Do you work from home? Yep.
Are you a freelancer? Yep.
Cool! Us, too.
One of the things we’ve learned as freelancers is that working from home can take some getting used to! Productivity can sometimes be a struggle but one thing that really helps is having a great home office space so your brain knows where it’s supposed to get work done.
No matter where you live, you can create a productive home office space. Designing a home office takes deliberate thought and careful planning, but the investment on the front end pays for itself over and over in increased productivity, physical comfort, and feng shui.
How to design a home office
1. Location Matters The Most When Designing a Home Office
First things first. Find the place in your home most conducive to when and how you work. For some, this is easy and obvious. You already have a room dedicated to a home office, or perhaps you have a guest bedroom that can easily accommodate a desk and computer. If this is the case, you may only need to make a few design tweaks to make your home office suitable and enjoyable for full-time work.
Others will need to be a bit more creative. You can make anything work, including a small bedside table with a comfortable chair and a neatly organized cabinet. Or a basement corner with a simple desk that looks out to a gorgeous array of trees. When deciding upon the location in your home, think about where you are least prone to distraction.
If you live with other people, consider the typical flow of traffic and norms of the common living spaces. If you have a smaller apartment unit and fewer choices, find the specific area of the room that makes the most sense – proximity to outlets, space for a filing cabinet or printer, position relative to morning sun light, etc.
2. Prioritize Ergonomics When Planning Your Work From Home Space
Once you’ve established your location, it’s time to begin the design of the furniture. Your first goal should be to prioritize ergonomics. When something is described as “ergonomic,” it simply means it was designed for efficiency and comfort. So, in your home office, prioritize the efficiency and comfort of your chair and laptop/computer setup. This is important! If you plan to spend any money when designing your home office, start with an investment in a great, ergonomic chair and laptop positioner. Here’s why:
You will sit for hours at a time in your home office space. Ergonomic chairs improve back and neck pain and decrease hip pressure by promoting a sitting posture that encourages proper alignment of the shoulders, hips, and spine. Proper posture reduces strain on the body and prevents harmful positions, like slouching and forward head. Forward head happens when you lean forward towards your laptop or computer because the chair you are sitting in does not have the correct back height.
When you’re not distracted by physical ailments like back pain, you can actually focus on work!
3. Adhere to an Organizational System to Keep Your Home Office Tidy
Even if organization isn’t really your thing, it needs to be a thing in order for your home office design to work in the long run. Some people love their color-coded virtual sticky notes and plan their family’s schedules through synced and shared calendars. If you used to get butterflies thinking about new school supplies every year before school started, this might be you.
Everyone is different, though, and what works for one freelancer won’t work for another. So, when you think about keeping an organized home office, your guiding principle should be to create sustainable systems that make your work life manageable and easier. Bonus if these systems allow and encourage task automation because who doesn’t love having machines do the work for you!?
An organized home office space should be:
- Tidy – Be relentless about eliminating clutter. File the papers, recycle what you can, and keep your electronic files properly titled in easy-to-find folders.
- Stocked – you should never have to spend time looking for a pen or paper clip. PS: order your printer cartridge replacements before you run out
- Functional – Do you drink a pot of coffee per day? If so, consider moving the coffee maker to the home office space. Do you walk back and forth from the desk in your bedroom to the printer and fax that’s hooked up in the basement? If so, move the desk!
- Clean – Lemon Pledge goes a long way, y’all.
4: Add Greenery to Your Home Office Space
Bringing nature into your home office in the form of indoor plants can have tremendous benefits to your mental and physical health. Have you ever felt the inner peace of a beautiful hike in the woods? Marveled at the beauty of a budding magnolia? Nature is magnificent, and its glories are not meant to be reserved for weekend outings only. Several scientific studies demonstrate the power of greenery in cultivating a healthy and productive workplace. Plants have been shown to:
- Reduce stress
- Alleviate anxiety and depression
- Reduce fatigue
- Increase productivity
- Reduce sickness
- Clean the air
- Reduce extraneous noise levels
- Boost creativity
If you don’t already have a few indoor plants, take some time this week to meander through your local nursery. As a freelancer, you need both your productivity and creative juices flowing and greenery will help!
Want to explore more ways to be a productive freelancer at home? Check us out – Indy is all about the life of the freelancer. We’d love to hear from you.