Working from home certainly has its benefits; and by ensuring that your home office is set up to promote maximum productivity and efficiency, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of success.
When I first started my freelance writing business I was working on the couch with my laptop, but I soon realised that I wasn’t being very productive, and if I wanted to be successful, that had to change.
So, here are 6 simple tips to help improve your productivity and efficiency if you’re working from home.
In general, a spare room in your house that doesn’t get used very often is a perfect choice. But if you don’t have a spare room in your house that you can use, try putting a small desk in one of your other rooms.
For me, my office is at one end of the house, away from the living room and kitchen. So, it’s easy for me to close the door and have some privacy.
In addition to having a dedicated space, it’s important to set up your home office in a quiet area away from distractions.
Avoid putting a TV in or near your home office; you really don’t need it and you’ll only be tempted to turn it on. And the 5 minutes you were going to watch it for will quickly turn into 30.
But if you don’t like to work in a quiet space, soft background music can decrease stress and increase your productivity and performance.
Although some chairs and desks look cute in photos, you need ergonomic, comfortable furniture if you’re going to be working for 5 hours or more a day.
Invest in an ergonomic chair that will provide excellent back support, and it’s a great idea to have an adjustable footrest. Buy the best quality furniture you can afford; after all, this is where you’ll be spending a large part of your day.
Equally as important, if you’re going to be working long hours on your laptop every day, buy a laptop stand to make sure that your screen is at the right height and you don’t have to bend your neck.
Alternatively, buy a large monitor which you can use with a keyboard.
Personally, I use a large monitor and a keyboard which is connected to my laptop. And I still have the portability and flexibility of my laptop if I’m working away from home.
If possible, when setting up your home office, choose a space with plenty of natural light.
But it’s important to position your computer screen so there’s no glare from windows or overhead lights.
In addition, adding a small lamp to your desk will ensure you have enough light, and it will also help to create a space that you enjoy being in.
In short, bad lighting can cause headaches, eyestrain and fatigue; none of which will help your productivity and efficiency.
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice; apart from investing in good-quality ergonomic furniture.
You want your office to feel inviting; so it should be free of clutter and well-organised.
Personalise your office with photos if you have space. If you don’t have room for photo frames, make your desktop background a picture of your loved ones. Use accents of colour in your space that inspire you. Put postcards, paintings or greenery in your office to spice up your space.
Also, drink from a special or decorative mug or cup; it’s an easy and inexpensive way to enhance your office décor.
Hide things as much as possible, particularly in smaller spaces. The key is to limit the number of things out in the open. Use bookshelves, filing cabinets or cube storage to stay organised.
Avoid piles on your desk by buying a decorative tray system to hold all your papers, folders, notes, mail and books.
Additionally, make sure your electronics are close to power outlets and use ties and clips or cable baskets to organise any messy wires.
And finally, make sure you tidy up your desk and re-organise any paperwork when you finish working at the end of every day. Keeping your office clean and distraction-free means when you sit down the next morning, you’ll be motivated to start working straight away.
Planning your day and the week ahead will motivate you to complete tasks and will increase productivity and efficiency. Having either an online or paper diary is essential for keeping you on track.
For example, uptothesky is a great free online diary and journal which can be used for both personal and business use. Features include a traditional-looking diary, notes, to-do-list, address book and expense manager.
Although you can upgrade to a paid Pro version, there are plenty of themes to choose from in the free version, and you can add photos and videos to your entries to really personalise your diary or journal.
Currently, I use a kikki k large planner just because I love paper planners and diaries. But I have now also started using uptothesky.
And remember to have regular breaks during the day. If you can, it’s great for your health and sanity, to leave the house at least once during the day. For instance, when you have a break for lunch, go for a walk or arrange to meet a friend.
So, to sum up, by making your home office space a place that is comfortable and inspiring, it’ll be a place where you want to be; increasing your motivation and therefore your productivity and efficiency.
I’d love to hear what you’ve done to increase your home office productivity and efficiency. Let me know in the comments below what tips and tricks you have that I haven’t included?