Creating a Functional Home Office

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Are you in need of a dedicated space in your home where you can remain focused and productive while you get your work done? Whether you telecommute full-time or you just work from home every once in a while, setting aside space to work in will help you stay on task and will allow you to separate your work and home life, even when they are located in the same building. Create an atmosphere that will keep you motivated while you work, but that you can leave behind once everything has been checked off your to-do list. While you may not have an entire room to designate as an office, you can easily make a functional workspace out of nearly any area by incorporating the following guidelines.

Think Comfort. There’s a lot more that goes into creating a good home office than what you see on Pinterest. While it’s easy to become attracted to gallery walls and high-fashion office design inspirations on your pin board, be sure to take the functionality of your space into consideration before you purchase that rustic writing desk with no storage or that trendy acrylic chair with no lumbar support. If there is any piece of office furniture that you should invest money in, it’s a quality ergonomic chair. Chairs with more adjustments can support a wider range of body types, ensuring that you will be properly supported throughout each work day. Be careful about the desk you choose too. You will want a desk that is small enough to fit into your floor plan, but that has enough work surface space to comfortably accommodate all of your projects.

Keep your body ergonomically supported in other ways by positioning your office furniture in ways that will get the job done naturally. The top of your computer monitor should be at or just a little below eye level to reduce the chance of neck pain. Position your keyboard so that your forearms are parallel to the floor, and invest in a footrest if you are a shorter person so that your feet can remain flat on the ground.

Think Design. Don’t go overboard with the colors and décor in your home office. You can and should make it attractive, but an overload of color will distract you from your work. Stick with mostly neutral tones, but pair them with accents of just one or two colors. Personal items help to keep you motivated, but be sure that they don’t get stale. The same photo of your dog that once graced your desk space will eventually seem to blend in with the background after many months of looking at the same thing. Switch that old photo out with a new one every so often to keep the visual interested going.

If you work from home on a regular basis, then it’s likely that you video conference every now and then. Be sure to keep the area behind your desk looking neat and tidy, as it will become the professional backdrop for your video chats. Hide distracting computer cords by purchasing a desk with built-in wire management that will keep your desktop clear and usable.

Think Natural. One of the greatest benefits to working from home is that you get to avoid the stuffy corporate lifestyle. Take advantage of it! Try to set your workspace up near a window so that you can reap the benefits of natural light while you work. Recreating the corporate cubical by setting your desk up in a dark corner will only make you sleepy and hinder inspiration. The lighting in the average household is typically too dark to keep you productive and awake, so be sure to add a lamp to your desktop for those times when the sun isn’t up. Add a little more natural interest to the space by incorporating some greenery. A small plant can really bring life to a dull space, and most potted plants don’t need to be watered daily, so you won’t have to enter your office on the weekends.

Think Storage. The easiest way to get stressed out is to have paperwork floating around everywhere. To keep clutter at a minimum, be sure to equip your workspace with a good filing cabinet. Don’t have room in your home office for a big lateral file? No problem. Many home office desks come with built-in pedestals that are great space savers. If you already have a desk that didn’t come with any pedestals, that’s not a problem either. Mobile pedestals are cost-effective and space-saving options that work well in just about any office setting. Most mobile pedestals are designed to fit neatly underneath a desk so that it will stay out of your way and not take up too much room in the office. The best feature that a mobile pedestal has to offer is its ability to be moved around the office to suit your workflow. Keep it under your desk while you work on projects or roll it over to your bookcase when you’re browsing for information. Another great storage option to keep in mind is a wall-mountable bookshelf or magazine rack. Storing books and paperwork on your wall can save valuable floor space while also adding a touch of visual appeal to the room.

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