Working remotely, or from home on a regular basis can be hugely rewarding. There’s no commute to contend with, you’re able to work whenever you want, and space is yours to personalize and curate to suit your own tastes. The only snag is, sometimes a home office can be difficult to optimize for efficiency and productivity.
Furnishing your home office is different from furnishing a commercial office in that it offers the opportunity to curate and stylize a space that’s all about you, your personality, and your work habits, whereas a commercial space is often outfitted for the masses. So where should you begin?
There’s style, storage, lighting, ergonomics, and clutter to discuss - let’s get down to it. In this post, we’re talking about how to furnish your home office for productivity, effectiveness, and personal style.
Find the Best Space
Not all spaces are created equally. In your home, you may have a spare bedroom that you’ve been planning to outfit as a new home office. Let’s imagine it’s in the basement, or at the end of the hall, in a quiet location, with few outside distractions and a decent footprint. Seems like a great space? You may want to rethink your ideal location.
The physical location of your home office is as much as part of the deliberation as your computer chair or desk — your office needs to be large enough to allow some room for your new furnishings, and open enough to not give you the shrinking feeling of claustrophobia.
Some people work best at the kitchen island in the heart of the home, while others need to be shut away from all outside noise and distraction. In any case, if your intended office space gets little to no natural light, is cramped for space, or gives you few options to alter the layout of your incoming furnishings, consider changing your location to set yourself up for greater productivity and success elsewhere.
Let There Be Light
Light is extremely important in home office settings. The Harvard Business Review found in a 2018 study polling 1,614 North American employees, access to natural light and views of the outdoors are consistently ranked above on-site cafes, gyms, and childcare facilities in terms of importance.
Of those polled, nearly half felt tired thanks to the lack of natural light, and 70% of employees surveyed as part of the Future Workplace Employee Experience Study reported improved working performance.
Should natural light be limited in your office space, there are ways to help maximize its beneficial effects. Consider investing in a sharp and chic standing lamp to accent your desk and replace the bulb with a UV bulb to replicate daylight. Use glass features on console tables and end tables to help reflect light and create fewer solid surfaces for light to be stopped.
Utilize a monochromatic colour palette in your office to bounce and reflect the natural light you do have access to. Alternatively, research the benefits of colour theory when painting and curating your home office - greens, for example, are harmonizing colours that lend well to a psychological influence of revitalization, freshness, and balance while cream hues with a hint of yellow can warm up a colder space and provide an energetic boost of positivity while still helping effectively bounce natural light around the room.
Ergonomics are Key
There’s little use to furnishing your dream home office with the most stylish pieces if you’re uncomfortable all day. Comfort and style play an important role in how the space makes you feel both physically and emotionally, so balancing ergonomics with aesthetics is critical.
Workstation ergonomics revolve around the study of how people and their tools interact, so by examining how people sit, stand, work, and carry themselves throughout the workday, we can accurately begin to assess how to beneficially impact productivity.
People can spend upwards of 33% of their day seated at their desks, so poorly designed chairs, desks, and poorly positioned computer monitors can all affect your productivity and can contribute to severe neck, back, and shoulder pain over time — and when you’re in pain or not as comfortable as you’d prefer to be, you’re mismanaging your time thinking about your comfort, affecting your productivity through the day.
The world’s leading businesses and organizations are investing millions into workstation ergonomics to benefit the productivity and well-being of their staff. Sedentary working positions in uncomfortable chairs can have profound negative health implications for at-home office users, including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Sitting in uncomfortable positions for long periods can also contribute to a loss of flexibility, a lower metabolism, osteoporosis, and even increased chances of dementia, depression, and anxiety.
Invest in a stylish, adjustable work chair that allows you to alter or tweak your position to optimize your comfort and help address issues of keyboard height, neck position, back, and spine position, and overall comfort — selecting a great looking chair adds a stylish and aesthetic boost to the benefits of investing in your wellbeing and overall health in your home office.
Get Rid of Distractions
Productivity is dependent on a space that stimulates and supports working and eliminates as many unwanted distractions as possible. A modern interior design aesthetic lends itself exceptionally well to at-home office designs in that they’re dependent on linear lines, clean cut spaces, and open concept minimalist layouts that utilize few additional design cues in an effort to declutter and draw focus to architectural strengths and use of space.
This can mean reducing the amount of distracting artworks on your office walls and opting instead for a collection of framed black and white photography. Alternatively, consider reducing the busy-ness of your office furnishings and focus on deliberate choices that maximize storage, blend well with a modern layout, and help contribute to the overarching concept of your space.
Consider positioning your workstation away from a view of a busy hallway or family room in your home so you’re not distracted by others at home, and hide the cluttered mess of wires, charge cords, and modems by opting for a desk with ample storage.
At the end of the day, the home office experience is driven by a desire to hone and perfect your professional craft without leaving the comfort of your own home. When your physical space is more encouraging and comfortable, you set yourself up for success - and the home office is the ideal space to flex your interior design muscles and explore the modern style possibilities that turn a spare room into a great office.
Focus on you, your personality, your working habits, and carefully select pieces that ignite your spirit, and cater to a productive day.