How to make a small home office work for you
Ideally, working from home would mean having a large, private and quiet home office setup to reside in. But unfortunately, not many people have this option in reality. Whether you live in a small studio or an apartment with roommates, you can still create an efficient work from home setup.
Creativity is key here – make a corner of your lounge room or a dining table work. The spot itself doesn’t matter as much, it’s the association of the spot with work that will help your brain focus. This is why, as tempting as your bed may be, it must be avoided at all costs. Your bed is for relaxing and sleeping, and if you try to work there your brain will never fully transition into work mode. Establishing a spot to work from helps the mental transition from office to home easier.
Below are a few of our tips for creating a productive and functional workspace from home when working in a small space.
Functionality over Features
While designing an aesthetic office space is tempting, the most important aspect to consider is the functionality of the space, especially small spaces. If you work from a kitchen table, then try thinking about moving it to a different spot instead of forking out money to buy a desk. Sometimes you have to experiment to find a setup that works in your space.
Tools like adjustable laptop stands can be a lifesaver for your posture. Especially in a cramped space, you may not be able to get custom heights for furniture to work for your body – so buying a laptop stand can help to lift your laptop around 50 to 30cm off the desk.
As mentioned before, avoid using your bed as a workspace, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid your bedroom! Although it’s not ideal, sometimes the only space you’ll get privacy is your bedroom. So if you decide to set up shop there make sure you have somewhere with doors/drawers to store your work when you finish for the day. This will help you sleep better, not having to look at your work while you try to relax.
Ensure you have a stable wifi connection and all your software are up to date so you have minimal setbacks. New folders, lighting or even fancy writing rolls can help you to feel more motivated when working in a new space – so many invest in something to boost your daily productivity.
Lighting is a must
No matter the location, wherever you are working from must have good lighting. Eye strain can be caused by bad lighting. Good lighting can help prevent that strain and headaches from occurring. If possible, set up near a natural source of light as it can help with mood and also increase productivity. Another investment would be adjustable lights that you can change throughout the day. Controlling the brightness and tones can help to mimic natural daylight and reduce eye strain later in the day.
While natural lighting is more ideal, artificial lights can help create an atmosphere for you to work in. Indirect lighting is mood lighting, placing lamps or other lighting behind or out of direct sight can create the feeling that other people are around, essentially mimicking an office environment – minus the people. Adjusting the brightness of your computer is also important to prevent eye strain. Make sure it is just brighter than your other light sources – and that your ambient lighting is bright enough to read documents without additional light sources.
The Perfect Space
While working remotely one of the biggest challenges is figuring out a good spot for your video calls. As your background is visible in your meetings, you need to find a space that is professional looking as well as too noisy. Letting your roommates and family know when you’re going to be on a call is a good boundary to set, to avoid unnecessary noise. If you cannot find a space for this, consider a virtual background image for your calls. They’re not only good to hide any messes, but also provide some privacy by not showing the inside of your house to all your co-workers.
Having a clear separation of workspace and personal space is important to set when working from home. Make sure to put your work away when you’ve finished for the day. Close the laptop, organise files and put them in a closed-off area, put pens away. This helps you to mentally disconnect from work and check out back into your own space.
Your Office away from the Office
One of the biggest challenges faced when suddenly working from home is the lack of privacy or quiet, especially when living with other people. If you do live with other people it’s important to set boundaries for when you are and aren’t working. Doing this can avoid a lot of frustration and tension between you and those around you.
Noise-cancelling headphones for meetings and general work can help keep distractions from happening. They are crucial to drown out unwanted noise when in deep focus mode. This helps in situations where another person is on a call or in a meeting and you need to concentrate.
Adding greenery to your space as well can remind you that a home office doesn’t need to be lifeless (plants are alive), if you haven’t decorated yet or are struggling for ideas – having a plant nearby your workspace will clear your head. Whether that’s a shelf plant or a succulent, plants help with productivity and motivation.
Whether you’re just starting to work from home or have been remote working for a while, it’s important to make sure your space is optimised for your style of working. If you are looking for more ideas to transform your home space into a home office, sign up to our newsletter today.