We were all thrown for a loop this last Spring when many of us suddenly found ourselves working from home. Fast forward seven months and it is looking like we are going to be here a while! Here are some tips on how to create the perfect home workspace to maximize your productivity and reduce distractions!

Pick the right spot

  • The type of business that you will be operating from home is key to determining the type, size, and location of the workspace you need. You must also carefully consider day-to-day living as well as special occasions, seasonal activities, and guests. 
  • If you have a family and will be operating a business primary within your home, you will want to incorporate as many of the following ideas as possible to help achieve the best business-family balance:
    • If available, choose a separate room and dedicated workspace. Then you can close the door to keep business in and family, friends, and pets out. 
    • Pick a room or other space where you can minimize distractions, far away from the kitchen, laundry room, and playstation noises. 
    • Select a workspace that is large enough to operate your business. Working out of two or three separate areas of the home is far less productive than working from one area, although you can certainly use another part of the house, such as your basement or garage, for storage, if necessary. 
    • If clients will be coming to your home, the ideal is a workspace with a separate outside door or very close to an outside door. 
    • If you will be operating a business that creates noise or generates byproducts like dust, mess, or fumes, consider the garage or an outside structure for your workspace. 

Set up proper lighting

  1. To reduce eyestrain, you’ll want to set up sufficient lighting in your workspace. Choosing a sunny spot near a window helps. If you need to supplement overhead lighting, consider borrowing a floor lamp or table lamp from another room to create a well-lit desk. 
  2. If after the first day working in your new space your eyes feel overly tired, it’s a sign to update the lighting. Try adding another source of light or adjust the position of the current lighting.
  3. Click here for more ideas on how to light your home office!

Make it ergonomic and comfortable

  1. If suddenly working from home came as a surprise to you, you may not be set up with an ergonomic office chair, but you can still find the next best solution. Shop your home to try and match up a chair and table or other surface that lets you work at your computer or laptop without hunching over. A chair that’s comfortable yet provides back support is ideal. A cushion or draped blanket can help with the comfy factor. 
  2. Another option: consider devising your own “standing desk” out of a kitchen counter. You may need to prop your laptop up on books to create the right height. Whether you’re sitting or standing, attempt to create a setup that keeps your back in alignment, so you’re not bending down to see the screen.
  3. Click here for more information on making your home office ergonomic!

Get Connected

  1. Make sure your workspace is conveniently located near a power outlet, or look for a multi-plug extension cord so you can plug in everything you’ll need – computer, phone, printer – at the same time. 
  2. If you’re going to be doing a lot of video calls, test out a mock call in your new workspace to see how it looks. A plain wall that isn’t too distracting is a good backdrop, and proper lighting (see above) will make the video quality better. While you’re at it, test out the WiFi signal in that area of the house to make sure it is strong.

Don’t work from your bed or couch

  1. It may sound cozy, but if at all possible, it is best to avoid working in your bed. Otherwise, you’ll begin to associate your bed with work and may have trouble falling asleep at night. 
  2. And if you work from your sofa, sitting in the same spot after work for a Netflix binge-watching session will feel less relaxing. Even in a small home, try to create a workspace that’s separate from your relaxation zone to create some mental distance.

Don’t forget to decorate

  1. Sure, this may just be a temporary solution, but adding a little personality to your work area will make it a more pleasant spot to spend time. Pull in a houseplant from another room or borrow a favorite piece of art from another space. 
  2. Trying to create calm vibes? Add an aromatherapy diffuser to your desk or try playing some soft, non-distracting music – embrace those work-from-home perks.

Set ground rules with the people in your space

  1. Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children who come home from school while you’re still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labor, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you’re home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer. 
  2. Give your kiddos their own productive space to work in!