There are currently over 4.7 million people working remotely, at least part-time. Worldwide, 16% of companies are fully remote. With so many people currently working from home, a home office is quickly becoming a necessity.
Just because you're working in the comfort of your home doesn't mean you can't have a professional workspace. In fact, you need one to remain focused and productive.
Designing an ergonomic office is also an investment in your overall health and wellbeing. If you're ready to give your home office an overhaul, keep reading.
In this article, we'll share 10 things to keep in mind when creating an attractive, cutting-edge work environment at home.
1. Location, Location, Location
They say location is everything when it comes to moving, going on vacation, or choosing a new career. This theory also applies to designing your home office.
You need an office space that's quiet, secluded, and conducive to your line of work. If your house has an extra bedroom, finished basement, or other spare room, you're in luck!
If not, you'll have to get creative. Consider using the corner of your bedroom or living room, a foyer, or even a walk-in closet as your designated workspace. Ideally, your home office will offer a certain level of privacy so you can concentrate and work efficiently.
Even when space is limited, it's important that you have enough room to get up, move around, and stretch. A home office that's too small or claustrophobic can stifle your creativity and make for an uncomfortable work environment.
Remove all clutter and unnecessary items from the area before getting to work including clothes, storage boxes, and other house supplies. Decluttering your office space promotes productivity and focus. Invest in wall shelving or a small file cabinet to store loose papers and important documents out of sight.
2. Choose a Complimentary Design
Your home office should be both attractive and functional. Especially if it's a shared space in the main part of your home. Consider the room's decor and design features and carry these through into your office space.
For example, if your home has a contemporary feel, invest in complimentary home office furniture. Clean lines, a black and white color palette, and different textures are all contemporary features you can include. Use your home's decor and style as inspiration when designing your workspace.
Your home office design should also compliment your personal style. Incorporate different shades of your favorite colors and ones that promote creativity like orange and yellow. Red is said to boost productivity and green can make you feel optimistic and refreshed.
3. Create a Designated Space
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult for remote workers. When your work life overlaps with your home life, it's important to create a clear divide. One way to do this is by physically dividing your home office space from the rest of your home.
If you can't claim an entire room as your own or build a permanent wall, you can make do with what you have. Use furniture to create a designated area, a folding wall, a portable screen, or even a curtain.
While some people want their home office to blend in, others prefer that it stands out. Instead of matching the furniture and colors with the rest of the room, make your workspace unique. Paint a single wall a vibrant color that stands out. Opt for furniture that's completely different from the rest of the room.
Your home office also needs to be treated as such. Only perform work-related tasks in the space. Avoid reading, watching television, socializing, or engaging in any other activities. Doing this helps your brain switch gears from "work mode" to "relaxation mode" once you're off the clock.
4. Invest in the Right Chair
Let's talk about home office furniture options. The right chair can do wonders for your health, productivity, and overall comfort. Nothing distracts you from work more than neck or back pain or a sore backside. Your office chair or stool should combine style, support, and comfort.
Ergonomically-friendly chairs offer adequate support, promote good posture, and prevent unwanted injury and discomfort. There are countless chair design options to choose from based on your needs, budget, and home office size.
Chairs with wheels and a swivel base are ideal if you have a large office and need to move from one area to another. Chairs with mesh seating and backrests provide adequate airflow to help regulate your body temperature.
Active chairs are another great option for anyone who sits most of the day. Wobble chairs, balance stools, leaning stools, and perch chairs allow for mobility, flexibility, and variety during your work day. Now, you can rock, twist, sway, and remain active from a seated position.
Not only do active chairs engage your core and promote good posture, but they're fun! They help you stay alert and engaged at work, increasing blood flow and burning a few extra calories.
Perch desks and stools are ideal if your home office has a standing desk (more on this in a minute). These seating options are adjustable and more practical than an oversized exercise ball. Balance boards are especially challenging for anyone looking to sneak in an abdominal workout while working!
5. Consider a Standing Desk
The right chair or stool is nothing without the right desk. Standing desks are proven to be the most versatile for designing an ergonomically-friendly home office -- plus they're great space-savers.
A basic desk should accommodate all your necessities like your computer, mousepad, phone, pens, and other office supplies. These items should be within arm's reach to avoid unnecessary strain or excursion. Some desks come with built-in storage drawers and shelving. If yours doesn't, be sure to add these features elsewhere in your home office.
Standing desks are also great for a small home office where space is limited. Instead of filling the area with an oversized, clunky wooden desk, choose a more streamlined and stylish design. Standing desk converters are another affordable option. Place one of these adjustable desks on a table or piece of furniture and instantly transform the space.
While not everyone likes to work standing up, adjustable desks give you the option to do both. You can sit at your desk and work at a traditional height. When your back gets sore or you feel yourself slouching, stand up! Simply raise the desk platform to a comfortable height and stretch out. This promotes good circulation, reduces your risk of obesity, and helps you stay alert and focused.
An ergonomic office desk should be approximately 29-inches tall with a separate slide-out tray a few inches lower for your keyboard. This supports functionality and prevents discomfort.
6. Shed Light on the Situation (Literally)
Lighting is an important design element that most people overlook. A poorly-lit room can cause you to squint, triggering headaches and leading to eye strain.
Natural light is the best and what's even better is that it doesn't require an outlet. That means you have more options for where to place your home office. If possible, choose a room with a window or an area that gets plenty of sunlight during the day. Strategically placed mirrors and lightly colored walls reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your workspace.
Skylights are another great way to let natural light in. If your house has one, consider placing your work desk nearby. Exposure to sunlight has other benefits too. Vitamin D can eliminate stress and promote overall wellness, keeping you happy and healthy.
If your home office lacks a window or outside light source, opt for a small desk lamp with a soft, warm bulb. Avoid harsh fluorescent lights or lights that are overly bright or cast shadows on your workspace. When it comes to lighting your home office, remember, that brighter isn't always better.
When all else fails, you may need to install an overhead light fixture.
7. Check the Temperature
Temperature plays a major role in your productivity, happiness, and overall comfort. Working in a home office that is too hot or too cold can be distracting and lead to costly errors. A room that's too hot will cause you to sweat and may even lead to dehydration. If your workspace is too cold, you'll be more focused on staying warm than the task at hand.
Extreme temperatures also force your body to exert excess energy as it works to regulate your temperature. This can lead to fatigue and make it difficult to concentrate.
There are varying opinions about what the best office temperature is. And unless your home office has its own A/C or heating unit, you may have roommates or other family members fighting over the thermostat. While the ideal temperature for sleeping is 67 degrees Fahrenheit, you want a room that's around 71 degrees for optimum working conditions.
OSHA recommends an office temperature remains between 68 and 76 degrees. The average home is set to about the same, so regulating your home office temperature should be fairly easy.
8. Think About Your Work Flow
Do you have a fast-paced job that requires you to move around a lot? If you're grabbing for papers, using multiple monitors, or even hosting meetings, you'll need a home office that supports your workflow.
Imagine sitting at your desk. What needs to be within arm's reach?
If you need files, folders, a telephone, a printer, or a fax machine, they should all be located close to your workspace. A rolling chair will make it easier to move around and access items. If you're using a standing desk, you can simply walk where you need to go. Active chairs also let you lean, stretch, and navigate your space more easily.
Your home office furniture needs to be both functional and attractive. Consider your workflow needs first and your favorite design elements second.
9. Get Techy with It
Most remote jobs rely heavily on technology. From Zoom meetings to conference calls and scanning and faxing documents, you need the right equipment. You also need a power source to keep things running.
When designing your home office, check to see how many outlets the area has. Is it close to the router and modem for your Wi-Fi? Some fax machines require a cable connection as well.
There's nothing worse than setting up and designing your new home office only to realize you don't have the required connections nearby. Once you have everything plugged in and running, it's time to hide those unsightly cords.
Most desks have a convenient hole you can guide the cords through to keep them neat and organized underneath. Cord covers act like a sleeve to gather and conceal them. You can also use a wire organizer or tubing.
Once your chair is in place, no one will even notice all the wires powering your workspace.
10. Personalize It
While your home office needs to be functional, it should also be inspiring. Create a space that reflects your personality, promotes creativity, and represents your unique personality. Incorporate things that motivate you and remind you of why you're working so hard.
Add personal touches like photographs, wall hangings, or a desk calendar. You can also create a cozy feel by using everyday items in a functional way like using a coffee mug as a pen holder.
Decorating your home office is one thing. Adding unnecessary items is something different and should be avoided. Remember, clutter in your environment also clutters your brain, creating unwanted distractions. Keep decorations and additions to a minimum while also staying true to your style and personality.
Creating a Home Office That's Functional and Fashionable
Working remotely has many benefits. You don't have to endure a stressful commute or waste half your paycheck on gas. You do, however, need to create a home office that meets all your needs and is both functional and attractive.
If your home has a spare room, you're already ahead of the game. If not, designing a work-from-home space can be quite challenging.
With these 10 tips and a little creativity, you can create a workspace that supports productivity and your overall health and wellbeing. Ergonomic furniture is a must-have addition to any home office.
From standing desks to active chairs and anti-fatigue mats, Uncaged Ergonomics has everything you need to fit your needs, budget, and style. Click here to shop for all of our revolutionary products and let us help you design the home office of your dreams.