailor your office to exactly what makes you happy. Therefore, spend some time making it into a positive and inspirational space that feeds your creativity. If that means hanging some positive quotes up on the wall in front of your desk, go for it! People who work in offices full time don’t always have the option to do things like that, so relish the chance that you have to do so. You may also want to do a complete remodel of the room that involved painting the walls or adding wallpaper.
Choose colours that uplift you and make you feel positive, and that you know you will be able to style easily. Then, you can go about adding in cute ways to organise yourself – such as with some pretty pen-holders, folders and files. Who said that office equipment had to be boring and corporate, anyway?! Some finishing touches for your desk area could be a beautiful scented candle (great for adding to that ambience we mentioned earlier) or ornate incense burner. If you are feeling creative, why not try your hand at making your very own desk garden? Flowers and plants can have a great impact on our mental stimulation in a working environment, so try to include at least a bit of life into your office. Creating a home workspace may not seem like much of a priority to you, but once you’ve done it, you will wonder how you ever worked before!