Design a Home Office That Inspires Productivity. See How!

Design a Home Office That Inspires Productivity.

What makes a home office great for coding?

If you work from home regularly, or even just occasionally, you know how important it is to design a home office that actually encourages you to get things done. The perfect home office is one that is comfortable, but not too comfortable (you’re likely not going to get as much done from a couch as you would from a desk), and that encourages efficiency and productivity. And what better time to really get to work setting up that ideal space than right after you finish moving into a new home?

Whether you’re starting with a blank slate or trying to make some improvements to your current home office space, read on for tips on how to design a home office that provides all the benefits of a productive workspace without any of the commuting. (Though it will still be on you to make sure you change out of your pajamas every day.)

Separate the space

First and foremost, you want to make sure that your home office space is distinctly separate from the space where you do your day-to-day living. This is important for two reasons. One, it encourages your brain to transfer from “home” mode to “work” mode when it’s time to get started, and equally important, to transfer back again at the end of the workday. And two, the literal physical separation will help you stay more organized and also means that you won’t have to completely clean up and put everything away every single day.

Keep in mind that having a separate office space doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be in its own, designated room. Many people don’t have an entire room to dedicate to being a home office, and that is perfectly fine—even just a designated seat at your dining room table will do, though you will have to tidy things up if you plan to use it later in the day. Once you’ve declared an area of your home to be your office, stick with it. The longer you use the same space for work, the more you’ll be able to easily slip into productivity mode when you have to.

Get rid of distractions

You know yourself better than anyone, so think about what sorts of things distract you from your work and then keep them out of your immediate workspace. Perhaps it’s the TV or your favorite video game system, or maybe it’s having the fridge in your line of sight. Some people may even find that having their work table face a window is a big distraction since they’re prone to staring outside instead of at the task at hand.

Again, the specific space you design a home office in matters less than the conscious choices you make for it. Even if the best place for you to work is in the kitchen or living room, where distractions tend to abound, position your workspace in such a way that you’re not constantly having to redirect your attention back to your task. And if you do have the luxury of an entire room dedicated to work, make sure to leave it free of anything that might cause you to have difficulty concentrating.

Invest in the things that matter

Increasing productivity in your home office starts with making sure you have the right tools. This means everything from a chair you can get comfortable into a desk you can spread out at and the technology that will help you do the best job possible. When budgeting for your home office, focus your resources on the things that you truly need for productivity, knowing that you can add in other things later as you need to. You’re going to spending a lot of time in this space, so it’s important that it is as functional as possible.

Don’t forget about storage

Storage is one of the most important parts of a well-designed home office. Even if your work is mostly computer-based, you’re still going to be amassing things like tax forms and office supplies, and you’ll want to have a clear space for them. A messy home office can backfire on you and make it difficult to concentrate, so be sure to include some sort of storage—be it a file cabinet, chest of drawers, or other solution—that gives you a place to keep the stuff that doesn’t always need to be out on your desk. Messes are notorious for stressing out the mind and interfering with productivity, so deal with the clutter and don’t let it take over your space.

Pay attention to lighting

Lighting is important in a home office for both ambiance and ensuring you can see what you’re working on without needing to strain your eyes, so don’t skimp when it comes to providing enough light. Make lighting a priority, with special focus paid to those areas where you really need to see what’s going on. And don’t worry about having too much light—it’s always better than not having enough. If you don’t have overhead lighting, enhance the area with floor lamps. And add a table lamp to your desk to really illuminate your main space. Science says that “cool” light (white bulbs) are better than “warm” light (yellow bulbs) for clarity of mind and maintaining concentration, so even if you usually prefer warmer lighting, stick with cool lights for your office.

Keep your to-do list front and center

Staying on track when you work from home requires smart organization of your day. Visual cues of what needs to get done are immensely helpful, and for many, a key part of tracking progress and making sure that everything gets done. Even if you use an app for your to-do list, having your tasks in your line of vision can only help you out. Keep a day planner open on your desk with each day’s to-dos written out, or use a hanging wall planner to write out assignments and appointments. Not only will you be less likely to miss anything, you’ll also have a clear visual of how your day is progressing, which is a big benefit when there is no clearly defined start and end to your workday.

Control the temperature

Being too hot or too cold is a recipe for distraction, so it’s important that you take steps to stay as comfortable temperature-wise as you can when you’re in your office. Though you might not have complete control over the exact temp in the room, there are other steps you can take. If it’s a cold room, use a space heater and always have a warm sweater or blanket hanging on your chair. If it’s a hot room, keep a fan on your desk and drink plenty of cool water. Stabilizing your body temperature will help you remain relaxed and focused.

Your home office should be a space that you look forward to working in every day. You have more control over your own space than you would in an office building, so put effort into creating a home office that meets your needs and encourages you to get things done. It will make it just that much easier to turn work mode on and off as you need to.

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