In the last year, working at home now has an entirely new meaning.
For some, it’s been a welcomed transition, reduced commute times and allowed you to spend more time with your dog or kids.
For others, working at home has been pure chaos. Makeshift desks on the kitchen table, no ergonomic friendly setup, and the inability to shut down when work is “over.”
So what’s the solution to successfully working at home?
Creating a home office that sets you up for success.
Since more and more companies are allowing team members to work at home, it’s time to make your success inevitable with an at home setup. In this post, we’ll show you how to do it without breaking the bank.
How to Build a Home Office
When it comes to building an office you need four essential ingredients to get started: an office chair, desk, additional monitor, and noise-cancelling headphones.
Here’s why these four are so important…
1. Comfortable Office Chair
First things first, you need an office chair.
Sitting at your dining room table chair or bar stool at the island isn’t going to do your back any good. Over time, this can lead to back issues, poor posture, and all kinds of other health issues.
Instead, you want to invest in a high quality chair so you are comfortable when working at home. If you don't want a big, bulky chair that belongs in the corporate world, opt for a gaming chair instead. These chairs are sleek, stylish, and meant for long term sitting so it’ll be very comfortable during the workday.
2. A Real Desk
The second key ingredient is investing in a desk.
Having a real desk and not your kitchen table, will help stay organized, improve your posture, and avoid wrist issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. Plus, I’m sure your family won’t mind having the dining room table back either.
Optional: Standing Desk
If you want to upgrade your desk setup even more, invest in a standing desk!
A standing desk helps offset sitting down too long and is much more ergonomic than sitting all day. The cool thing about standing desks is that they are cheap, simple to set up, and can hold two monitors easily. Plus, you can sit in your chair like normal so you can go from sitting to standing or vice versa easily.
A standing desk sits on top of your desk and usually has a keyboard shelf and large upper area to hold your monitors. They are cheap, easy to set up, and a great way to stay fresh and energized during the day.
Ever since I got one it’s been a game changer and can’t recommend it enough. Trust me, your back will thank you too.
3. Upgraded Monitor
The third main ingredient you need for an epic home office is an upgraded or second monitor.
Having an extra screen (or larger screen) will help you stay organized and get more done. Plus, if you’re on a Zoom call, you can have other necessary documents or presentations open on the other screen.
Since most people have a laptop, having a second monitor will help tons. Plus, you can easily store it away or transport if needed as well.
4. Noise Cancelling Headphones
The final non-negotiable item you need is noise-cancelling headphones.
If you have other people in the house while you’re working, they are even more important. And if you are working solo, they are still helpful in keeping you productive and focused.
Listen to binaural beats or instrumental music on repeat to get more done and stay in the zone. Don’t let noises and other distractions hold you back from getting everything completed.
Focus is almost a lost art these days, but a pair of quality headphones might be just what you need.
Bonus: How to Upgrade Your Workspace
Now that you have the big four items for your home office, here are a few more easy tips to accentuate and upgrade your workspace.
- Indoor plants: Did you know that indoor plants can help improve your mood and increase your productivity? That’s right, according to a WeWork survey, plants can help provide a more profitable, enjoyable, and comfortable workspace. Plus, they are visually appealing too!
- Improve your lighting: I think it's safe to say there is nothing worse than office lighting that feels like you’re in the movie Office Space. Upgrade your lighting by buying several smaller lights and avoid an overhead light entirely.
- Backdrop: If you’re on a lot of Zoom meetings throughout the day, a solid backdrop is a good investment too. You can buy ones on Amazon for a small investment that looks very professional and attach to your walls without any tools required.
Home Office Setup - Small Space
But what about if you live in an apartment building or don’t have an extra bedroom?
No problem, use these tips to create the perfect home office setup.
1. Create Your Space
Even if you don’t have an extra room for an office, it’s vital to create your own workspace dedicated to one thing - work. Otherwise, work and life will likely blend together way too easily and make it nearly impossible to shut down at the end of the day.
By having a designated workspace, it will signal to your brain when it’s time to work. To make this effective, only use your workspace for work related activities!
2. Communicate With Your Family
Once you create a workspace, make sure you share it with the people that you live with.
Clearly communicate that this space is yours for work only and that when you’re there, you’re in the zone. Setting clear boundaries with people you live with will help you stay focused and not get distracted throughout the day.
Bonus: Work At Home Tips
Now that you have a great home office setup, here are a few tips I’ve found to be incredibly helpful when working at home.
- Batch work. Try to do the same tasks in one window of time to avoid jumping from task to task. When you avoid context switching, you can get more done in less time.
- Wear protective glasses. As you know staring at a computer and/or your phone all day isn’t good for your eyes. Invest in a pair of TrueDark Daylights Elite to block harmful light and protect your eyes.
- Take a break from technology. Sometimes, you just need to get up and disconnect to stay energized. Don’t be afraid to go for a walk, do some stretches, or unplug for the second half of your day to finish strong.
- Clean your workspace regularly. A cluttered desk or workspace leads to a cluttered mind. Make it a daily or weekly habit to tidy up your workspace just as you would in the real world.
- Create an end ritual. This will signal to your brain that it’s time to quit working and focus on the rest of your life. Whether it’s closing your office door, shutting your laptop, or closing out all windows on your desktop, you want to find some ritual to signal the work day is over.
Since no one knows what the future holds, it’s essential that you create an office setup asap. You want an office that helps you increase productivity, reduce stress, and makes it easy to separate work from the rest of your life.
Whether you have an extra bedroom to dedicate for your office or not, these tips will help you get started. As you work at home for more time, try to identify triggers that distract you and adjust accordingly.
These home office tips should help you stay focused, productive and make the most of your time working at home.