6 Tips to Create a Productive Home Office

Yadi Pacheco

Most employers are still on the fence on whether employees should be able to work from home and weather it's more productive than a regular job setting. However, research from a recent Harvard business review article suggests that people who work their same office schedule from home get a lot more done per day than those that work in a regular office. 

When I asked the people I know that work from home about this, their opinion was that having the freedom to create and control the space they needed made them feel more comfortable, which helped boost their creativity. Others said that they were able to concentrate better without the distractions of a regular office setting. 

I myself after having worked in a regular office setting for fourteen years have found significant value in working from home, of course,  to set up a home office can be as simple as placing a desk in a spare room, maybe even in your own bedroom like I used to do, or opening up a laptop on a kitchen table like my husband still does, but now that I work from home on a regular basis, I feel like I deserve more than a replica of the claustrophobic cubicle  I left behind. 

I spoke to five other people who also work from home and  looked at their work-spaces. I was able to come up with six DIY improvements you can do to your home office in order to help you be more productive.

Bellow are what I consider to be best best productivity tips we could come up with, which you can replicate and try out in your own work space:

1-De-clutter Your Desk. It’s pretty obvious that thumbing  through a sea of papers and pens delays your progress, but what exactly should you have on your desk? Well, you obviously won't be able to keep you desk completely cleared, unless your home office is not really an office and is more part of your home-decor, but keeping a tidy work-space will help be more focused; for example: Sticky notes can be a helpful tool or your worse enemy when it gets out hand, extra books, piles of paper, empty containers of the different drinks you had that day plus cups half full of lukewarm coffee will only serve the purpose of  detracting you from your productivity and it will affect your concentration.

2-Lighting is key.  When I say lighting, that includes natural light that comes from your windows as well  as supplemental lighting from say, an adjustable desk lamp. You want to avoid glare on your screen; u
se a supplemental desk lamp that shines down on paperwork rather than the computer screen, position your monitor so that a window run alongside the workstation rather than in front of or behind the screen, tilt your monitor so that you don’t have to bend your neck.

3-Your chair should be comfortable. How often do you hear people complain about back pain? I don't know about you, but I hear it a lot, even from people that have not even reached the age of forty and although people with constant back pain should see a doctor, most of us can avoid and reduce the amount of pain we endure by changing where and how we sit. If your chair is old or poorly designed, it will most likely contribute to your back pain. Any amount of pain is detrimental to productivity. Now, no matter how ergonomically designed your chair is and how well you can keep your posture, avoid sitting all day without breaks, take a walk and stretch your legs. Not only will these breaks help you return to work refreshed and feeling renewed, but they will also keep your body healthier.

4-Bring some green into your home office. Numerous scientific studies have proven the benefits of having more greenery in your work-space. According to entrepreneur.com adding plants to your office could boost your productivity by up to 15 percent. Other studies  found significant reductions in stress among employees after introducing plants to their work-space; a 44% decrease in anger and hostility; and a 38% reduction in fatigue. Adding just one house plant can promote well-being and increase performance making you overall more productive. 

5-Make it personal. Personal items make the difference between a regular office and a home office. I mean, considering the amount of time you spend in your designated work-space, wouldn't you want to put your own personal stamp on it? You could start with something simple like painting your walls in your favorite color, keep in mind that colors have an effect on your mood, so choosing the right color is as important. I remember when in my attempt to create an accent wall in my living room I ended up with what it looked like a wall taken straight out of jail cell, it was the most depressing color to have ever inhabited my home, so I went back to my off-white save space, banning that hideous green from my house for all eternity. Area rugs are a great solution to the issue of protecting your floors, it will give you a softer surface and your feet will appreciate it, also, it adds your own personal artistic element. Don't forget about your walls either, anything from a  DIY whiteboard calendar to a more elaborate and therefor more expensive work of art, will give your home-office that edge and personal touch that makes your work-space unique

6-Noise and distractions. Avoid items that move or make constant noise, like loudly ticking clocks. ugh... don't get me started with wind-chimes, I know we are talking about interior items, but this subject made think about how much I dislike them too. Even digital picture frames can be annoying, this one I'm guilty of since I actually own one, but I have to admit that they can be fun at first but can easily become distracting and even irritating over time. 

Working from home is a luxury many of us look forward to achieving. If you're lucky enough to experience it, then creating a stylish and functional work-space where you can be productive and comfortable is a must. 

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