In recent weeks, many businesses have started the slow process of opening up again. Plenty of workers are returning to the office as well, but not all of them.
If you are one of the thousands of people who still WFH (and plan to do so for as long as possible), you are probably thinking this: since we are in for the long-haul, I gotta upgrade my home office space to be more productive.
So for those with itchy hands, here are some quick and simple home office improvements to try out.
This is a simple upgrade that has some real benefits.
When you add plants to a room you can reduce the amount of dust and allergens in the air. There’s also a definite aesthetic boost. Having plants and flowers nearby can improve your mood, and make your space more welcoming. Certain plants can even add moisture to dry air which is also nice.
Then, plants are natural stress-relievers as just looking at greenery can help reduce anxiety levels. Finally, consider keeping a herbal plant or two nearby to add extra flavor to your afternoon tea.
Until recently, many people haven’t given their home office chairs much thought. After all, you don’t need much in a chair. You only use an hour or so each day. Now that you’re spending entire workdays in your home office, things have changed. It may be time to upgrade to an ergonomic chair for comfort and to prevent injury.
Once you’ve upgraded your chair, it’s time to consider the rest of your workspace. Do your keyboard and mouse meet your needs? What about your monitor? Invest in something just a bit better than what you have now to increase your comfort.
A ceiling fixture and desk lamp don’t provide the quality lighting you need. Worse, working in a shadowy space can cause eyestrain. You almost certainly need a lighting upgrade. Start by replacing cheap bulbs with high quality, energy-efficient bulbs. Then, add LED strip lights for budget-friendly task lighting that lasts a long time.
You may have noticed that your home office has accumulated quite a bit of stuff over the past several weeks. That’s a real problem if you don’t have any place for all of it to go. It may be time to consider an organization solution. Here are some things that may work:
- A simple filing cabinet
- Wall shelves
- Rolling carts
- An ottoman storage unit
- Cube style stackable shelves
Until now, you may have only used your home office for a few hours in the evening. Now, you work there from morning until evening. Does your current setup still work for you? Can you work in the early mornings, and late afternoon sun without glare or other issues? What about noise from other parts of the house?
If any of these things are a struggle, it may be time to rearrange your home office furniture. By moving your desk to a new spot you could reduce issues with noise and glare.
Color psychology is the concept suggesting that different hues can impact mood and behavior. No, changing your office colors won’t cause you to double your productivity. Still, a change here can have a noticeable impact on your mood and alertness. Consider a fresh coat of paint to renew your workspace, and create an environment that is pleasant and uplifting.
Is the idea of painting your entire office overwhelming? No problem! There are other color updates you can make that don’t require a paintbrush:
- Hang a wall tapestry or other colorful art.
- Add curtains in a color that you love.
- Paint large canvases in a single color and hang on your walls for a paint-like effect.
- Place colored vases and other decorative items around.
- Add a colorful rug to your floor, and toss a brightly-hued throw blanket over a nearby sofa or chair.
Are you moseying down the hall for coffee refills and snacks more often than you should? Everybody needs a break, but getting up too often can be disruptive to your productivity. Consider creating an in-room coffee, tea, and snack bar. Here’s what you need:
- A narrow ‘sideboard’ style table
- Electric kettle
- Mini Fridge
- A cream and sugar set
- Baskets for k-cups and tea bags
- Ice bucket
- Cups and spoons
- Healthy snacks for the fridge
Nobody is looking over your shoulder, so there’s no need to feel as if you must work behind a desk for eight hours each day. Give yourself some better seating options. You’ll be more comfortable, and you’ll avoid stiff muscles from staying in the same spot all day long. Add a rocker, reclining chair, or a hammock to your office. You might even consider a beanbag or gaming chair. Finally, it’s helpful to have seating options if you ever bring in clients or coworkers.
No, you don’t have to hire an employee, but a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Home can be a real help. Do you need to check your email, send a message, get stock prices, or play some great music to boost productivity? Your in-home assistant can handle all of these tasks for you. Take advantage of this relatively inexpensive form of automation so that you can focus on more important tasks.
Most home internet setups simply aren’t made to handle a dedicated home office. It may be time to invest in new equipment. Speak to your provider to ensure that you have all the bandwidth you need. If you don’t ask for an equipment upgrade. Then, see if you would get better performance by switching to a better performing business account. Try these other tips if your internet is slow and sluggish.
There’s just something about getting away from your computer screen, and working things out by hand. A whiteboard is an inexpensive addition to so many uses. Hang it up and use it to:
- Do calculations so you can visualize them.
- Write color-coded lists, Kanban-style.
- Draw simple illustrations.
- Write daily to-do lists.
It doesn’t take much time or money to implement these upgrades, and the payoff can be spectacular. You’ll create a more attractive, functional workspace that is guaranteed to lead to better productivity.