Setting up a Home Office for Remote Work: The Essentials Explained

Have you started a job as a remote worker? Has your workplace gone remote due to the pandemic, or because of advanced technology? It’s time to start setting up your home office for the best possible productivity levels.

Setting up a home office for remote work is different than setting it up for leisure or occasional post-work paperwork and studying. You’ll find that your needs shift when you’re sitting in one place all day. Working from home isn’t everything that it’s cracked up to be.

We want to help ease the transition. We have a few tips for home office decor and a handful of home office essentials so you can have the best office possible.

Keep reading to learn all about what to put in a home office and how to set it up for the best working experience.

Stay Near Natural Light

If possible, it’s best to put your working space near natural light (especially during the darker winter months where your only daylight hours are working hours).

A large window is ideal, but a skylight that shines near your desk is also a solid option.

This is one of the benefits of working from home. In an office, it’s possible that you never see natural light. Many offices are either windowless or have very few windows, and if you work in a cubicle your access to light is limited except on breaks.

Research has shown that sunlight may help improve your productivity. A lack of sunlight can leave you feeling gloomy and tired. When you combine this with the lack of social interaction from working at home, it makes for an unproductive day.

If nothing else, keep some kind of “happy light” nearby for a few minutes per day to simulate sunlight.

Keep Important Things Within Your Reach

When you have to get up to go get your important paperwork or office supplies it’s easy to get distracted. While you’re up, why not make a snack? Why not take a trip to the living room?

Keeping everything that you need within your reach gets rid of this problem. You’ll also waste less time looking around for things that you may have misplaced. If you have drawers, shelves, or a nearby filing cabinet, keep everything that you need there.

Other items can be spread throughout the room where you have space.

Don’t Neglect Storage

Speaking of keeping things nearby, make sure that you have enough storage when you’re setting up your office.

We’re spoiled by offices that have everything set up for us. We may not realize how much space we actually need to put all of the paperwork, supplies, machines, and odds and ends that go into a workday.

Bookcases, drawers, and wall shelves are all simple and effective storage solutions for an efficient office.

Consider a Second Screen

This depends on your work, but having a second monitor for your work is a great idea. If possible, ask your workplace to supply this for you. If not, a cheap monitor is good enough for this.

This allows you to have files open on one monitor while you keep any writing tabs or work processes open on the other. You don’t have to tab in and out.

This is also good if you have to make video calls, keep a calendar open, or if you need to keep track of non-work-related things throughout the day.

Design for a Good Workflow

You have the opportunity to design your space for your specific work style; take advantage of it!

If you know that you need a lot of space between your desk and everything else to keep yourself on track, adjust your office to suit that need. If you work best with your printer and fax machine nearby, keep them on or under your desk, or on a nearby table.

If you have a rolling chair, make it so your office is “rollable”. Design for your needs when you’re not restrained to the office design that your employer chose for you.

Remove All Distractions

This is one of the hardest parts of working from home. It’s so much easier to get distracted when you’re in your own space and you know that you could be completing other tasks around the house or doing activities that you enjoy.

You need to get rid of the distractions in your office and remove yourself from the distractions of the home as best as possible.

As we mentioned before, keeping all necessities at arm’s reach is one of the best ways to do this. It’s also a good idea to keep your phone in a drawer or on silent and install some kind of software that hides social media for the duration of your workday.

Remove any games that may have been in your office and try to make it a quiet space. Tell children that this is your workspace and keep pets out if they’re distracting to you.

Essential Home Office Items 

There are a few things that every home office can benefit from. You may have some already while others are likely going to need upgrades. Some things may be supplied by your employer.

Here are a few of our favorite items to keep in your home office.

A Comfy Chair

You’re no longer confined to the uncomfy and generic chairs from your work office. You can have the office chair of your dreams.

Picking something comfortable (but not so comfortable that you get too relaxed) will help you stay on task. Pick something that’s supportive for your back so you maintain good posture (which may also help with productivity), and feel free to add any extras that help you avoid pain.

A good chair will help you avoid pain in the future.

A Good Computer

Is your computer good enough for a full workday?

Having a computer designated for work use is a great idea. It’s also good to have a portable option in case you decide to take work to the occasional coworking space or coffee shop. Try these out for your mobile work.

If you already have a casual computer or a gaming PC, make sure that it’s good enough for what you need to do for your job. Your storage is limited, so you may be better off buying a separate one if it’s possible.

Your employer may supply you with a good computer, in which case you can skip this one.

An Appropriate Desk

We all have different desk preferences and the ones in most workplace offices aren’t as efficient or comfortable as they should be.

If you’re someone who likes to have a lot of space to work, consider a desk that has a lifted area for your monitor and keyboard. This gives you a large flat space for any writing or reading that you need to get done without having to shift everything around.

Some people love having a standing desk, or a desk that can switch between standing and sitting options. Others want a desk with a lot of legroom to accommodate long legs or leave space for something like an under-desk cycle or an exercise ball.

Desk Shelving 

We mentioned having everything at arm’s reach. Keeping good shelving options on your desk is great for this. Some desks come with built-in shelving, but others require some DIY work.

Adding small shelves to your desk helps with organization and they’re great for loose papers and frequently-used office supplies. You can also set up your knick-knacks and photos on there for a nicer space.

Drawer Organizers

Speaking of organization, drawer organizers are a gamechanger. A cluttered drawer where things just get thrown in and tossed around is a recipe for lost items and frustration.

Drawer organizers make sure that everything has a place and that each space is easy to find.

Decor 

This is a less essential piece of your home office, but we think that it’s important. You deserve a space that keeps you cheerful and represents you.

Plants are a great addition to your home office. They keep you healthier, keep the air fresher, and help with your productivity levels. They’re also nice to look at.

Putting up art prints or motivational posters in front of your desk is another great way to add some flair to your home office.

Remember, this is still a part of your house. Make it personal!

Setting Up a Home Office for Remote Work Can be Fun

It might seem overwhelming, but setting up a home office for remote work lets you flex your creativity and design skills. You aren’t limited to the dreary office design that your employer chose for you; you can make your space your own!

Stay comfortable, cheerful, and efficient in your home office by following our tips.

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