A space means different things to each of us, and we tend to occupy space differently from one another; for example, the kitchen table is for eating dinner, but a mom might use that surface to make plans or work on bills. Successfully setting up your own home office space is critical for those who have the opportunity to work from home—including participants of UWA Online Continuing Education e-Learning courses. Having a clean, effective space to work can give you productivity you may lack in other areas—yet it’s good to remember space affects people differently, so what may seem like a great place to work for you may be different from your friend. When it comes to setting up your home office, knowing the ways to do so successfully is important.
- Position your desk near a window. According to a study by the Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois, natural lighting improves not just productivity in the office, but also outside the office—such as sleep and physical activity. In short, natural lighting benefits your mental health. When setting up your home office, position your primary work space near a window with plenty of natural lighting—if you can—and absorb that sweet, vitamin D-producing sunlight!
- Use a comfortable chair. Discomfort can prevent you from working at full capacity and make the job miserable. Avoid this misfortune by using an ergonomic chair that supports your back, reduces neck problems, and accommodates your work, and you will go far in setting up your home office.
- Make and enforce hours in the office. Whether you need to work or just get some studying in, confining your work activities to dedicated office hours will help keep you on task and minimize long periods of distractions and breaks.
- Set up work breaks! Whether it’s leaving the office for your own built-in lunch hour or a 15-minute stretch break, allowing yourself to push away from your work for a breather can greatly benefit your mood and productivity. When creating and enforcing your work hours, keep this tip in mind!
- Be organized by keeping around only products you need. Having mostly necessities within reach will keep you stay on task by helping you quickly find things you need. Some people live in clutter and work better in it, but minimizing mess can aid in a stress free, efficient home office.
- Reduce distractions. This tip is similar to tip #5 in that by keeping around only products you need, the fewer distractions will exist to prevent you from working or studying. If possible, have a dedicated work computer and load it only with programs you need for work, or use a dedicated work browser without your usual entertainment and social media websites. Refrain from having a TV in your office unless you’re the kind of person to work better with some kind of background noise.
- Surround your office with positivity and personality! Give your office a personal touch that says, “You!” Decorate it with pictures of family and friends, or hang up posters from your favorite movie or band. Get some plants and place them around the office for some added green! (Even if the plants are fake because you don’t have a green thumb…) Hang a motivational picture above your desk to read when you’re feeling down! You should be able to like sitting for hours in your home office or study.
- Separate your home office and your living spaces. This idea is simple: if you design your office to be separate from your living spaces, then you will do work in your office and live in your living space. Sometimes, that concept isn’t completely possible, because you don’t have a spare room to dedicate to your office, or you have no choice but to pick out a corner of your living room or bedroom to be your new office space. However, if you can find some way to make it feel separate from you’re the rest of the living space that your office shares, then you can still afford to make your office feel like an office and not just an extension of your living room!
And last but not least, once you’re successfully setting up your home office or study, take advantage of the comfort and productivity and stick to it!
Continue following the UWA Continuing Education blog for more tips on how to be successful as an e-learner! To learn more about our course offerings or to register for courses, visit www.uwa.edu/ce!