Do you work from home? How do you make your home office workspace more productive? Read on for working from home tips, ideas to set up your home office, including great productivity tools like a standing desk.
Thanks to AnthroDesk.com for sponsoring this post.
Is working from home worth it?
It certainly is for me, since I’m saving so much time not having to commute to and from an office. Working from home also helps me tremendously with this time difference (Hawaii via Texas is my life right now – I’m 5 hours behind everyone I work with), meaning I’m getting up early to catch up during more regular working hours of my clients. My remote work arrangement allows me to get up and get on the computer right away, then take a break and have breakfast with my family after catching up with my team.
Getting to work from home is such a game-changer for my work-life balance! I have more flexibility in my schedule to be able to take my son to pre-K if Daddy has to be at work earlier than the childcare center opens and still get all my project work done.
How can I make my home office more productive?
Working from home productivity is a difficult concept since there are so many distractions that come about when we’re home. Even so, there are tools and mom hacks we can try to help us stay focused on our projects to get our work done, so we can clock out on time and spend time with our family.
Something often overlooked when working from home is our workspace. I fell into this trap in our previous home, where I set up a temporary work station on our kitchen table. It was less than ideal, and as I started working from home more and more leading up to our relocation, that set up was getting extremely uncomfortable and annoying.
Before we even moved into our rental and were still in a hotel, I bought a desk. I have two computers I use for work – one from my company and one from my client. I needed a desk to fit both in a usable format, in addition to my monitors, keyboards, mouse, laptop risers, docking stations, etc.
I ended up buying a modern sleek L-shaped desk that maximizes space in the room and fits all my work equipment. The L-shaped desk allows me to move from one laptop set up to the next, depending on what projects I am working on at the time.
My #1 personal professional goal when moving into our new location was to have a legit office space, with all my laptops and monitors and accessories. One computer desk item that was a wishlist item for me was a sit-stand desk. I have seen them used by a handful of people in my office, and I was eyeing it for myself.
So I was thrilled to receive my own standing desk converter from the folks at AnthroDesk – the one I have is the AnthroDesk: ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide.
My husband set this up for me pretty quickly (pro tip – delegate the tasks you don’t have the passion or skills to do) and I slowly started changing my sitting and standing habits. I like how easy it is to adjust from sitting to standing, a gentle push or tug will do it. No strain on my wrists.
I’m starting small, standing for short periods of the day to ease into the new routine. So far I found I really enjoy standing during conference calls/meetings but I still am more comfortable sitting during periods of long typing/writing.
I also received the ErgoSlant anti-fatigue mat, which helps tremendously with keeping your feet comfortable when standing. I have plantar fasciitis so my feet often just hurt. This mat has been great, and I like to stand on it barefoot.
Benefits of standing desk
If you’re wondering whether an adjustable standing desk is worth it, just look at these benefits of a standing desk as well as the risks to sitting too long:
- Standing burns more calories than sitting (Source)
- Sitting too long has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. Standing helps you move more.
- Can help lower blood sugar after meals (Source)
- Can help improve your posture and overall mood and energy, which leads to more productivity.
You can see my new workspace with the standing desk in action in the photo below!
Control the clutter piles
When we have too much in our field of vision, our mind gets lost in the mess. You know how we love looking at magazine pictures of the perfect home or office – but it looks like no one actually lives there or works there? Yes, those work because they are so clean and have no clutter at all – and that is so relaxing to our eyes and mind.
Our workspace is the same way. If it is too cluttered our focus goes out the window with our brain squirreling back and forth. So use drawers, bins, and other storage solutions tools to help control the clutter piles so they do not distract you from your priorities.
If you read a lot of articles about home office design tips you’ll see how prevalent natural light is in all the advice. Natural light is magic for the brain, it helps keep us alert and boosts Vitamin D. Natural light also helps us sleep better at night, which can help us be more productive during the day.
So it is very important to have access to a sunlight window next to your desk. While many office spaces are internal cubicles, a benefit of working from home is you can pick a room for your home office that has a great window.
Proper overhead or desk lighting is also very important for a healthy and productive work from home setup.
Essentially, this line item means we need to stay off Facebook. Guilty! Distractions like housework, social media, and even our family, are more significant when we work from home since they are all more accessible.
In the office, we can’t see our laundry pile and maybe have a colleague neighbor sitting right by you looking over your shoulder, so you don’t want to be seen on social media all day. At home, these constraints are no longer, so it is up to us to have the willpower to close the door and put our phones down.
The reality of working from home means there is no physical boundary between work and family. You no longer leave work and drive home. Work is literally in your home. So it is vital to set boundaries for your time and your energy, so you can focus on work during work hours, and give your family your time too.
Setting boundaries could be setting simple time rules – don’t check/answer emails after X o’clock. Don’t check your work email before bed, or when you are out or relaxing.
If your neighbor is too chatty or a family member keeps wanting to come over or call since you’re “home anyway” be sure to explain that you are not available during your work hours. Then stick to it – don’t answer the door or the phone during those hours.
Long periods of work and stillness are detrimental to our health. It is important to remember to take breaks! Remember the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain. That means, every 20 minutes, take a screen break. Stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Windows are great for this!
Since you’re skipping out an all the time you would spend commuting, schedule in some time for physical activity. Do a quick 15-minute YouTube workout video before lunch, or go for a walk around the block.
Maybe do a few squats from your standing desk position every hour. Dance or do some jumping jacks after a meeting. Get your body a burst of energy to keep focused on your work and stay healthy at the same time.
How do you keep a productive home office? Share any working from home tips on productivity that we may have missed!
Here’s an infographic with more ideas:
Here’s another lovely infographic about organizing your home office:
Infographic by: Office Design Specialists