The global pandemic of 2020 left businesses with no choice but to send their workers home and continue operation remotely. This forced change brought light to the fact that around 56% of American jobs are at least partially compatible with the work from home model.
Because of this, the opportunities for long-term remote careers are growing. This is fantastic for individuals who enjoy the freedom of working from home, however, obstacles arise when your home office is limited for space.
Fortunately, we’ve got the tips and tools you need to master your small home office setup and promote more efficient hours on the job.
Whether you are looking to reduce your working time, get ahead in your career, or eliminate the distractions associated with home workspaces, you need to know these secrets for a productive home office setup. Ready to transform your small space? Follow along to discover how to make your small home office setup work for you.
Select Your Desk
The first home office essential you’ll need to purchase is a great desk. Believe it or not, the desk you choose could actually help or hinder your productivity on a daily basis.
With your small office, you’ll want to choose a desk that optimized your space without overcrowding it. Measure your space ahead of time to ensure your selection will not only fit but be reasonable for your overall layout.
For narrow spaces, aim for a low profile desk to reduce bulk. If your desk location doesn’t accommodate for long work surfaces, choose options that maximize verticle space to optimize function. You may even find that choosing a standing desk or sit-to-stand option will make your small area free for movement.
As a bonus, a standing desk will also improve your posture and reduce aches and pains while working, making it easier to stay on task and productive.
Choose the Right Chair
Invest in an ergonomic office chair to ensure your sitting posture is supported and comfortable. This will not only help with those aches from sitting for long periods of time but the improved posture can actually boost your productivity.
For your home office setup, consider choosing a chair that has wheels or is easy to push out of the way. This will allow you to have easier access to your working materials in a small space.
Aim for a supportive chair that isn’t bulky or overbearing. You may even find that options with a mesh backing or lighter colors make your space feel more open and airy.
Get Creative With Storage
Organize your home office set up with ample storage. Take advantage of unused space under your desk or even mount shelves overhead. Use baskets or even color-coded bins to add an element of style and organization.
When arranging your materials into your clever spaces, be sure to consider which items you’ll need access to frequently and where you’ll use them. Try to keep those materials near their area of use and reduce the amount of movement you’ll have to perform to retrieve them.
For example, if you frequently refer to client files, storing those files across the room or in a drawer that requires you to move your chair to access, you’ll waste valuable time digging for them. Not only is this inconvenient, but the stop and start workflow makes it more difficult to stay focused and get into a groove.
Utilize Natural Light
Take full advantage of any natural light that comes into your office by keeping your blinds open during work hours. This will help make your space feel more open and reduce the tired feeling that comes with sitting in a dark space.
To utilize your natural light, you’ll want to arrange your layout around your windows. Try not to place your desk directly in front of the window as this will make for a ‘back-lit’ effect on your computer. The contrast will make it harder to see your screen and a direct view of the outdoors can cause unnecessary distractions.
You’ll also want to avoid light causing glare on your screens by not placing the window directly behind your workstation. Instead, locate a space on the perpendicular wall and soak up the vitamin D that shines through.
It’s important that your office feels inviting to promote a more comfortable environment. However, this doesn’t mean you should overstuff your walls with decor.
Choose decor items that work with your space to create the delusion of a larger environment. Using minimalistic art and mirror placement can open up small spaces and make them feel brighter.
It’s also a great idea to introduce some greenery into your office space. Having small plants near your workstation can promote happiness, reduced stress, and higher productivity. On top of this, you’ll be breathing in purified air from the beautiful plant life.
Chances are your number one home office tools will be digital. This includes your computer, printer, and even mobile device.
To get the most use out of your space while using these devices, consider purchasing computers and machines that are compact or multipurpose. Using a low-profile desktop tower could free up more space for storage or you could switch to a laptop for your internet needs.
A laptop not only reduces the amount of storage space you’ll need for your computer, but the portable design makes it easy to move it over or away for more access to your desk surface. It’s also important to note that keeping your work laptop and your personal computer separate can reduce distractions and build healthier work routines.
Shop for business laptops from reliable brands like Lenovo to keep your home office tools work-specific and stay productive.
When it comes to devices such as printers, scanners, and fax machines, search for multipurpose machines that combine all of your needs into one. This will help reduce the amount of space you lose to bulky but necessary tools.
Clear Out Clutter
Clutter makes space feel smaller and more crowded, especially in offices. Not only that, but the messy environment can actually stall workflow and cause stress and anxiety. To keep your small home office efficient and stress-free, always clear your surfaces of clutter and mess.
Plan for a ‘clean up time’ at the end of each working day to ensure your office is inviting and tidy for your next shift. This will help establish a better environment right from the moment you start in the morning and encourage you to get right to work rather than procrastinate with unproductive tasks.
Give your work from home office a good clean at least once a week to prevent dust and dirt from building up. The last thing you need in a small space is dusty air and dingy surfaces.
Keep It Separate
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to define a clear separation between your home office and the rest of your house. Your mind will need to associate your office with work to establish a productive work routine. To do this, imagine you are leaving your home and walking into a professional environment when you step into your office.
Your space should be free of any ‘home items’ that wouldn’t normally be at an office. Take away the multipurpose feeling of the room and keep it work-only.
If there are other members in your household, make sure this boundary is clearly communicated to them as well. Your family members shouldn’t be surfing the internet on your work computer while you have lunch or storing their stationery items on your desk.
Consider setting office hours to keep you in your office and out of the main areas of the house during the day. This will prevent you from getting distracted or taking an unintentional afternoon off. On the other side, close your office door after hours to keep any home activities out.
Your Small Home Office Setup for Productivity
Now that you know the tips and tools you’ll need to foster productivity in your remote work role, you can set forth with confidence in your new office. From creating the illusion of larger space to developing habits to keep you focused, your new small home office setup is sure to transform your work from home experience.
Want more helpful how-to tips for your remote work roles? Check out our other articles to discover the secrets you need to know to make your at-home business ventures a success.