Not all home offices are created equal. Many of us toil away in glorified storage areas, constantly digging out our computers from a sea of off-season holiday decorations, children’s toys, and unfiled paperwork. If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to make your home office worthy of the masterpieces you create in it, we have a few suggestions that will help you achieve your goal.
1. Carve Out a Space of Your Own
It isn’t always possible to allocate an entire room just to your home office, but try to keep your work space clear of things that aren’t related to your work. This might mean telling people to find another spot for their skis and childhood mementoes, or it might mean finding another place to file your non-business correspondence. However you go about it, the most important thing is to have a little corner that’s all your own.
2. Pick the Right Office Furniture
We’ve seen home offices constructed out of little more than an old packing box as a desk and an exercise ball as a chair, but unless your workspace doubles as a performance art piece, we recommend stocking it with office furniture that fits your personality and needs. You don’t need to spend a zillion dollars to make it happen, either: used furniture stores (cough, Arnolds Office Furniture, cough) are a great resource for unique, stylish, affordable office furniture.
3. Avoid Repetitive Stress Injuries
Don’t forget to take ergonomics into account. Many of those vintage desks designers love to feature in magazine spreads are poorly designed in terms of protecting your wrists and back. You can still have the mid-century modern desk of your dreams — you just might need to retrofit it with a keyboard tray.
4. Make Sure You Have Enough Bandwidth
The internet is bursting with articles on determining how much internet speed you need. (The irony, of course, is that if you don’t have enough speed, you might have trouble reading their advice.) We like this piece from Apartment Therapy. It’s a good summary of which applications use the most speed, how to determine your actual bandwidth, and how to speed up your current connection without shelling out for an upgrade. Also, call us crazy, but we’re more inclined to believe an assessment by our favorite decorating blog than by the cable company. We know, we’re cynical.
5. Make It Comfy
Have you ever had to make a deadline while working in a room without air conditioning in August? Or a barely-heated room in January? Then you know how important climate control can be to your productivity. If heating and cooling are problematic in the rest of your house, consider investing in space heaters or window AC units for your office. You’re not being a wuss: researchers at Cornell University recently discovered that workers commit 44 percent more errors when they’re working in a poorly-heated office. So make your home office comfortable — for the sake of your work.