Building Your Home Office (from Scratch)
So you’ve secured a position in remote work or freelancing – it’s time to begin building home office space.
Your choices range from a simple desk in the corner of your room to an extravagant outdoor building – which should you choose?
Keep reading for some universal tips on how to set up an office for home work.
Why Should You Build a Home Office?
Do you even need a separate home office? Maybe you’re comfortable working from your couch.
Although some remote workers may not have a choice (for example, digital nomads who work and travel) there are some benefits to having a dedicated office space.
Remote workers are known for above-average productivity. Building the perfect home office helps you work more efficiently – giving you the best chance of being one of these exceptional remote workers.
A Dedicated Workspace Puts You in a Productive Mindset
One productivity benefit from a home office is the subconscious cue to enter “work mode.”
It might be hard to feel like you’re “at work” when you’re on the couch with the TV remote within arm’s length, but entering your home office tells your mind that it’s time to get in the zone.
A Home Office Provides Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life
A common problem when working remotely is the blurred boundaries between work and personal life. Building home office space can also help stop this problem.
As simple as it is, getting up from your desk chair and walking through your home office door gives you a clear boundary between being at work and being at home. This separation helps prevent the burnout that comes with feeling like you’re at work 24/7.
Plus, it can boost your professional image. If you’re on a video call – made crystal-clear with Krisp.ai – would you prefer that your boss, clients, or colleagues see your personal living space? Or, would you rather them see a carefully designed home office in the background?
The Right Home Office Can Reduce Distractions
Are you working with children at home? Constant interruptions aren’t helpful for productivity, but having your own office helps you create a boundary when needed.
Keep all the equipment and supplies that you need on hand in your home office to boost your productivity. Having chargers, office supplies, printers, and other supplies at hand eliminate the risk of venturing from your office into distractions.
Having a Comfortable Workspace Can Save Your Body
Long hours hunched over a laptop in bed or on the couch take their toll on your posture and body.
However, a properly designed home office doesn’t just relieve your discomfort – it also gives you the best environment to stay relaxed and focused.
Saving Money: Is Building a Home Office Tax Deductible?
There’s another reason to build a home office besides productivity: saving money.
Maybe you’ve asked yourself: “Can I deduct building a home office?” The answer is often yes.
Not only can you write off building a home office in many cases, but you can even deduct part of your household expenses from your taxes. Of course, check your local tax laws to ensure you’re meeting all the requirements.
The Best Home Office Setup Ideas in 2020
There are no rules for building home office space. Maybe your ideal home office looks like a set from an IKEA home office, or perhaps it’s a beanbag on the porch.
No matter your preference, keep these ideas in mind.
You Don’t Have to Stay Inside – Want a Garden Office?
It’ll take a bigger budget, but if you have a yard with some space, then it might provide the perfect setting for a gorgeous home office setup.
These outdoor offices, called “garden offices,” give you the maximum separation between personal and business life. You could make it the perfect home office, complete with a kitchenette and bathroom, but converting or building a home office shed could work just as well.
Use Decorations to Brighten up Your Workday
Building your home office space has a single purpose: giving you a space to get quality work done.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some decorations. A few houseplants, gadgets, or pictures can cheer up an otherwise sterile space. You want a space that puts you in a positive state – it’ll help you get more work done.
These decorations can be more business-focused. For example, some productivity experts like to surround themselves with clocks to subconsciously reinforce the importance of our most valuable resource: time.
Hide Clutter While Keeping Necessities Nearby
Do you find yourself frequently heading to the kitchen for a drink, or scouring the house for a pen or paper?
Consider adding a small refrigerator to your home office for beverages. Building home office shelves and cabinets lets you keep everything you need with easy reach. Plus, they give you a place to hide clutter – and visual minimalism helps many people be more productive.
Don’t Forget Your Lighting
Unless you love being bombarded with fluorescent light to evoke memories of your cubicle, you’ll want to pay attention to lighting.
Sitting directly in front of a window could be distracting, but isolating yourself in the dark may not be the best idea, either. An essential part of productivity is proper rest, and natural light can contribute to better sleep by maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm.
Consider putting your desk near a window to expose you to natural light during your workday. If you need to work at night, you might want to invest in lightbulbs that mimic the natural light spectrum.
Investing in the Right Tech Gear Pays Productivity Dividends
For most remote workers, the majority of their work is done on a computer. It makes sense to invest in a quality mechanical keyboard to increase typing speed, and a comfortable mouse that reduces hand and wrist strain.
Having a second monitor can often boost productivity by reducing the amount of time spent flipping between open windows. Programmers, designers, and traders especially might find even more than two monitors useful.
Ergonomics Are Crucial for Your Productivity (and Wellbeing)
Wherever you choose to build your home office, ergonomics are a vital consideration for the perfect home office.
Poor ergonomics don’t just lead to lowered productivity from being uncomfortable – they can lead to serious side effects down the road, like carpal tunnel and back problems.
Here are a few home office tips for ergonomics to consider:
- Adjust the height of your desktop so that the top of your computer screen is at eye level. This setup helps reduce eye fatigue and neck cramps.
- Make sure your keyboard is at a height that keeps your forearms parallel to the floor. Having your arms positioned this way reduces the risk of crippling wrist problems after long hours of work.
- Splurge on a chair – it’s worth it. An uncomfortable or noisy chair is guaranteed to distract you from your work, along with creating long-term physical pain.
- You don’t have to sit in a chair. Sitting for too long has harmful health risks, but a standing desk can help mitigate these problems.
Sounds too expensive? Remember, if you’re working remotely for a company, they might buy you an ergonomic chair or other equipment (especially if you have an existing injury or health requirement).
Ready to Get Started Building Your New Home Office?
The best home office setup in 2020 will vary for each remote worker. After all, personal preferences and jobs have different needs.
Still, whether you choose to go with a simple desk or splurge for home office designers, keep these tips in mind when building home office space.