Working from home can be a tough deal when you don’t have a great home office. After all, you can only work from bed for so many days before you lose your mind – and proper spine alignment. If you work from home – temporarily or permanently – it’s time to set up your ideal home office.
We’ve put up some tips on Instagram for setting up a new home office, but we know that if you’re setting up an ideal home office, you want a full guide to help you set it up well, not just a couple of posts on Instagram (though we do have some top-notch ideas on there – check it out sometime!).
So we’ve come up with 10 tips to help you design your ideal home office – and don’t worry, these tips work whether you’re in the home you’ve lived in for the last eight years or if you’re in a brand new home in Utah. No matter your situation, these tips can help. So here you go:
10 Tips for Designing Your Ideal Home Office
#1 – Pick the Right Space for You
The first thing you need to do is decide where in your home you want to work. This might be the spare bedroom that you want to convert into an office or it might be your kitchen table. Wherever you choose to set up, keep in mind that you need enough space to do all of your work. You’ll also want to avoid distractions as much as possible, so if you can, don’t set up an office in a room that has family members constantly coming and going.
Something else you might want to consider – keeping your work area separate from your other activities. For example, having your office in your bedroom can make it harder to focus because you’re used to sleeping or binge-watching Netflix in there. You may find yourself wanting to do those activities instead of working. But if that’s the room where you’ll have the fewest distractions, then it may still be the best option. Just make sure to weigh the pros and cons first.
#2 – Choose Great Lighting for Your Zoom Calls
When you work from home, video calls are a lot more common. See, even if people are working together from a distance, sometimes it’s still really helpful to talk face-to-face. And if people want to talk face-to-face, then they want to be able to see your face clearly.
So make sure that your work area also gives you good lighting for your Zoom calls. Because honestly, if your face is all shadowed, it doesn’t matter what kind of Zoom background you use. People still won’t be able to see your face, and they won’t be thrilled about it.
#3 – Set Up Your Desk with Everything You Need
The next thing you need to do is get yourself a desk. Now, if you’ve decided the kitchen table is the best spot for you to work, finding a desk is easy – it’s your kitchen table. But if you don’t have a desk in the space you chose for work, it’s time to consider your options.
Maybe you’re working in your living room, so you need a lap desk you can use on the couch. Or maybe you hate sitting for long periods of time, so a standing desk would be better for you. But if you’re working from home long-term, we recommend a full-size desk because it will be more functional in the long run.
However, the most important thing is that you choose a desk that best fits your personal needs.
Once you have your desk, you can start setting up your ideal office space. And this starts with the necessary tools – specifically, your computer.
For a standing or lap desk, a laptop is probably best. But if you have a full-size desk, you have the option of a desktop monitor as well. Depending on your job, a desktop monitor could be a useful tool, especially if you need a bigger screen for research or design.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re set up with a camera, a good chair, and an outlet nearby so you can keep your devices charged 24/7.
#4 – Make Your Space – And Your Body – Feel Good
Now that you have the basics of your workspace set up, you can start working. But there are a few more things you can do to make your home office more comfortable and cheerful to be in. One way is to incorporate ergonomic products into your home office.
For example, if your back aches after sitting in your chair for only a couple of hours, you may need to add an ergonomic cushion to the back of the chair. Or you may even need a new chair that gives you overall better support.
You’ll also want to make sure that you aren’t setting yourself up for carpal tunnel syndrome, so check that you can type in a safe position at your desk. If you can’t, consider buying a wrist cushion for extra support.
Pay careful attention to your body position as you work. You may find that you have other struggles aside from back and wrist pain, like neck pain, headaches, and so on. There are ways to help prevent most of those work-related problems, so don’t feel like you need to ignore the problem. Work will be a lot more enjoyable if you take the time to notice how your workspace could be improved for your health.
#5 – Brighten Up with Some Art
When you set up your home office, don’t limit yourself to just the bare necessities. You’ll have to spend a lot of time in your workspace, so make it a place you want to be. A good way to do that is to include some new art in your workspace.
The great thing about art is that it can easily be included in your workspace, even if you don’t have available wall space. Of course, if you have a big empty wall, go ahead and put some pictures or wall decorations up on the wall. That way you won’t have to use a Zoom background if you don’t want to.
But if you don’t have the wall space for a big painting, there are other ways to include art in your workspace. A simple way is to put pictures or trinkets on your desk by your monitor. If you have a lap desk or standing desk with limited space, you can still include art by changing the wallpaper on your desktop monitor. Even little changes like that can make a big difference to your workspace.
#6 – Keep It Clean and Organized
Even if you aren’t exactly a tidy person, let’s be real here – no one finds a messy workspace motivating. And motivation is hard enough to find when you’re working from home, so there’s no reason to make motivation harder to find by leaving your workspace messy.
So set up an organization system. Maybe that means having folders for the paper clutter that you’re constantly sorting through. Maybe you need to have some small drawers nearby to keep files or handbooks in. Or maybe all you need is a small cup to keep pens and pencils handy.
Once you’re organized though, you still need to keep your space clean. Here’s a quick daily checklist for you:
- Keep dust off your desk
- Toss trash immediately
- Get yourself a microfiber screen cloth to clean off fingerprints
- Sanitize your desk and keyboard – use a disinfectant wipe
#7 – Protect Your Eyes During the Long Work Hours
Have you ever noticed that after spending hours looking at your screens, your eyes get tired or you get headaches? This is a pretty common problem. Most attribute it to the increase in blue light that your eyes are exposed to when using screens. Not that blue light is inherently bad, but too much of it can tire out your eyes.
There are a couple of good solutions to this. One is to take breaks from your screens throughout the day. But another solution, and one you might want to incorporate into your workspace, is blue light blocker glasses.
These glasses are designed to limit the blue light that reaches your eyes from screens. They help prevent digital eye strain, headaches, and can even help you sleep better. So if you’re struggling with the long hours of screen time, consider adding blue light blockers to your home office.
#8 – Meet Your Desk Buddy
Sometimes your office desk buddy can be a little, well, irritating. But when you’re working from home, you have a little more say in who you share your desk with. And since working from home can be a bit lonely at times, having a little desk buddy can help cheer you up.
And the best part is that at-home desk buddies don’t have to take up a lot of space. Some great desk buddies are plants, stuffed animals, figurines, or even pets (if they aren’t really distracting). Picking a desk buddy can make work a little more cheerful and pleasant – plus, if your desk buddy is your pet, you can show off your buddy on your next Zoom call.
#9 – Other Handy Items to Keep Close While Working
If you have the basic necessities in your at-home workspace, you can get your work done, but you might find yourself wishing that you had a few other less-necessary things nearby to make working easier or so you don’t have to stand up every ten minutes to find those less necessary things.
So, before you settle into work, consider setting up a few of these things close by while you work:
- Healthy snacks (pistachios, veggie chips, etc. are good options)
- Reusable water bottle
- Post-it notes for when you need a quick reminder
- A pen or pencil
- Gum (in case you can’t stand the aftertaste of your veggie chips)
- A book or simple project you can work on if someone is late to a Zoom call
- Lip balm, lotion, etc.
- A stress ball or fidget toy
#10 – Block Your Distractions
Is it good to take a 5-minute break every now and then throughout the day? Of course. Is it important to take a short walk or to move around after sitting for a couple of hours? Absolutely. But do you want to be interrupted every few minutes by phone notifications, social media, kids, etc.? No way. You’ll never get anything done.
Once you have everything set up for your home office, you have one more thing to do before you settle into work – set boundaries.
It’s good and important to spend time with family, but not at the cost of losing your job. So you have to set boundaries with your family. If you’re working in a public place in the house, those boundaries may need to be verbal. But it’s a good idea to set up physical boundaries as well.
You can set boundaries by staying in a separate room from your family while you work, by using noise-canceling headphones or listening to instrumental music, or by blocking out specific hours during the day when you need distance from your family.
It can be a challenge to keep distance from family while working, but if you and your family work together to decide the best ways for you to complete your work and still enjoy time with your family, working from home can still be a good experience.
Find a New Home in Utah for Your Home Office
Sometimes, setting up the ideal home office means doing more than setting up camp at the kitchen table – sometimes it means that you need a new home in Utah to set up your ideal home office. And the more you work from home, the more of a necessity it is.
Luckily, it’s easy to find new homes in Utah for reasonable prices – just come to Holmes Homes. We have new homes in master-planned communities all over Utah, so you can find your perfect home wherever you need it.
And now it’s easier than ever to tour Holmes Homes houses with our virtual home tours. Who knows, you might find exactly the home you’ve been looking for. And even if you aren’t looking for a new home, our virtual tours might give you more ideas for setting up your ideal home office in your current home. So check out our virtual tours today!