Home Office Set Up Ideas for Work from Home Success
I’ve been working from home for about three years now, but I know many of you have only just recently started your work from home lifestyle due to the current health crisis.
There are so many things to consider when working from home for the first time - like how you will arrange your desk and computer or what you should do to keep yourself safe and healthy throughout the day.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to set up your home office to successfully work from home, you are in the right place!
Here are some tips for work from home success.
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Setting Up Your Ergonomic Home Office Space
What Does Ergonomic Mean?
Also called human engineering, ergonomics is the science of fitting the work environment to the worker.
So, for example, if you are working at a computer all day, ergonomic considerations would include things like:
- fitting your chair to your spinal curves and adjusting it to your height
- having a desk that’s the right height and width for your body
- keeping frequently-used objects in reach without having to twist or bend to retrieve them
- having your monitor at arm’s length and at an angle that eliminates glare
Ergonomics makes it easier and safer to use products and allows workers to perform tasks more efficiently.
It also reduces the risk of sustaining painful musculoskeletal injuries/disorders (MSDs) like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back and neck pain, and other disorders involving muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, and joints.
So, if you are working from home, it is essential to ensure that your workspace is set up ergonomically so that you don’t develop painful, long-lasting MSDs.
Thank you to all of my Ko-fi supporters who have helped me build my ergonomic workstation! It's still a work in progress but it sure has come a long way. You guys make it possible for me to keep the blog up & running and I just want you to know that I appreciate you so much.
Elements of an Ergonomic Workstation
If your office desk is too low, it can cause you to slouch over and develop back problems.
But if your desk is too high, it can lead to shoulder problems from holding your arms up in an unnatural position.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you have the proper size work desk.
Here’s a handy chart that tells you exactly how tall your office desk (both seated and standing) should be based on your height.
Considering that sitting all day cardiovascular disease, cancer, weight gain, and other harmful health effects, you may want to consider a standing desk.
There are also adjustable options that allow you to sit and stand intermittently throughout the day.
I purchased my desk from World Market (gift card), but there are plenty of good options on Amazon and other online retailers.
It’s also essential to have the right chair when working from home.
Some options to consider when choosing a home office chair include height/adjustable height and tilt, backrest, seat depth, armrests, and stability.
I purchased something similar to this gaming chair, (paid link) and while it was comfortable in the beginning, it ultimately did not last for as long as I would have liked.
Also, your feet should touch the floor. Which brings me to the next work from home office setup idea …
If your desk or chair is too high and you aren’t in the market for getting a new one, try a footrest like this one. (paid link)
Most office chairs do not have adequate back support.
Lumbar support is essential to preventing back injuries and promoting good posture.
If your chair does not have good lumbar support or you find yourself slouching over a lot, try getting a good back pillow. (paid link)
One of the most important elements of your work from home set up is your computer.
Your computer screen should be about arm’s length away and at eye level or slightly below.
If you’re having to look down at your screen, you will eventually develop neck problems so it’s important to adjust it to the proper height.
I purchased this monitor riser (paid link) and I love it, especially the side compartments for storage/organization!
Dual monitor risers (paid link) are also something to consider, especially if you are doing work that requires you to pull up multiple screens at once.
If you have a laptop, a riser with holes on the bottom like the one I have will also help keep your laptop cool.
External Mouse & Keyboard
If you do not have a desktop computer with a separate monitor, mouse, and ergonomic keyboard, (paid link) you have to be extra careful about your hand positioning.
I cannot overstate the importance of this – I’m currently suffering from lateral epicondylitis/tendonitis in my right arm and let me tell you, it is not fun!
First, I purchased a version of this ergonomic mouse (paid link) which was too big for my hand and just not comfortable, so I returned it and got this amazing mouse, (paid link) which I absolutely love! It’s just the right size and angle for my wrist.
Your forearm and wrist should be in a straight line when using the keyboard and mouse; your wrist should not be angled upwards.
If you find it uncomfortable after using your computer for a while, you may want to consider getting a wrist rest for your work from home set up.
I have this wrist rest (paid link) as well as the longer version – I love that they are filled with comfort beads so they really conform to the shape of your arms and wrists (and they are way better than the ones I tried from Office Depot).
Work from home musculoskeletal injuries typically occur due to awkward postures and repetitive motions.
So, when you’re working from home, reduce your range of motion when reaching for documents and office supplies.
Keep frequently-used items in reach, about an arm’s length away in front of you and on the sides of your computer/laptop.
There are many types and styles of document holders/organizers (paid link) to choose from for your home office set up.
Home Office Design
Unlike a corporate work space, it’s entirely up to you how to design your home office!
Take advantage of this opportunity to design your space specifically for you.
A lot depends on the type of work you do, the amount of space you have to work with, and your personality.
However, some universal elements you may want to consider including in your home office setup include:
Plants remove toxins from the air that are often produced by furniture, carpet, and ink.
Not only that but they are natural humidifiers and they also help to boost your mood.
So, it’s a great idea to include some plants in your setup.
Here are some excellent choices of plants for your home office:
- Peace Lily
- Boston Fern
- African Violet
- Aloe Vera
- Chinese Evergreen
- Corn plant
- Spider plant
It is so important to choose a color that you love for your home office – after all, you will be spending a considerable amount of time there.
You may want a colorful, inspiring environment or you may opt for a more clean, non-distracting look.
Just know that color definitely has a psychological effect, so choose wisely.
Here’s a little guide to how certain colors can influence you and the work you do in your home office:
- Yellow: optimism, creativity
- Green: energy, revitalization
- Brown: grounding, focus
- White: minimalist, organized
- Blue: calm, concentration
- Red: strength, stimulation
- Black: introspective, protection
- Orange: creativity, energy
- Purple: imagination, wisdom
- Gray: peace, tranquility
- Pink: nurturing, soothing
Even if you choose to paint the walls a neutral color, that doesn’t mean your space has to be all one note.
You can add pops of color and interest with accent pieces like lamps, decorative storage, artwork, an accent wall, or fun additions like chalkboards/pin boards.
Home Office Feng Shui
The two basic principles of feng shui are energy and flow.
The purpose of feng shui is to enhance the energy in your environment and allow it to flow in such a way that creates harmony and basically, good vibes.
Therefore, plants, color, furniture, and artwork will all help to create such an atmosphere.
Some other elements of good feng shui include:
The foundation of a successful home office set up is a clean and clutter free space.
Mess creates stress and will not be conducive to working from home.
Too many distractions for your senses will decrease your concentration and productivity. So, make sure that your home office is clean and organized.
Generally, the way I like to clean and organize any space – home office, closet, kitchen, refrigerator, drawers, etc. is the same:
- First, take everything out.
- Then, sort the items & get rid of what you don’t need, use, or anything that’s broken/incomplete, etc.
- Finally, clean the area and then put the remaining items back neatly.
Your home office should ideally be as far away from the bedroom as possible and diagonally facing the door.
The direction your home office faces also influences the color choices and elements you should include.
- North- water element, blue, green
- South- fire element, red, orange, yellow
- East/Southeast- wood element, brown, green
- West/Northwest- metal element, white, gray
- Southwest/Northeast- earth element, beige, tan, light yellow, light brown
A good scent helps to enhance your mood and the energy in the room.
While you can use candles, incense, or sprays to make your home office smell nice, I really like essential oils because they are the most natural and healthy.
Before vaporizing the essential oils, try clearing out the energy with some bundled sage.(paid link)
It’s really important to have some natural light in your home office. I actually have my home office set up in my living area, the room with the most windows.
Whatever you do, make sure your home office is not so dark that you have trouble seeing. You can always add lamps if there is not enough light in the room.
*Bonus feng shui lighting tip - put lights on each side of the door to your home office.
Air is another essential component of your home office set up.
Make sure you have good air quality and circulation to maximize the feng shui in your home office and to benefit your health.
I almost always have the windows in my home office open for fresh air, which helps your body and mind to function optimally.
But if that is not an option for you, consider purchasing a good quality air purifier (paid link) and going for walks outside.
Safe & Healthy Work from Home Tips
If you want to stay healthy while working from home, you have to set some ground rules for yourself.
It’s way too easy to get caught up in your work and forget self-care.
Here are my best tips for staying safe and healthy while working from home:
Maintain a schedule
Maintaining a schedule will help you stay on track while you’re working from home.
Of course, that schedule can be flexible, but having a general structure to your day facilitates productivity.
For example, I get up between 5:00 and 5:45 am every morning – you may get up earlier or later depending on what you have going on for the day.
Mind your posture
It’s easy to get lazy and slouch when you’re in the comfort of your own home.
So, make sure you’re maintaining good posture throughout the day.
The consequences of bad posture are pretty severe – back pain, digestive issues, circulation problems, MSD's, and fatigue to name a few.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your posture, I highly recommend yoga.
Eat healthy & drink lots of water
When you’re working from home, food and snacks are just a few feet away and it’s ok for you to eat at your desk any time you want (because, who’s watching, right?).
That’s why it’s super important to make sure you eat healthy.
Stock up on fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods for the week. Maybe even plan and prepare your lunches ahead of time.
Also, pay attention to how much water you are drinking.
Dehydration can lead to dizziness, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
How much water you should drink each day depends on several factors, including how old you are and how much you weigh.
I drink about a gallon a day, but you may differ. Generally, health experts recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Prevent eye strain
Give your poor eyes a break - they’re not made for staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day.
If you don’t take a rest from looking at the screen, you may suffer from digital eye strain.
Here’s a great exercise to help protect your eyes – it’s called the 20-20-20 rule.
Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
While doing this, it’s an opportune time to do some stretches and grab some water as well.
Also, make sure there is no glare on your computer screen. If there is, you can usually fix it by adjusting the brightness and contrast on your computer, placing lamps farther away from your monitor or reducing the amount of overhead light.
There are also anti-glare computer screens (paid link) that minimize the amount of light reflecting off your display – some even have a matte finish to reduce the shininess of the screen.
Protect your equipment
This is one of the most important factors of home office set up.
The last thing you want to happen is for you to suddenly lose all your hard work due to a power outage or a hacker!
Now that you are working from your personal computer at home, you need to ensure that it is safe and protected.
That’s why I recommend getting two essential things: 1- a heavy duty surge protector (paid link) and 2- anti-virus protection.
The type of protection you should get depends on how many devices you want to protect, how many features you want, and how much you are willing to spend.
I have had Avast anti-virus security (paid link) for the past couple years and I am really happy with it.
When you were going to work, you may have been required to take two 15-minute breaks and a half-hour or hour lunch at designated times.
But now that you are working from home, you may forget to take those breaks if you get caught up in your work and lose track of time.
So, make sure you are taking care of yourself while you’re working from home. A good rule of thumb is to get up and stretch or walk around every 20 minutes.
Just be mindful of how long you’ve been working/sitting and don’t overwork yourself or else you will become overwhelmed and burn out.
Hopefully, these home office set up tips helped - I wish you all the best & work from home success!
What's your favorite part about working from home? Leave a comment below.
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