How to set up an ideal home office

I was pleased to be invited to contribute to Leslie Hughes’ 6/20/2017 ClosetBox blog post “How to set up an ideal home office.” It is reprinted here with permission:

monitor on a desk in a modern office


“The perception: Working from home is a dream. It’s a short commute from your coffeemaker to your desk, you’ve got endless flexibility and you never have to change out of your pajamas. (Just throw a button-up on for that video conference call, right?)

The reality of working from home, though? Sure, there are perks (comfy pants among them); but those who work from home oftentimes find it tough to separate their work life from their home life.

Whether you’re running your own company from home or have a job that allows you to telecommute, you need a perfectly set-up home office. It’s a key to success. (Oh, and speaking of keys, how about locking up that home office when the work day is over so you can strike a better work-life balance?)

These 9 genius tips will help you turn an extra room into an ultra-productive work space.

1. Choose Your Location Wisely

First, some good news:  A Gallup Poll found that those who work from home 3 to 4 days a week are the most engaged workers.

You want to do your best to distance yourself from distractions while working. If you don’t have an extra room and, as long as you keep normal work hours, doubling your bedroom as an office is an option. Just be sure you invest in a desk, and don’t try to work from bed.

We chatted with a professional to the insider secret on why office location is so key.

“In my experience, location, location, location is the single most important consideration when planning a home office,” said Lauren Williams, Washington-based professional organizer and owner of Casual Uncluttering.

If you need a quiet space, opting for an office spot in your home near the kitchen or the back yard (where your kids tend to be loud) is not the best idea.

2. Set up your office space

Chances are good you aren’t turning a completely empty room into your home office. Most of the time, people working from home are transforming a previously used  space into their home office. And you know what that means — making room for your office set-up. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of the leather couch or exercise equipment. Let Closetbox pick it up for free and store it for you until you’re ready to have it returned. Closetbox is like having an extra storage room right at your fingertips, but without the heavy lifting. Closetbox will move and safely store your belongings in a private vault and return them when your want them.

3. Comfortable Chair

Don’t just borrow a chair from the kitchen or dig out a folding chair from the basement. You’ll want to invest in a comfortable, ergonomic chair to keep your back happy . Or, if you’re into it, standing and treadmill desks are popping up everywhere because they’re a great way to keep you moving. While you’ll hardly burn any extra calories from standing at your desk (just a measly 9 per hour , according to research), you’ll still increase your blood flow, which is a good thing.

4.Go Green

Plants in your home office have a number of benefits. In addition to bringing some color and life into your work space, they are also known to help increase your happiness and productivity.

Opt for a plant that is low-maintenance, like aloe or bromeliads , so you aren’t spending your work time worrying about how to keep your plant alive.

5. Personal Decorations

Even though you’re in the comforts of your home, you don’t want your home office to feel like it’s the space you are forcing yourself, much against your own will, to go into every day.

Warm the space up by putting up some family photos, some of your favorite art, really any decor that personalizes this space and makes it a welcoming spot for you to get your work done.

6. Wireless Wherever Possible

With all of the technology we use today, there are a lot of wires. Thankfully, technology is quickly advancing to get rid of those pesky wires.

To keep your office from becoming a tangled mess, invest in a wireless keyboard, printer, and mouse. This will also keep your office looking nicer, so those messy wires aren’t overwhelming you. Here’s a good list of best tech and apps for your home office.

7. Desk Setup

When it comes to your office supplies, make sure your organizational system is a smart one. As an example, Williams says, keep small details in mind — like whether you’re right or left-handed so your desk is organized with that in mind.

8.Keep it Natural, If Possible

Natural light > windowless offices. Arrange your office to take advantage of natural lighting, which can be energizing. Bonus: You’ll save a little on your energy bill by not keeping lights turned on all day.

Have you ever been stuck in a windowless office, listening to the hum of the fluorescent bulbs above you? We hope not.

9. The Sound of Silence

Studies are mixed as to whether working in silence is better than working with music. So, we’ll leave this one up to your personal preference.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to work in complete silence, consider getting a small stereo to play some quiet, relaxing music while you work.

And, if you do happen to be one of those that can only focus in complete silence, you may want to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones that can help drown out the other noises that are likely going on in your house (ahem, kids).”


And here are a few more bits of wisdom on the subject: Solve the Home Office/Guest Room Dilemma

About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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