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10 Tips for Creating a Home Office That Works for You By MSN.com

Expert Tips

More and more people are telecommuting, as the benefits of remote work are being seen by companies and employees alike. If your home is where your office is, you need to create an environment that will be productive, inspiring, and comfortable. The perfect home office marries together design ideas carried through rest of the home with those from the corporate workplace to create the ultimate work environment—a place you enjoy being and where you can get things done. Home office expert Lisa Kanarek shares advice on all aspects of working from home. Click through to read her top tips on designing the perfect home office space, one that not only meets your specific needs, but also inspires your work.

Block Out Distractions

Even if you already have a home office, consider whether there may be a better place for it. Two important questions to ask are: Will you actually work in this space? (Steer clear of bedrooms which our minds associate with rest.) And will there be few distractions? (Laundry hampers, kitchen sinks, and anything else that might compete for your attention should be out of sight.)

Choose Carefully

Choose a place for your home office that is comfortable year-round. A sunroom might be lovely in the spring and summer, but having to pack everything up and move inside when the seasons change will not be efficient. 

Even if you already have a home office, consider whether there may be a better place for it. Two important questions to ask are: Will you actually work in this space? (Steer clear of bedrooms which our minds associate with rest.) And will there be few distractions? (Laundry hampers, kitchen sinks, and anything else that might compete for your attention should be out of sight.)

Remember Working Necessities

Assess your electrical needs. Are there enough electrical outlets? Would a power strip be useful (this one from Amazon has 10 outlets and 4 USB charging ports!) Is it possible to run a phone line and internet connection into the room? Of course, if you rely on just your cell phone and already have wireless internet, no room is off limits!

Make Room for Essentials

Be sure you have room for everything that is essential to the work that you do. If your work area is small, take advantage of vertical space by installing shelves above your desk or putting tall bookcases adjacent. Opt for furniture that can serve double duty (e.g., an ottoman that opens for extra storage). An all-in-one machine—with printer, copier, scanner, fax—can also be a great space-saver.

Don’t Strain Your Eyes

One of the many benefits of working from home means not having to deal with harsh fluorescent office lighting. By no means is a window a must, but a nice view and some natural light can help you work better. For overcast days and work in the evening, a bright desk lamp is essential. The OttLite lamp is designed to reduce eyestrain, which is important to consider when you’re staring at a screen for most of the day. 

Consider the Color

Surround yourself with colors that inspire and motivate you. Pressed for ideas? Blue, a popular 2020 color of the year pick, is a bold shade while still remaining approachable and calming. Or, identify a favorite hue from a rug, throw pillow, or piece of art, match that shade to a paint color, and put it up on your walls. 

Clear the Clutter

Limit what you keep on your desk to the items you use most often. Decorative or sentimental objects are fine in a home office, but it’s usually best to place them on a shelf that’s out of the way.

Get Comfy

Never underestimate the importance of a good chair: Proper seating can mean the difference between productive work and an unproductive trip to your chiropractor! Ergonomic design doesn’t have to be expensive; shop around for a quality chair that suits your budget or purchase a seat cushion (like this one from Amazon) for extra padding. 

At-Home IT

Without IT services nearby, it’s important that you have the equipment you need at home and understand how to use it. Invest in an external hard drive (like this portable Toshiba one from Amazon) or some other effective means of backing up your data. You can always replace hardware, but not data.

All You

Make sure the home office space is your own. For instance, the computer used here should be for your personal use only. Set up parameters so other members of your household don’t come in and out throughout the day. While it is a convenience that you’re nearby should your kids or anyone else needs you, it’s important that they remember you’re on the clock.