Working Remotely? How to Create a Productive Home Office Setup
by Erica Garza
With millions of Americans working remotely in 2020 — potentially signaling a permanent shift to more flexible work-from-home policies — it’s imperative employees learn how to create a productive home office setup that stimulates creativity and minimizes distractions. From hiring a junk removal service to clear out clutter to treating yourself with ergonomic seating, here are some tips on how to work from home comfortably and efficiently.
Clear Out Junk
While you may already have your eye on your ideal work-from-home desk or fancy monitor, make sure you clear out the old stuff to make way for the new. Take inventory of outdated, distracting and unused pieces of furniture and other household items and hire a furniture removal service like Curb-It to cart it away. Curb-It is an on-demand junk removal service in which Haulers bid on your unwanted items and remove them in a safe, contact-free way. Once you’ve cleared out old items, designate a space in your home for working, so you don’t end up on the couch, in bed or at the kitchen table, where you’re sure to run into distractions, from Netflix to the snack cupboard.
If you’re planning on working remotely for an extended period of time, be sure your office equipment is ergonomically designed. Your back and neck will thank you later. If you don’t have the budget to order a new office chair or a sit-stand desk, there are ways to make do with what you already have. Alan Hedge, a professor emeritus at Cornell University in the department of design and environmental analysis told PCMag.com that there are four areas to focus your attention when setting up an ergonomic home office: head and neck, hand and wrist position, seated posture and back support, and behavior. By employing simple household items like a rolled-up towel for lumbar support or stacked books to raise your monitor to eye level, you can turn any space into an ergonomic workstation.
Let in the Light
Studies show that exposure to natural light during the day has positive effects on our health, both mentally and physically. In addition to drawing open the shades to let in natural light during your working hours, make sure you have a soft light lamp at your desk, which can help you avoid eye strain and keep you alert. Having proper lighting in your workstation may also positively affect your circadian rhythm, helping you to sleep better and consequently work better.
Know Your Tech
From a reliable wireless router to a smart assistant like Amazon Echo Dot or Google Assistant to help you keep track of deadlines and meetings, there is so much tech available today to enhance your productivity, no matter where you are. While you may have put up with a faulty internet connection in the past or relied on your shared work calendar to remember obligations, remote working may require you to aim for more organization if you’re going to remain productive. If your budget allows, let your tech make your life easier where it can.
Use Your Vertical Space
If you happen to live in a small home, you can make your workstation more functional by maximizing your vertical space. Add shelving units on the walls for additional storage, like floating shelves or even wall pockets where you can store loose papers and files. Or, maybe even hang a whiteboard to brainstorm or draft an outline.
Adhere to a Schedule
Even if your workstation has become one of the most functional, cozy, and productive spaces in your home, know when it’s time to walk away. Take breaks when you can to prevent strain and stress and try to adhere to a schedule just as you would at an office job. According to Julie Morgenstern, an organizing expert and the author of Organizing from the Inside Out, “When you have a structure, you become more efficient.” While you may be working from home for an extended period of time, don’t forget to live a little, too.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health and VICE.