How to Set Up a Home Office
All Storage Online | April 21, 2020 @ 12:00 AM
As a result of COVID-19, more of us than ever are working from home. And while the prospect of replacing your daily drive from the suburbs to the city with a short stroll from your bed to your couch sounds pretty great, you might find yourself longing for the familiar structure that an office can bring.
It’s time to set up a home office—aka an office where sweatpants are okay and your cat can nap by your side all day. Whether you’re living with family, roommates, or by yourself, setting up a home office is the best thing you can do for your work from home life. And yes, it’s totally possible even if you’re in a tiny apartment.
Here’s how to set up a home office that works for you:
Choose the Location
Working from bed sounds like a dream come true until the situation becomes a literal dream and you find yourself snoozing more than staying on top of emails. Choose a location in your home that is a bit more practical.
Your home office will need privacy, which could mean a separate room or even just a designated corner of a room. It will need to be as quiet as possible, especially if you frequently take calls. It will need adequate lighting. Make special note of the direction your home office faces as this will determine whether it gets morning light or afternoon light. You’ll also want to put thought into what’s behind you if you’re often in video conferences (though Zoom does have some pretty great backgrounds).
Save yourself from spending the day scrolling through social media by using a tool like Freedom that is designed to (temporarily!) block distracting websites. You should also invest in some quality headphones and consider an ambient noise app like Brain.fm to boost productivity. If you have a space with a door, close it when you really need to focus and consider putting up a sign letting family and friends know to only disturb you if it’s very urgent. Most importantly, communicate with the people you live with about your schedule, any meetings you have, and when you are and are not available to hang out.
Look for functional items that keep your workspace clutter-free, such as cups for pens and decorative boxes for office supplies. Bring in a plant to soothe you, put up photos that make you smile, and paint the wall a bright color if you have the resources to do so.
Don’t Be Afraid to Improvise
We aren’t all lucky enough to have a spare room on hand with a wonderful view and a desk that’s perfect. Everyone’s home office is going to be different, so forget the photogenic offices you’ve seen under the #wfh hashtag on Instagram and do what works for your needs. This means improvising. If you don’t already have a desk, use a table or dresser. You might even find a counter that’s high enough to use as a standing desk. Or order a lap desk for the couch or bed. No privacy? Set up a partition or curtain.
Separate Work Life from Home Life
Despite the obvious joys of working from home (No commute! Access to all of your groceries!), it can be difficult to see where work ends and your personal life begins. It’s important to set boundaries when setting up your home office. Try to stick to a schedule that requires you to report to the “office” by a certain time and also commit to a time when you’ll clock out. Make yourself take occasional breaks to get up and walk around. Have your lunch break in another room. When you’re done for the day, leave your home office just as you would the actual office, and avoid checking email and answering calls if possible. You’ll be more productive as a result, and both your home life and work life will benefit.