10 ways to transform your home into a productive office
Using your home as an office used to be relevant mostly for digital nomads and freelancers - today, we could all use a little inspiration.
Divide your space ↔️
Drawing the line between personal and professional can be challenging, especially when space is limited (Amsterdam apartments, anyone?). Although it may take some imagination and maybe even moving things around, try to define your work space.
Setting up a new home office on the couch or next to the TV can be problematic for reasons we don’t even have to mention - we all fell for silly distractions before. The more separation you can create, the easier it is to build a psychological distinction between work time and play time. Moreover, separating spaces gives you a sense of “going home” at the end of the day, even if that’s 5 metres away - otherwise, you risk forgetting to switch off.
Signal go time / chill time 🏃 🧘
Speaking of boundaries...set a start / end time for yourself. This will help you structure your day and get into a healthy habit.
What works really well is having a physical ritual that signals these times. For example, your day can start with opening the window, doing jumping jacks for 1 minute and making a delicious cup of coffee. Similarly, you can end your day with 10 minutes of meditation and reading a couple of pages from your favorite book.
Mind the light 🌞
An aspect that is easily ignored when setting up a home office is the light. Make sure your space is well lit, especially if you tend to work after the sunset.
Working on a laptop or computer all day can be painful for your eyes or even cause headaches. A helpful thing to do is set your laptop’s display to adapt to the light around you. If this isn’t an option for your device, there are plenty of apps that can do that for you, like f.lux. Keep in mind that during the months that give less natural sunshine, it’s important to...well, create our own sunshine! Sun lamps can be really helpful.
Time to accessorize 🖥️
If you’re used to working with an extra monitor, a mouse or other accessories, you’re probably going to miss these in your home office. Your company may let you take these from the physical office, so it’s worth checking that possibility. If you’re a freelancer and always work from home, it’s good to have accessories that fit your needs as part of your home office at all times. Check with your tax authorities if you can get the costs reimbursed!
These can increase productivity and decrease frustration (imagine having to do design work or checking a thousand lines of code on a tiny laptop screen). You have many options nowadays when tech shopping, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, keep an eye on the warranty you get with your purchase and aim for the longest. Second, it would be great if you can find a company that provides good support in your preferred language, in case you need any.
Get a magic chair 💺
In theory, you’d have a spectacular home office, filled with the latest gadgets and comfortable furniture. We know that’s not always possible, and money could be a challenge too, but if you’re about to invest in one thing: let it be your chair.
Spending a couple of hours on an uncomfortable chair that makes your back bend in lookalike yoga poses won’t do much damage, but a couple of months could be trouble. Good ergonomic chairs aren’t the cheapest, but...neither is fixing your back. Do your research and choose one that fits your needs. Your body will thank you!
Speed it up 🚀
Digital nomads, freelancers, entrepreneurs...you probably already have great internet speed, since you’re used to running your business mostly from the home office.
For those of you who are temporarily at home, you may have to invest in a better plan. Good internet can speed up meetings and overall work time - if you need to only spend a couple of seconds vs minutes every day waiting for files to load, it’s a win!
Get creative ✨
A white, empty desk probably doesn’t scream “Let’s get this done today!”, does it? While you don’t want any clutter, try to pick a few of your favorite things. These can boost your mood and remind you of your goals.
The possibilities are endless: from pictures of your family, to motivational quotes or a trophy you got last year for bringing in the most sales, do whatever inspires you to be at your best today. Decorating your work space with things that remind you of career goals can also help separating work time from play time.
Bring color to your surroundings 🌈
What you see can influence the way you think, feel and eventually what you produce. That’s why (modern) offices are full of colors, good design and plants - to inspire and make you feel good. Your home office should be no different!
Take a moment to think about the elements you want around and how you could best arrange them. Surround yourself with a couple of green plants that help with the oxygen levels and make you feel calm (green does that - and so does blue). Try to avoid a lot of red around your space, as it can make you feel agitated or angry.
Besides, see if there are certain shapes that you respond to in a positive way. For example, squares and rectangles are often associated with discipline, security and reliability.
Let the music play 🎸
Playing your favorite music is most probably going to make you more productive than enjoying the silence. Science backs this up! Create a couple of playlists that fit different situations: focus time, go time, reading-1000-emails-time or whatever else makes sense for your job.
Press play and enjoy the magic of music and its effects on your productivity. Oh, extra points: this also helps with the feeling of loneliness that some may encounter during these times.
Take time off and truly enjoy it 💆
Work hard, play hard is so popular for a reason - because it works! You time is really important and helps you be even more productive during work hours. Take it, enjoy it, spend it on things you love. We’re guessing that dealing with your finances isn’t high on the list of your favorite activities, so if you’d like an app that takes care of it while you unwind, try bunq for free.