How to Create the Perfect Home Office Space
The lie-ins are great, but for those of us who work from home it can be hard to maintain a work-life balance.
When your laptop is so close to your sofa, and your desk just steps away from your bed, the boundaries between the two worlds can become blurred. Despite this, it is important to separate the two, and doing so physically is the first step to being healthy and relaxed mentally. Here are five top tips to create the perfect home office.
1. Follow strict rules about separating your ‘work’ and ‘no work’ zones.
Don’t let your laptop creep into the lounge – view the boundaries between rooms or areas as a physical limit and leave your work behind as you step from one zone to another. Similarly, don’t let your phone act as a virtual gateway into your work zone. Not checking your emails, or even having access to them on your phone, removes the temptation to let the two worlds merge; work-related emails are for the work zone only.
2. Work to a timetable.
While the 9-to-5 day, and five-day working week, is commonly complained about, having a structure does allow for disciplined working hours and obvious down time. Aiming to finish work at a certain time not only gives you something to aim for, but also evenings that are earmarked for relaxation. It can be tempting to have a lie in and then work into the night, but maintaining regular start and finish times allows you to have a productive day followed by a relaxing evening. Additionally, ensuring that weekends are kept for fun, and not invaded by overhanging deadlines, is crucial in allowing for a refreshing break so you’re ready for Monday morning.
3. Consider your layout.
Whether you have a whole room as your office or just desk in the dining room, the layout of your space is crucial. Make sure your desk is lit predominantly naturally so that you’re not relying on the tiring and artificial light of a lamp. Equally, placing your desk right in front of a window is inviting distractions. Choosing an airy and naturally lit room as your office, and placing your desk with your back to the window, is key to increasing productivity and maintaining morale throughout the day. And remember, having limited light can be harmful, so invest in enough lamps to allow you to power on through those darker hours.
4. Embrace nature.
This may sound odd for an indoor office, but plants are proven to make people happier – so buy yourself a potted plant and smile. A cactus won’t notice if you forget to water it for weeks and can be bought very cheaply, so introducing one, or a whole collection, to your office space could improve your mood effortlessly. Ignore it, tend to it, or talk to it – give a home to a cactus for your mutual benefit.
5. Stock up on essentials.
There’s nothing more annoying than having to pause mid-sentence to find the elusive hole punch that’s been hiding under the sofa for the past century. To be super efficient, make sure that everything you need – highlighters, pens, books, coffee machine – is in your study space and within easy reach of your desk. You do need breaks from your home office during your working day, but having to dart around the house looking for essentials every hour is an unnecessary distraction, especially if other people are at home. Stock up well so everything is readily available.