Top tips for a home-office haven

Jul 6th 2018

A recent government report found that almost 4 million UK employees worked remotely, choosing to make their home, their office. And increasingly, employers are giving workers the opportunity and flexibility to work from home.

There are clearly many benefits. No commute, more adaptability and less stress. But in order to be at your most productive, you need the right environment for your home-office haven.

Think ergonomically
The top of your computer screen should be at eye level or a little below. As you scan down the screen, your eye lids will naturally close a bit and moisten, which reduces eye fatigue. Position your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Adjust your chair so your feet rest firmly on the floor, or a footrest if you’re short. Splurge on a chair that makes you want to put in the hours.

Site your desk near a natural light
Position it parallel to the glass. This ideal set-up gives you the happiness benefits of natural light, and a good reason to turn away from your computer every few minutes to take in the scene. Overhead house lighting is insufficient for working. Even with great natural light, you’ll still need additional lamps for darker hours. A selection of floor and table lamps offer a nice soft glow and interesting design possibilities.

Get creative with storage
Filing cabinets aren’t the most attractive pieces of furniture, but you do need a place to put papers you use frequently. If you’re the sort of person who needs to see something to remember it exists, try wall storage: magazine type racks, or children’s library-style display shelves. If you need book cases, get them big enough that you don’t need to overstuff, and artful enough that they’ll look great as the backdrop in your video conferences and Skype calls. And if you’re using the guest bedroom? It probably has a wardrobe. Try styling it as a shelving system, so you minimize the need for storage in the main office area.

Create some comfy space
You probably need a place to think or read, aside from your desk. A great home office has a nice comfy chair for curling up–potentially with an ottoman for your feet–plus a table for your coffee and a great lamp. Add a luxurious throw and a colourful pillow and you’ll want to take thinking breaks. Power-nap anyone?

Go green 
Plants bring the outside in. Plus, since most plants can go a day or two without watering, you won’t have to go into your office on weekends.

Get personal
Putting photos of family nearby is great, but rotate the images, and include mementos of success, mementos that make you smile, a scent that makes you happy–rejoice in your personal surroundings away from your regular workplace.

Hide unsightly essentials
Modern offices have metres of cables. Run a power strip behind your desk and plug everything into that. As for office equipment?  Hide your printer in the wardrobe.

Keep a back-up stock of supplies 
You don’t want to be darting out of your home office whenever you need replacements. Keep all your essentials–pens, scissors, stapler, stamps–handy. Consider a small fridge and coffee maker. But don’t keep your lunch in the office fridge. Even if you have an awesome home office, you don’t need to spend your life in there.

Always back up
Data storage and USBs will not only keep your work safe but ensure peace of mind once your day is accomplished.

Related article: The five best and worst things about working from home