At the beginning of the year, many people would never have imagined that they would spend most of their days working in home offices. Those who had to make the switch might have thought remote work was a fun novelty at first, but much of the shine has likely since worn off.
Likewise, those who are still going into corporate offices but have more flexible hours — or who may be studying or simply need a place to finish up a few tasks after a long day — might also be looking for ways to improve the room they use for such tasks.
If you are one of those working remotely and struggling with productivity, there are steps you can take to maximize the effectiveness of your office design and space. Here are some home office ideas that will make you feel more studious, productive, and organized.
1. Home office ideas and equipment
There are a few things you will need to have on hand when setting up a home office work area. Here are a few ideas to get you set up in style:
A good desk
Solid, high-quality desks are a must for any home office space, whether you prefer a secretary desk or a standing desk. Many stores like IKEA have a wide variety of desk styles for you to choose from, or lots of online retailers feature sturdy, attractive options. If a desk seems too formal for your style, consider a narrow table or other long surface space that will have the same effect with less formality.
The right desk chair
Make sure to purchase a comfortable desk chair as well. If you are on a budget, check out some local thrift stores which may have a collection of options from which to choose. You’ll want to consider how supportive your chairs are in terms of ergonomics, that they fit with the décor and design ideas throughout the room, and is also the right size for the space.
Storage solutions like cabinets and shelves
No office is complete without adequate storage options, but not every room is equipped with built-ins. There are plenty of cabinet options and shelves in various sizes to fit any space and budget, meaning you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit for your space.
A quality computer
If you don’t already have a good computer, consider buying one that is reliable enough to use for all of your tasks. When purchasing your computer, you may want to get the appropriate accessories as well, including a mouse (if you use one), a mousepad, high-quality headphones, and products to keep your computer clean and tidy.
Purchase some calendars and notebooks to keep in your home office. These items will help to keep you on-task so you don’t miss any important deadlines. You might consider additional furniture, as well, such as a side table to hold a digital clock, phone, or table lamp.
There might be other things you want to keep on hand, so consider your unique needs and style when creating your overall office design. You want to set up a workspace to look and feel both comfortable and inspirational, which means all ideas are good ideas.
2. Analyze your work style and needs
Before you assemble your desk and set up your home office, think about how you tend to function best. A few things to keep in mind:
- If you like working in a collaborative environment, you might do well in a more open space, such as a nook adjacent to the living room.
- You might also look at the lighting in whatever workspace you choose. Good lighting is a great way to help improve focus.
- Do you need a free wall for cork boards or calendars, or a blank one covered in a material like just wood to help you clear your mind? Consider which walls you might be able to spare in the short and long-term, or which will be least obtrusive.
- Do you want a gallery wall for inspiration instead? A place where you can display photos, art projects, and other designs might be what you need.
- How much furniture do you require during the day? A desk with a chair can go against almost any wall, but a desk, comfy chair, storage cabinet, and wood table might need space of its own.
Those who prefer to keep their home offices very separate from their everyday life might want to consider setting up their home office or desks well away from distractions, such as a guest room or larger storage closet. Many are set up in flex spaces or a dining room corner, but it is very important to choose an area that feels right for you.
3. Use the right colors or patterns in your work space
When planning your home office design, consider the color palette that will be surrounding you in your new workspace. It has been shown that certain ones contribute to productivity and inspiration more than others, and that some patterns that are perceived as “too busy” could cause headaches and stress.
Experts recommend colors like yellow or muted gold for motivation, or gray, a color that is mellow and soothing. Reds and blues have been shown to have adverse effects on frustration and patience, however. It’s important to keep in mind that it might not be realistic to repaint an accent wall or room in your home or work space, depending on your rental situation. Focus instead on choosing desk décor and office design ideas that incorporate those colors that are most soothing to you.
4. Minimize distractions
Most people who work remotely agree that it is important to stay focused. Here are a few ways to minimize distractions so you can complete your tasks in peace.
Set some boundaries
If you live with family, make sure that they know you are not to be disturbed when you are in your office or at your desk. You might find it helpful to put a sign up on the door. If you don’t have a door close to where your desk sits, try to adjust your home office design so it offers some privacy by keeping your back to the greater room or constructing temporary walls like curtains.
Block outside distractions
Home can be a busy place with lots of noise and activity. If you are working in your study or office, that can kill your inspiration pretty quickly. Try to minimize any outside noise when you are in your office by muting your cell phone, putting on some soothing music, or wearing headphones.
Plan out your week
Organization is king when working from home. At the beginning of each week, create a to-do list that includes your business and personal goals. Check things off of your list as you complete them, and discover how empowering it can be to take control of your time.
5. Boost productivity
Your office design helps to make you feel comfortable and productive, but there are some other things that you can do to improve your efficiency.
Stick to a schedule
It is easy to get burned out regardless of whether you are in an office or at a home workspace. Working around the clock may seem easy and like the best way to get things done, but it can ultimately be counterproductive if it leads to a tired and unhappy brain. It is thus important to create a work schedule to help reduce stress, take breaks, and walk away from your desk when the day is done.
Getting plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you barely leave your desk, will not only keep you hydrated but also help you to stay sharp and avoid the dreaded caffeine crash that comes from relying too much on coffee or energy drinks.
Exercise can help to alleviate work and everyday life stress, as well as burn off extra steam. Make time throughout your day to get some cardio or strength moves in, and watch the way your mood improves.
The Perfect Home Office Starts with a Great Apartment
No matter what home office design you choose, finding the right study area that provides you with inspiration and organization can help make your workday go much smoother — plus give you the tools you need to be a happier, healthier employee. If you’re in the market for an apartment in the greater D.C. area, contact DARO Apartments today to speak with an expert about any leasing questions you might have. We can’t wait to