How to Optimize Your Home Office

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Point2.

Working habits have seen an enormous shift in the past few years, with remote work and hybrid schedules becoming increasingly common since the pandemic. As a result, home offices have gained in popularity.

However, in the rush to start working from home, many of us settled on simply hooking up a laptop on the dining room table. And, if you’ve been doing that for any amount of time, you’ll know it’s not the ideal solution.

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can optimize your current home office and create an organized, practical and clutter-free workspace.

6 Ways To Upgrade Your Home Office

Home with wide doorway
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Creating a dedicated working space at home can do wonders for your productivity, so it’s well worth thinking about how you can improve your current setup.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Think About How Your Office Can Work for You

Home office interior.
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It’s essential to think about what you really need from your workplace. Remember that you don’t have to continue working in your current location.

So, ask yourself several questions to help you select the best location and equipment to get the job done. Here are a few pointers:

  • When do you work? Day or night? At night, you need to ensure you won’t bother anyone, while during the day, you’ll need to make sure no one else will bother you.
  • What type of work are you doing? Will you be making frequent conference calls or recording video and audio?
  • What equipment do you need to get the job done? A reliable internet connection is a given, but do you also need things like a green screen or recording equipment?

When you have the answers to these questions, you’ll better understand which type of space will best fit your needs. Armed with that information, you can then begin to make realistic upgrades.

2. Make Sure You Have Privacy

Brass door knob
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Ideally, your home office will be in its own room, allowing you to close the door on any distractions. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

But that’s not to say you can’t find a way to ensure you can work uninterrupted. Some of the best home offices are tucked away in small nooks or corners in the lounge or bedroom.

First, choose a room that other family members won’t frequent during your working hours. Next, try to separate your office nook from the rest of the room.

You can try rearranging the furniture to create a suitable space division or hang up a heavy curtain for ultimate privacy and more effective noise softening.

3. Focus on Comfort

Young woman sits and works in an ergonomic chair
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If you’ve been working at the dining table or using a regular chair at your desk when working from home, you’ll know it’s not a great option. These pieces of furniture simply aren’t designed to be used for hours on end.

Aches and pains can soon distract you from work, but over time, you can do severe physical damage to your body and impact your mental well-being.

If there’s one thing to spend a bit of cash on, it’s a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Models with adequate back support and adjustable seat and armrest height, leaning angle, and rotation are ideal.

Additionally, an adjustable desk can enable you to work from a standing position if you feel your body is tired of sitting down. Meanwhile, an ergonomic mouse pad and padded wrist support for your keyboard can keep wrist pain at bay.

Finally, don’t forget to choose a monitor that is easily adjustable to prevent eye fatigue — set your monitor at eye level for best results.

4. Embrace the Light

Man working in home office on laptop
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It’s important to get the right balance of light in your home office — if it’s too light or too dark, you risk straining your eyes. Ideally, pick a room with plenty of natural light. Not only is this better for your mood and productivity, but it also reduces energy consumption.

Avoid the glare of direct sunlight by setting your desk up alongside a window rather than in front or behind it.

Additionally, be sure to install practical blinds and other window treatments to give you complete control over the light throughout the day.

For evening workers or offices in rooms that don’t enjoy much natural light, it’s worth investing in a quality, adjustable desk lamp rather than relying solely on the main ceiling light.

5. Set Up a Thinking Spot

Woman working from home
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Even with the best home office in the world, you’ll sometimes need a change of scenery to get those creative juices flowing.

Try setting up a separate space away from your desk for brainstorming or simply enjoying a cup of coffee while you ponder a problem. A comfortable armchair can be a fantastic option, and a coffee table can be useful.

5 Top Tips for Keeping Your Home Office Organized

top view, designer sitting at desk and working on his laptop, his table is perfectly tidy
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Upgrading your home office is just the beginning. To ensure the most productive, stress-free environment, you need to make sure it’s kept organized.

1. Opt for Minimalism

Dark gray room
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It’s always tempting to pick up the latest office gadgets and all the equipment you’re used to from your previous workplace.

However, you’ll unlikely ever need most of these things, so take a minimalist approach and try to purchase additional equipment only as and when you need it.

2. Use Effective Storage Solutions

A woman in glasses reads a magazine at her desk while drinking a mug of coffee
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Even without excess office supplies and gadgets, your desk can soon become cluttered and messy as paperwork and tools get strewn across it.

Desk organizers are a great way to combat this issue and are ideal for keeping smaller objects in check. Meanwhile, folders and files are perfect for keeping your paperwork in order.

A pegboard can be an innovative way to store everything from paper clips to paperwork. Complete with decor, it can be as attractive as it is functional.

Finally, don’t forget to look up for practical storage areas. Shelves fixed above your desk can be ideal for storing books, files, and much more without encroaching on the rest of the room.

3. Don’t Forget Cable Management

Cable holder
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Tangled cables don’t only look bad, but they can be challenging to work with and soon become a trip hazard. Nowadays, there are many ways to keep everything tangle-free and tidy.

So, spend a little time getting it right for a quick and easy home office upgrade.

4. Keep Your Supplies Stocked Up

Office supplies
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While it’s essential to stay clutter-free, ensuring you never run out of the things you need when you need them most is equally important.

Things like printer ink, paper, sticky notes, and pens are always helpful to have around and in easy reach, so keep them topped up as you use them.

5. Write It Down

woman using stick notes on a whiteboard
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Keeping your thoughts organized is just as important as keeping your desk tidy. The best way is to create a surface for writing ideas down and planning your days.

A whiteboard can be a great addition to any home office, while a magnet board is useful for displaying important papers.

Alternatively, go all out and paint an entire wall in chalkboard paint to ensure you have all the space you need to brainstorm.

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