Your home office environment plays a more critical role in your daily function than you might imagine, and your productivity is affected by them too.
All of them – from the placement of your workstation to your chair, environmental sounds, light, and temperature – affect how much work you can get done, and the quality of your work too!
Here are five ways to set up your home office for greater productivity.
1. Plan the Placement of Your Desk or Workspace Carefully
Where and how you place your desk or workspace may possibly be one of the most important keys to productivity, so it is important to get it right.
Productivity is achieved differently in various lines of work. An accountant, for instance, may be most productive when they minimize distractions so they can focus and concentrate on the work at hand.
People that work in creative spaces, however, such as writers, designers or even advertising execs may actually find themselves most inspired by looking at nature or other strong visual elements.
So what’s the best desk placement?
If looking out the window daydreaming actually helps get the creative juices flowing, then you want your workspace to face the window.
On the other hand, if the view out the window will just create a distraction for you (or if the window faces a fence or other unattractive feature) then you may want to sit facing away from the window.
Some people will find it easier to work when their desk floats in the middle of the room, anchored to nothing, while others actually work best when their desk is placed in a corner, creating the sense of a small nook.
Try out different settings and see which one works best for you.
2. Natural Light is Best
Did you know that light affects your productivity?
And it’s not just the presence or absence of light that matters.
The type of light you are exposed to will have a significant impact on not just your productivity, well-being and overall health.
Different types of light will have a different impact but natural light is, hands down, far preferable to any other type of light.
If you have a window in your office that looks out on something unsightly or possibly right into a neighbor’s house, consider using a decorative window film that will let in the light while keeping the sight out.
Curtains or blinds will block the view, but they will also block out the light.
If your office is in a basement or windowless room, make sure your space is at least well-lit but without a harsh glare.
3. Build in Good Organizational Systems at the Outset
Numerous studies have shown a clear link between clutter and depression, so it should come as no surprise that clutter can also have a direct negative impact on productivity as well.
While different people will always have different tolerance levels for clutter, there is no question that everyone has a limit.
There will always come a time when the clutter just gets to be too much and you can no longer function adequately.
It is incredibly easy to become clutter blind so the best way to avoid it is to set up systems of organizational efficiency from the get-go.
A home office has the drawback of being a space that can quickly become simply an extra storage area if you are not careful.
Even if you don’t struggle with trying to keep excess household items out of your space, make sure you don’t overwhelm it with excess office equipment.
If you still require paper files and large filing cabinets, don’t try to keep them all in the office. Just keep the most recent ones, and store the older ones somewhere else.
Find a good desktop organizer to keep all those little things that tend to be all over your desk in one place.
If you never start accumulating clutter in the first place, you don’t have to worry about it slowly creeping in and slowing you down over time.
4. Make It Comfortable – But Not Too Comfortable
A home office is, by nature, a part of your home. That can make it tempting to place form over function.
There is no doubt that most office chairs are bulky and somewhat clunky, so it can be tempting to use a different type of chair in your office.
This might be a mistake.
It’s fine to place aesthetics over functionality when you’re only going to be spending an hour or two at most sitting in a chair or at a table.
When you may spend upwards of eight hours a day sitting in a chair or at a desk, however, functionality makes a vast difference.
Conversely, it can also be hard to work when your overstuffed couch and downy-soft throw are constantly calling your name for a nap.
That being said, studies show that napping can actually increase productivity, so creating a place to sneak a quick nap may also not be a bad thing.
The important thing, however, is to make sure you design around your own habits and patterns.
If you are chronically not getting enough sleep at night, you may want to avoid putting a sofa in your office and take your naps in another room instead.
Ultimately, ergonomic design exists for a reason, so pay attention to it.
5. Use Biophilic Design
The same way that clutter has been shown to have a profound negative impact on mental health, nature has been shown to have a profound positive one.
Biophilic design uses natural elements to bring as many benefits of nature as possible into your workspace.
Just looking at photos of nature can have a powerful effect on brain chemistry by reducing stress levels, which can in turn help increase productivity.
Filling your office with plants can also help increase oxygen and filter out toxins.
Best of all, some of the best indoor plants for filtering air are also low maintenance, easy care and don’t even need a great deal of light.
Most modern office buildings are designed very carefully with an eye towards creating maximum productivity. While the conditions people do their best work in are just a little different for everyone, there are certainly some commonalities to us all.
The good news about setting up a home office is that you can optimize everything to your specific needs.
The caveat to that, however, is that you still need to design more with productivity in mind rather than aesthetics.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a home office that is pleasant to work in – it should be – but it is the one room of your house that demands placing a higher priority on function over form.
Ashley is working remotely as a content creator, writing mostly about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.