While most companies have resumed working from their offices, some employees have opted for a permanent WFH arrangement. Maybe you’re one of them or do freelance or contract work where you’re based out of your apartment. Setting up shop at the dining room table may seem like the easiest option. But, if you live with roommates and get easily distracted by your surroundings, or procrastinate in general, establishing a simple home office will create an atmosphere of professionalism and help you remain focused on your work. Having a dedicated workspace also helps you to disengage from your job at the end of the day. Here are some of the basics to get you started.
- Establish a work area. If you have roommates who are in and out during the day or also work at home, the living and dining area is probably off-limits, which leaves your bedroom to serve as your home office. If that’s the case, then reserve a special area of your bedroom for work and work only. Even the smallest space can function as your home office. (If you live alone, then you can set up your home office wherever you like.)
- Get a desk. This will depend on the amount of space you have, your taste, and your budget. There are plenty of options in thrift shops, big box stores, furniture stores, and online retailers. Get a desk that’s the proper height and that has adequate room for your laptop — one with drawers is a bonus. Adjustable laptop stands can help with desktop ergonomics. Another idea is to get a rolling laptop stand where you can alternate sitting at your desk with standing while you work.
- Get a good chair. Don’t borrow a chair from the dining room table. You need good ergonomic support throughout the day. Adjustable mesh chairs are trending right now and are available at various price points. This is one area where you don’t want to skimp on quality and comfort.
- Chair/desk mat. If your workspace is carpeted, you will need a floormat for your chair. Try rolling around in your office chair on carpeting and you’ll quickly understand why you need one. You can find office floormats at office supply stores or online.
- Printer and stand. If the printer stand has a bottom shelf, use it as storage. You can stash extra copy paper, folders, and reference books. There are plenty of innovative office supplies you can find online that multitask, such as divided stands to hold folders and other documents.
- Lighting. Your rooms probably have overhead lights that don’t provide the illumination you need. Invest in some desk lamps or standing lamps to add extra light to your home office. Use a selfie ring light during Zoom meetings so you don’t look like a washed-out zombie to your coworkers or clients.
- Miscellaneous. Make sure you have adequate power strips and charging stations in your office, so you don’t run out of juice during an important call. To drown out the noise from your roommates and other sounds, pick some soundproofing strips for your door. As a bonus, you can save on heating and cooling as the strips prevent warm and cold air from escaping.
These are the basics to get your home office established. There are a plethora of versatile products for organization and saving space online. Get creative and design a functional space that will give you privacy, encourage productivity, and make it fun to get up and go to work — even if it’s just moving from your bed to your desk!
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