Working from home is great: No commute, the ability to have a home-cooked lunch every day, and the relaxation that comes with being able to work in a space that’s truly yours. At the same time, if you don’t do the necessary legwork to personalize that space, telework can end up doing more harm than good.
What does your home office look like?
That question matters more than you might expect. A good home office is a relaxing space that helps you focus and excel. It’s clean, it’s organized, and it’s personalized.
But beyond that, it’s also got the right look, feel, and equipment. Here are the most important components of every successful home office.
Separation of Work and Personal Space
Key to your home office is keeping it distinctive and separate from the rest of your life. If you’re not careful, working from home can wreak havoc on your well-being. Rather than establishing a proper work-life balance, it’s easy to trip up and fall into an “always-on” mentality with work constantly buzzing at the back of your head.
I don’t recommend it.
By establishing your home office as a separate physical space you make that balance significantly easier to maintain. You can train your mind to switch to work mode when you’re in your office and turn off when you aren’t. Ideally, you want a separate room. If that’s not feasible, your office can take the shape of a particular arrangement of furniture, or even some portable separation walls.
A Comfortable Chair
Without a doubt, your chair is the most important piece of furniture in your home office. After all, it is where you’re likely to be spending the majority of your time. If it isn’t comfortable, ergonomic, and well-designed, you’re looking at some serious back problems down the line.
But they are expensive. So with that in mind, you’re better off dropping a bit of cash on a high-end chair now than spending even more to fix the inevitable health issues. The Herman Miller collection is great if you’re looking for a starting point, but your best bet is to do a bit of research and read some reviews.
Alternatively, you could just invest in a standing desk.
Greenery & Artwork
You probably know already that green spaces promote happiness, health, and wellness. People like being around plants. By maintaining green space in your office, you can boost your mood, increase focus, and cut down on stress.
You don’t need to go overboard A few office plants here and there is all you’ll need in that regard. The important thing, at the end of the day, is personalization.
With that in mind, I also recommend gathering art and decor that fits your personality. A painting or two, some desk decorations, and so on. Whatever you need to make your workspace feel like it’s truly yours.
Disaster can strike anywhere, and at any time. If you aren’t careful, you could end up losing hours, maybe even days, of work to anything from an electrical storm to hardware failure. The good news is that protecting yourself from that kind of thing is pretty easy. All you need to do is invest in a decent uninterruptible power supply (with battery backup) and an external hard drive.
Make sure to run a daily, automated backup process too.
A Dress Code
Maybe this last one seems a bit confusing. After all, isn’t one of the biggest perks of working from home that you can do so in your underwear? Yes and no.
There’s been quite a bit of research carried out on how clothing influences our state of mind. And by all accounts, it has a direct influence on how we perform. Stumbling to your desk in nothing but your skivvies might seem pretty awesome, but taking the time to shower, shave, and put on decent clothes can actually have a huge positive impact on your productivity.
You Are Where You Work
Your home office is more than just a workspace. It’s where you set the stage for your job, and where you establish your mood and approach to your work.
Do things right and you’re set for success.
About the Author: Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.