6 Tips for Home Office Efficiency

woman working on a phone and laptop in her neat home office

With more people working from home than ever before given the COVID-19 quarantine, many of us are scrambling to set up workable space to use in working from home. These spaces encourage productivity and make it easier to do your job remotely, but they're not without their challenges. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your new home office.

1. Choose the Right Spot

Working from home, especially for those in apartments, means your space is fairly limited, so you'll need to be thoughtful when it comes to choosing an area. Find a spot close to power outlets so you can easily charge your devices while working. If you have a surge protector, that’s even better, since it’ll allow you to plug in your laptop, phone, printer, and anything else that may need power. Also select a spot that's as secluded as possible from the rest of your living space and any roommates or family members.

2. Have the Essentials Within Reach

Gather all the tools you need to work well. This may include certain office supplies, such as a stapler, notebooks, pens, and highlighters. It could be a range of electronics, like a printer and headphones. Whatever tools you need should be within easy reach of your working from home space to cut down on the amount of times you have to walk around your house throughout the day, which results in distraction and wasted time.

Organize your supplies in dedicated areas so you don't have to spend time hunting for them when you need them.

wood room divider on pink wall

3. Add an Element of Privacy

If you live with others, it’s wise to set up some element of privacy to help keep you focused. This could be a door, a divider, or a curtain hung from the ceiling with a rod. The privacy factor will allow you to separate from your roommates or family members, cutting down on distractions. It also creates a physical boundary between your work area and living area, which helps promote a healthy work/life balance.

4. Get Rid of Clutter and Distractions

Eliminating clutter and distractions will allow you to be as productive as possible. Keep only the essential items around your workspace in order to ensure your best concentration. If there’s anything that could present a distraction, move it out of your sight. For instance, try not to work with a television in sight.

5. Get the Lighting Right

Not having the right lighting in your work from home space can have serious consequences—it can lead to eye strain, for example, which may prompt headaches. This could have an adverse effect on your overall productivity. Try to set up your work space in an area that receives plenty of natural light. This contributes to a good mood and could boost productivity. It can also cut down your electric bill!

If natural light isn’t an option, use a task lamp with a solid shade rather than overhead lighting, which can create an unwanted glare on your screen.

home office by window with light and plant

5. Allow for Creativity

Not all jobs are centered around being creative and imaginative, but there are elements of creativity in almost every kind of work. Keep something in your work area to facilitate your imagination. This could be a notepad for doodles on your desk, a cork board with photos of family and friends on it, or a message board with a motivating quote. These little touches are good for the mind and spirit.

6. Add the Bells and Whistles

A few optional items can take your office to the next level. If you like working with music, add in a speaker to blast some tunes to get you in the zone. A water bottle can help you stay hydrated, which will keep you sharper. Exercise mats can facilitate good health by encouraging you to take a stretch break here and there. An ergonomically friendly chair will do wonders for your body over the long term, and keep you feeling good throughout the day, and an ergonomic keyboard will help even more.

Polish off the space with a plant, which is more than a desk adornment. In fact, plants are known to help humans better manage stress, refocus energy, and can even help improve productivity and health outcomes.