Working from home comes with a lot of upsides, aside from avoiding the daily commute and having a better work-life balance, you get a chance to design the kind of workspace you want. However, when the space is limited, creating a functional home office requires a focus on efficiency, while making the best use of the available room.
Below are 8 easy tips for creating a functional home office in a small space.
1. It’s all About the Location
Since you’re likely to spend much of your time in the home office, you don’t have to stiff yourself on an uncomfortable location, such as squishing yourself in a windowless closet, just to preserve the guest room you rarely use. Take into account the flow of traffic in the location you choose and your capacity to withstand distractions.
Are you able to work best in the thick of constant activity, or does your office need to be tucked away from all kinds of distractions? Also consider if you’ll have some of your clients stopping by, and if it’s the case, find a private space that can accommodate ample seating arrangement.
2. Ergonomics, ergonomics, ergonomics
Ensure that the top of your computer screen is at your eye level, or just a little bit below. When scanning down the screen, your eyelids will naturally moisten and close a bit, which is great for reducing eye fatigue.
Your keyboard should be positioned in a way that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Adjust the chair to ensure that your feet can firmly rest on the floor, or a footrest. Don’t shy from splurging on a comfortable chair that makes you want to put in the hours. Otherwise, you may find yourself never sitting at your desk. Click here to find the best options for desks for small spaces.
3. Use Magazines and Pinterest Responsibly
Although it’s important to browse for inspiration, keep in mind that the offices on Pinterest and design magazines might not be set up to accommodate a 50-hour workweek. For example, upholstered dining room chairs might look amazing, but the chairs are terrible at supporting your back. Although some people like bright colors, others will get annoyed looking at a wall of bright red paint right above the computer, even if it makes the office space look awesome in pictures.
Too much environmental stimulation can actually be a distraction. So, let your office be functional first and beautiful second, not the other way around. If you want to spice up the space, try adding interesting color combinations in accessories such as framed art, the rug, or pillows.
4. Get Creative about Your Storage Requirements
A small home office can feel cramped, even with only a desk and a chair in the room. Nonetheless, good organization is critical to maintaining a functional office. This means ensuring that your space has enough room for both the storage of your office supplies, files, etc. and an ample area for work.
With limited space, you need to get a bit creative. For instance, you can build your won desk that has file cabinets as the base, with a laminate or wood countertop for the top. The general rule of thumb here is that everything you use frequently need to be easily accessible.
5. Don’t forget the Lighting
If possible, choose a location that provides plenty of natural light to your space. This will offer you a working space that you can enhance with direct lighting options. In case the office has little or no natural lighting, lamps become even more important.
Plus, even with ample natural light, you’ll need extra lighting for the night hours. However, most overhead lighting is inadequate for workspaces. Consider adding desk lamps, task lighting, or floor lamps to provide concentrated lighting for your work area. Furthermore, ensure that your computer screen is positioned in a way that it prevents glare. The goal here is to create a balanced lighting that prevents eyestrain.
6. Add Some Personality
Your home office also needs to have a healthy dose of personality. Make the space feel like your own by adding some personal touches, since this can make the time you spend in your home office a bit more enjoyable.
Color palette is one of the most powerful tools here. Choose a color your love, even if it’s a bit unconventional, and choose coordinating, bold accent colors. Take care not to choose a color that’s too distracting; you should ideally get a color that gets your work motor humming.
Choose extras that complement the comfort of your home office, unless you want to go for a contemporary décor. Things like a pretty mug as a pencil holder, a decorative wastebasket, and trendy sticky notes and notepads enhance the comfy feeling of your home office. Use gorgeous fabric to wrap your bulletin board, and hang inspirational prints or quotes on the wall, whether it’s a framed artwork of your kids or a classic painting.
7. Cable Management
While there isn’t much you can do to make the printer, computer, and other electronics look more appealing, you can hide their unsightly cords. Make sure that each electronic is close to the power outlets, and easy to access in case you need to unplug it.
Encase all the cords on the desk from www.deskview.com using a pretty cord cover, and then feed them into the desk’s grommet. A metal or plastic cap will help to guide the cords through the hole in your desk and to hide them underneath. Use cord tubing, winders, or wire organizer attached to the desk to tame the cord jungle and lift them off the floor.
8. Separate the Professional Stuff from the Personal
When setting up your home office space in a small room, it’s important to have a clear distinction between your personal life and your professional life. One of the first steps is creating a business bank account to help you avoid mixing up your business expenses with your personal expenses. Try to keep any personal records, checks, and even mail in a separate room from your office.