The amount of employees working from home continues to rise at an unprecedented rate as we head into 2017. According to research conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, “Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005.”
It is no longer a hypothetical trend, but a major shift in the way we run business. Historically, leaders and employees alike have grown accustomed to an office setting to provide a sense of inspiration and organization to their daily work. Today, the traditional office concept has become more obsolete with each year of innovation. Learn how to transform your home office into a center for organization, productivity, and happiness with these seven tips and tricks.
1) Draw a Line in the Sand
The first step to setting up a productive work station at home is to create a clear demarcation between your office area and home. Working from the couch may be comfortable, but it won’t be the most profitable. Don’t get too comfortable. Pick a place in your home that is most removed from the rest of the environment. Think about transforming an area in the garage, a breakfast nook, or—for you empty nesters—take advantage of the kid’s bedrooms. Distinguishing your work area is even easier when you set a regular schedule that mirrors a typical day at the office. Don’t be holed up in your office until 3am. Instead, leave the space at five and do not return until morning.
2) Invest in an Ergonomic Chair or Desk
According to the United States Department of Labor, work-related injuries can easily be prevented with Ergonomics. Consider Ergonomics as the process of fitting a job to an individual, as opposed to the other way around. As the digital age continues to take over the economy, more and more individuals are stuck behind a desk each day. If you are going to invest in anything for your office, invest in your health. Ergonomic chairs and desks have become popular as desk-workers continues to rise. There are so many options today, take your time deciding what is best fit for you. Here are just a few ergonomic options you can look into: a standing desk, the perfect chair, unique keyboards, kneeling seats, and even lifting solutions to support your back.
3) Business Up Top, and a Party On The Bottom
Working from home puts less pressure on employees to maintain a certain level of professionalism with their clothing, makeup, or grooming habits. Although you can definitely get away with wearing slippers all day, don’t let your morning routine go by the wayside. My rule of thumb for remote workers is borrowed from an 80’s hairstyle; business up at top, and a party on the bottom. In other words, if you can’t convince yourself to dress in business attire at home, at least ensure your shirt, blouse, or button-up is work appropriate and professional. This way, you can stay comfortable with jeans or sweats on the bottom if you’d like—and anyone in your virtual meetings won’t see your pajamas!
4) The Power of Organization
Never underestimate the power of proper organization. As most workers know, papers tend to pile up around the office and cords can be a pain. Keep in mind—the more cluttered your home office, the more cluttered your mind. Browse Pinterest and Amazon to find ways to organize your desk, tools, supplies, papers, and reference materials. I would recommend investing in a good labeler so you can more easily track down these tools. In the digital age, the amount of paperwork you juggle should be significantly reduced compared to just a few years ago. Don’t keep anything you can store digitally—we have Google Drive for a reason!
5) Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
Not everyone has an amazing room set aside in their house that is just waiting to be made into a home office. Rather, many individuals have to create makeshift work spaces that end up dark and uninviting. According to the American Psychological Association, natural light is a stress reducer and can keep you motivated throughout the day. It has been proven that lighting has a strong impact on our psychological well-being. If there is not enough light in a home office you can experience feelings of depression. However, if you don’t have a window in your home office, don’t worry! Integrate daylight-replicating lights (nothing too intense) throughout your home office—ideally, investing in hanging lights will save you space and reduce any clutter that may be infringing on productivity. Keep in mind, some days will be cloudy or some nights may be long—invest in one desk lamp that will get you moving even in the dark. It’s also always good to invest in lights that have more than one setting so you can switch things up throughout the day.
6) Get a Business Phone
One huge mistake that telecommuters make is not distinguishing between a work and personal cell phone. If you hold a position that requires a good deal of communicating with outside vendors, prospects, or other employees you need to invest in a business phone. The main reason for this is that you can shut off your business phone when you are done working. Otherwise, you could potentially be contacted for work at any hour of the night. If you are a workaholic and can’t seem to turn the business phone off, at least keep it isolated in your home office. This forces you to mentally put all responsibilities in one location. When you are headed to your home office, even if it is just to check your phone or emails, you know you are about to take care of business.
7) Add Personal Touches
One of the most important aspects to any working environment is integrating your voice, personality, and style. You can do this by sprinkling some of your favorite things throughout the home office. Working from home allows you to integrate a bit more of yourself into your workspace than a traditional office would. For example, you are not restricted to small plants, knickknacks, and family photos like you would be at a traditional office. Consider looking into hanging inspiring art, incorporating fuzzy rugs and throw blankets, or keep it super professional with a monochromatic theme. Whatever makes you happy, put it in your office. You like dark wood? Get an awesome vintage desk and make it your own with DIY hacks.