10 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Home Office
Having an effective home office helps more than just productivity, it makes you feel good..
In light of the 2020 pandemic, many companies and individuals have switched to exclusively work-from-home arrangements, which means that setting up an effective office space is of high priority. Custom height desks, break rooms, multiple monitors, not to mention a space that is solely dedicated to work (not shared), are often taken for granted in the office environment. However at home, things are different. That single, work-from-home day, relaxing on your couch and eating snacks might sound like a luxury, but doing that for many months (or years) gets physically and mentally exhausting. Don't even get me started on the importance of cleanliness!
This means that you need to take special care in configuring your at-home office space because the quality of your work and your personal health, are both on the line. Below are 10 ways you can upgrade your home office, to become more productive, and feel better overall.
Here's an overview of this list- feel free to share!
- 1. Get a nice home office chair
- 2. Position your home office near windows
- 3. Get a nice home office desk
- 4. Set up your office away from common spaces
- 5. Make sure your home office has good lighting
- 6. Purchase monitor arms for your home office
- 7. Reduce clutter of your home office
- 8. Use a fatigue mat in your home office
- 9. Get an ergonomic keyboard for your home office
- 10. Add decorations to your home office
1. Get a nice home office chair
I speak from personal experience when I say that having a low quality office chair, sucks. At the end of the day, you're often left with aching pains in your neck and back, not to mention the long term effects on your bones, from a poorly designed chair. If you're like me and double your gaming desk/work desk (probably not the best idea), then these long exposures of sitting in a poorly designed chair can drastically amplify the muscular damage on your body. For this first tip, I suggest getting a quality ergonomic office chair like this one. A good chair is an investment, and a tool that you'll use for your job. Maybe your employer will even reimburse you, if you ask?
2. Position your home office near windows
Like any desk job, working from home does not reduce time spent staring at a computer screen. The benefit of working from home, however, is that you can move your office space (or just your laptop) to anywhere in the house you see fit. If you position your home office near a window, you can take time out of your work day to look outside for a few minutes. Science has shown that while blue light from monitors can be harmful, natural green colors from the outdoors can benefit our health. Even if your desk isn't directly facing a window, as long as you have the ability to look outside with a small head turn, you're good. Natural light is always the best, for our eyes.
3. Get a nice home office desk
This list would be incomplete without me mentioning the benefits of an ergonomic desk- a desk that can move up/down to accommodate for different heights and stand/sit orientations. You home office setup deserves to be optimized for your comfort, and a standing desk is an extremely simple way to achieve just that. While ergonomic desks can be a bit pricey, they most definitely will benefit your work day. You can also find desks with manual cranks, instead of automatically adjusting- these can help you save money and get similar value.
4. Set up your office away from common spaces
One of the most difficult things about working from home, is avoiding distraction. TV, family, your kitchen, etc, all tempts you with their goods times. For this reason, having a home office in your living room might not be the best choice. However, I know that many people who live in smaller, building-shared homes don't have the luxury of multiple rooms, so I recommend finding a small space in your home that is relatively isolated from the rest. The positive effects of having a separated work space will begin to show themselves immediately, as you won't be distracted by every little thing that goes on around you. Find that proper corner and give it a try!
5. Make sure your home office has good lighting
Another upgrade point related to vision and health- you want to make sure your home office is somewhere with a lot of lighting, preferably natural light. Light helps prevent the need for squinting to see something on screen/paper, and thus prevents headaches and other discomforts. Especially for remote jobs that have you busy for extended periods of time, a well-lit office space can upgrade your productivity, and prolong your health.
6. Purchase monitor arms for your home office
If you work from a laptop or computer screen and depend on various programs/softwares, then you're probably constantly switching back and forth between screens. This can get tedious and is not a productive way to work. By buying monitor arms and mounting them to your desk, you can view multiple screens at once and thus, reduce a lot of wasted time. Monitors arms come in some different sizes and specs, so its a good idea to do research and find the model that fits your desk/aesthetic the best. Here's one example that I recommend!
7. Reduce clutter of your home office
This tip is really more for peace of mind and clarity of thought- it's an age old saying that a cluttered desk (or room) means a cluttered mind. So in terms of upgrading your office space to reduce clutter, a simple filling cabinet, or folders, can go a long way in helping you organize all those papers that don't need to be out on the table. A busy schedule alone, is a good reason to buy tools that will help you de-clutter. Not to mention, how about giving your work space a disinfecting wipe-down?
8. Use a fatigue mat in your home office
If you're standing at your desk, good for you. Standing helps keep your blood flowing and prevents long term neck/back issues associated with prolonged sitting. However, standing for too long on non-supportive surfaces will also have its draw backs- specifically in muscular pain. There exist specific mats that are meant to be stood on, that help support the arches of your feet and in correlation- your back. There are different materials used for these mats, as well as different levels of softness, but most of the ones you'll find specifically for home offices (like this one) are all you'll need.
9. Get an ergonomic keyboard for your home office
Carpal tunnel syndrome is no joke, and people who work on computers all day are the most at-risk of developing complications. Much like an ergonomic chair or desk, there also exist ergonomic keyboards, designed to cup around your hands and prevent unnecessary finger strain. I know it sounds tedious, but 40+ hours per week with your hands in the same (unnatural) position, will yield some painful results in your future. Take a short break and order an ergonomic keyboard, you won't regret it!
10. Add decorations to your home office
The final tip for upgrading your home office space, is to take the time to decorate. Funny objects, pictures of loved ones, colored lights, etc, all help play a part in the overall mental health of a work-from-home job (or any job, really). Some people like technology gadgets, others prefer more sentimental objects like cards and pictures, but whatever will make you feel most comfortable in your home office, add it. Here are some general, decorative ideas to get you started:
- Colored LED lights
- Funny pencil holder
- Polaroids of friends
- Art pieces, like paintings
Overall, having a home office can be a blessing and a curse. The benefits of working from home in your pajamas can certainly yield immediate pleasure, but there are long-term repercussions of work-from-home, specifically in regards to mental and physical health, that need to be considered. Take the time to evaluate how your home office is set up, and make some decisions for your future. :)
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