As a blogger, designer and photographer, my office has always been wherever I happen to be in the world. Although I’m often working on the road, I always look forward to returning to my permanent home office.
Designing this home office space has been essential as it creates an environment for getting things done.
Having a beautiful and functional office also makes me look forward to going to work!
One of the greatest challenges of working remotely, whether at home or in a hotel, is establishing boundaries between work and life. For me, defining a work space and setting work hours is crucial for maintaining work-life balance.
It can be so tempting to work on my laptop from the couch or write emails from bed, and while I sometimes do this when I’m having an off day, most of the time I work from my home office.
Over the years I have honed in on an ideal setup for comfort, inspiration and productivity in my home office.
Here are my working from home office essentials!
What Will You Be Doing in the Space?
Before you start buying desks and succulents, think about all the things you need your office to do for you. For example, if you have a lot of conference calls, you’ll benefit from having a quiet space, preferably with a door so you can shut out extra noise.
If you’re having in-person meetings, you may need a private office that isn’t used for anything else. This helps keep out the clutter and sets a professional tone for your guest’s experience.
Also consider the time of day when you’ll be working. If you’re keeping typical business hours, it’s a good idea to choose a room with lots of natural light. It’s energizing and can help you maintain focus. If you’re shifting to evening work, choose a room with good lighting to help you stay awake and avoid straining your eyes.
The type of work you’re doing will also influence your space. Sitting at a computer for hours requires a comfortable chair and a work surface at the right height.
How to Choose a Location
One of the easiest mistakes to make when choosing the best home office setup is opting for your couch or kitchen table. Anyone who’s been working from home for more than a few months will tell you these are the worst places to work! For starters, they’re both terrible for your posture. But they’re also multifunctional spaces and can’t be designated solely for productive work.
If you’re hoping to leverage tax benefits of having a home office, you need a space in your home that’s only used for work. You can write off home office expenses based on the square footage of your workspace, provided that the space is only for work purposes.
It’s also beneficial for your mind and body (and ultimately, your productivity) to keep your work and home lives separate. This takes some getting used to, given that you live and work under the same roof. Separating your physical space is a helpful first step that makes it easier to maintain this balance.
Your first go-to should be a room that isn’t used often that has a door, such as a guest bedroom. If that’s not an option, carve out a corner in another room that’s away from foot traffic. Choose a spot that has a nice view and plenty of natural light.
Apply Principles of Feng Shui
Feng Shui is the ancient art of arranging a room to maximize energy flow. Home offices thrive on feng shui to help you maintain productivity and creativity. The right layout and color scheme can also help to reduce distractions and create a calming space you enjoy being in.
Try incorporating pops of green into your space. It’s one of the most calming colors and reflects the balance and essence of nature.
The book below can help you create a home office setup that aligns with feng shui principles, even if you’re not an expert.
Clear the Clutter
It’s no secret: clutter creates chaos, both in your mind and in the space around you. That’s no way to work, so getting rid of anything that doesn’t belong can improve your focus and maintain your sense of purpose.
You don’t need Marie Kondo on DM to clear the clutter in your space. Instead, you can grab her book, Joy at Work, to maintain a clutter-free workspace.
And if you have time to tackle the rest of your home, Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can revolutionize your home.
Prioritize Your Posture: The Ergonomic Desk Set Up
Let’s talk ergonomics for a moment. Being comfortable while you work impacts your mental and physical well-being. When you practice good ergonomics, you’re more productive because your mind isn’t wandering due to pain or discomfort. Plus, your body needs good posture to remain healthy and full-functioning. Slumping over a keyboard for hours or slouching in your chair can damage your spine, which can actually impact other areas of your health.
An ergonomic workstation isn’t a luxury, but should be treated as a basic work-from-home necessity. Let’s look at some basic products that can help you create an ergonomic workstation.
A wireless ergonomic mouse maintains proper wrist form in a “handshake” position.
Split keyboards keep your wrists at a comfortable angle. This ergonomic keyboard comes with a built-in wrist rest for added comfort
Sitting while working isn’t terrible, but it can leave your body feeling stressed and strained if you do it for hours. A standing desk can help you avoid slouching and even build leg and back strength. Choose one with an adjustable height so you can sit or stand as you please. I chose this particular desk because it’s nice and wide and it moves up and down with a hand crank rather than electronically or using a lever. The electronic ones tend to break, and I’ve been very happy with this system.
If you’re standing while working, an anti-fatigue foot mat provides cushion for your feet and can take pressure off your back. You’ll be able to stand for longer periods of time and burn more calories while you work. This foot mat comes with a roller massage ball that lets you soothe tired feet while working!
Ergonomic Desk Chair
Standing all day might not be your thing, and an ergonomic desk chair can help you protect your health while sitting. These chairs come in many styles, but I prefer the exercise ball that’s designed to help you improve your posture. Plus, they double as an exercise tool for mid-day stretches and short workouts at your desk.
Adding an adjustable wall-mounted monitor can do wonders for your neck and back. You can position it perfectly to avoid craning your neck.This ergonomic monitor even flips vertically to offer different views.
Other Home Office Equipment
Outside of ergonomic items, you’ll need a few other things to make your home office functional. Here are some of the most common items to invest in:
To keep your workspace free of clutter, you’ll want to start with a few organizational tools to control your papers, office supplies, and other important items. Stock up on the following:
- Eco-friendly bamboo bins and shelves
- Power strips
- Recyclable extension cords
- USB docking station
- Eco-friendly bamboo cord management system and cable organizer
- Dry erase board
- Bulletin board
- Lockable file cabinet or fire-safe box
Green Tip: You can add your digital files to Dropbox and avoid unnecessary printing.
It helps you avoid copious amounts of sticky notes and keeps you on task! I write everything down in my Passion Planner, I’ve been using one for five years and it has seriously changed my life. The beautifully designed planners are made using faux vegan leather and sustainably sourced paper.
Webcams are a must for video conference calls. This webcam fits easily on any computer or laptop.
A portable bluetooth speaker can connect to any computer or mobile device for superior sound quality. This eco-friendly design is made using bamboo, cotton, hemp, and recycled plastic bottles.
A set of Bluetooth headphones with a built in mic are ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to be chained to their desk and computer. You can take care of business on the phone or a video conference while keeping your hands free. You can also jam out to your favorite tunes without bothering anyone else who might be at home. These eco-friendly headphones are made with wood and recycled aluminum.
Even if you don’t print often, a wireless printer can be a good tool to have. You can use it for work, print your kid’s school papers, or make hard copies of your favorite Pinterest recipes. Only printing when you really need to can keep your costs low and protect the environment.
Good Office Lighting
If your office space doesn’t have much natural light, you’ll want to add a lamp or other lighting to brighten it. Use mood enhancing lighting to feel energized and positive.
All the Little Extras
Little extras like potted plants and wall art can go a long way in making your office inspiring and enjoyable. If you truly want the best home office setup, consider adding some of the following things to spruce up your space.
Air plants are excellent for cleansing your workspace. Peace lillies, spider plants, and gerbera daisies can add pops of natural greenery and color without going to too much trouble.
A few soothing candles can completely change the mood of your office. Light a few eco-friendly soy based candles when you’re feeling frantic and want to relax.
Essential Oil Humidifier
Aromatherapy can do wonders for your mind and body. For times when you need to focus, add a few drops of peppermint oil to your humidifier. Or if you’re feeling stressed, lavender or eucalyptus oils can help you unwind.
Rugs add dimension and texture to your office space, plus they feel super cozy beneath your feet. They’re an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate mood-boosting colors into the room.
If books inspire you, find a few of your favorites and keep them on your desk. When you need a mental break, grab one and read a chapter or two to recharge your imagination. The Art of Looking Sideways is one of my favorite coffee table books to flip through for inspiration.
There’s artwork for every style and taste. Artwork can bring in new colors and give you something inspiring to look at while you work. It can also transform the entire mood of your space and make it more inviting and entertaining. I currently have this scratch off gold world map above my desk, I love scratching off each new place that I travel to!
Keeping dust and allergens at bay is easier with a desktop air filter. Clean air can stimulate yoursenses and boostyour brainpower. Plus, some people enjoy working with the low hum of a fan in the background.
Keeping a filtered water pitcher within arm’s reach is just as good as any office water cooler.Keep a few cups from your kitchen nearby and make it a point to drink several cups of water each day to avoid dehydration. I love this water filter because it removes more contaminants than any other pitcher filter I’ve seen on the market, including fluoride.
Work is much more fun when you have a soft, warm blanket at arm’s reach (or a cat, if you’re so lucky!) This weighted blanket is made from super soft and 100% biodegradable tencel.
Invest in Good Security
If you’re working from a home you share with others, you should take care to protect your workstation from potential spills or misplaced items. At the very least, you’ll want to back up your files and store your data in an external hard drive.
You may also want to invest in a password keeper and keep it under lock and key. A password file on your computer is a security risk, as hackers may be able to steal your information
Keep the Planet in Mind
The massive reduction in morning and afternoon commutes is doing wonders for our planet. Many cities have reported reduced levels in air pollution, while before and after photos are showing major changes in air quality.
You can continue contributing to a greener planet while working from home, too. Turn off your computer, printer, and other devices when you’re not using them. Turn on power-saving features to extend your battery life and reduce the frequency you need to charge.
You can also conserve energy at home by taking advantage of natural light and air flow. Work outside if possible to get some fresh air and sunshine while giving your home’s electricity a break. As an added bonus, it’s also a great way to keep your power bill in check (being home all day can rack up a higher bill!).
The sooner you can create the best home office setup, the longer you have to enjoy the mood-boosting, brain-powering benefits it offers.