It used to be that working from home is a luxury only a handful of people have. But recent events have transformed working culture, and working from home has become more common than ever. If you’re among the many who have decided or have to work from home, then you’re facing the challenge of creating a home office.
Those who worked from home in the past often got into their jobs knowing they would need to set up a home office. This allowed them to prepare. They had enough space that they could quickly transform into a workspace conducive to productivity. Unfortunately, the case isn’t the same for most people in the present. Most people didn’t envision working at home and were not prepared for it. If you have a small space, the problem seems more challenging.
How can you transform your small apartment or room into an adequate home office? There’s a lot of tricks you can employ.
Free up space
Whether you like to admit it or not, there’s a lot of stuff you’re keeping that you don’t really need. Imagine how much space you can free up if you get rid of all of them? You can probably fit a comfortable working space. Famous Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo recommends taking out all of your stuff, namely clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items. According to Kondo, you should go over each item, and if it “doesn’t spark joy,” you should get rid of it. Certainly, what sparks joy differs from person to person, but Kondo says you’ll get the hang of it in the process.
If there isn’t a lot to let go of and you’ve freed up barely any space, you can consider using storage services. They’ll pick up the items you want to be stored and keep them secured in their storage facility. When the time comes you want them back, they’ll deliver it right back to you. Of course, it’s not free, but if you’re desperate for space, it can be worth it.
Keep in mind that decluttering doesn’t mean you have to shift into minimalist living. You can follow Kondo’s advice or just go about it your own way.
Set up in unlikely spaces
There are likely to be several awkward spaces in your home that are not being used. If you have stairs, then you probably have a space below it that you can use. If it’s occupied by unnecessary stuff, declutter that space and take time to transform it into a workspace. You can install shelves and acquire a desk that will fit perfectly. Make a tour of your house, scrutinize every nook and cranny, and you might just find the perfect home office space behind a clutter of boxes.
Having your home office separated from the rest of your home is vital if you want to be productive. If your workspace is separated, you will be free from most distractions, hence boosting productivity. But if you live in a studio-type apartment, you don’t really have a separate room for a home office. Fortunately, you can use dividers. Using dividers produces the illusion that your home office is a separate space from your entire home. You can purchase the divider you want if it’s within budget, but you can also use the furniture you already have, such as bookshelves.
Occupy the vertical space
What many people living in small spaces forget is utilizing the height of their room. Your floor might be already crowded with furniture, but you can raise your bed and use the freed-up space below as your home office if you acquire a loft bed. Not only does this help you maximize your space, but it also gives a feeling of separation for your work-from-home setup.
Use a folding desk
Worst-case scenario, your apartment is just too small for a home office. Don’t fret, as there is still hope. You can purchase a folding desk or create your own. A folding desk can function as a working space but collapse out of the way when not needed. Meaning it will only take up space when not in use. There are countless options out there, and there’s sure to be one that will fit you perfectly.
Other useful tips
When you’re past the space problem and have established a home office, the work is over (mostly). There are many ways you can turn your home office feel like an actual workspace, just like the one you had when working on site.
Manage your cables
A tidy workspace is a peaceful workspace. Invest time managing the cables associated with your work equipment such as a PC, laptop, printer, and other electronics. Routing them in a way they’re mostly concealed not only makes your workspace clean but gives your mind peace.
Pick the best color scheme
One perk of working at home is the freedom to customize your workspace. If the color blue makes you feel focused, then use that color for your workspace. The point is to pick a scheme that will help you be more productive.
Mind the ergonomics
There’s a reason your company selected those desks and chairs for use in the office — they’re ergonomic. If you want your home office to be as comfortable as a real office, you also have to mind the ergonomics. You don’t have to go all out and buy all the ergonomic equipment you see on the Internet. Just make sure your chair supports your back properly, your chair’s height is at eye level with your screen, and your shoulders are relaxed. Your body will thank you.
Setting up a home office should encourage you to declutter and create a healthier living space. After all, you don’t need to be working at home to benefit from a house that is not only clean but peaceful.
Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She’s authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.