New year, new you. But what about the spaces where you spend so much of your time?
Your work environment has a very real effect on you—and the remote work revolution has given people more control over that environment than ever before. This year, why not take advantage of that and level-up your home office so it feels fresh, comfortable, and inspiring?
Think of sprucing up your workspace as a form of self-care. Not only can it benefit your physical health, but a thoughtfully designed home office can boost your spirits and improve the quality of your work.
There are so many simple, affordable ways to take your home office to the next level. Today, we’re sharing 5 ways to create a home office you’ll look forward to hanging out in.
We’ve Got Your Back
We know, we know—’lower back support’ doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to glow up your WFH situation. But you can’t be productive and inspired if you aren’t comfortable, and back support is an important part of that.
You don’t need to buy an expensive ergonomic office chair to do this, although you certainly can if you want to. There are plenty of ways to give the seating you’ve already got some extra support.
Depending on your resources and budget, you might try a foam cushion designed for lumbar support, or any small decorative pillows you already have around the house. Even a folded blanket or towel can be comfortable and supportive when tucked around the back of your chair.
Raise A Screen
Back support is just one piece of the ergonomic puzzle. If you’re always bending your neck to look down at a screen, you’re putting stress on your upper spine, risking future strain, pain, and soreness. Instead, you should aim to have your eyes roughly level with the top edge of your monitor.
If you already have a desktop computer or external monitor, raising it is easy—set it on top of a box or stack of books to raise it to a comfortable level. Hey, you might as well use those college textbooks for something, right?
If you’re a laptop user, though, bringing things up can be a little more tricky. You’ll need a laptop stand to raise the computer itself, and then an external keyboard and monitor so that you can still easily type. Don’t try to click, scroll and type while your laptop is elevated—you’re just trading neck strain for wrist irritation.
Light Up Your (Working) Life
I love overhead fluorescent lighting… said no one ever.
Because you’re so used to your home’s lighting, it’s easy to forget what a big effect it has on your energy levels and mood. Assess the lighting sources you’re already working with, then look for ways to make things brighter, lighter, and happier.
The gold standard here is natural light. In fact, sunlight is so great for our mood and mental health that there have been studies positively correlating it with productivity.
See if you can set up your workstation near a window, even if it’s just for an hour or two in the morning. Getting some light when you first wake up fits in with your natural circadian rhythm, and will help you feel more alert and energized throughout the day.
If the natural light in your house leaves something to be desired, don’t give up hope. Try out smart light bulbs that you can program to mimic the cycles of natural daylight. This might sound pretty extra, but there’s evidence that circadian lighting can help people feel calmer, more focused, and more productive and work.
Video Call Makeover
In a remote-first world, how you look on video matters—a lot. But there’s no need to get all glammed up (although that might make your 8AM check-in a little more interesting).
Rather, it’s about making sure people can see and hear you as clearly as possible. If your tech set-up is less than stellar, it’s harder for people to feel connected with you, and understand what you’re trying to say.
Start with the visuals. Make sure you’re facing a light source when you log on, whether that’s a bright window or a soft, diffused indoor lamp. You can even try out a small ring light, if you want something portable that will let you be camera-ready from anywhere in your house.
Next, don’t just rely on your computer speakers to be heard—pick up some headphones if you haven’t already, and choose a pair with a microphone. It will be so much easier for colleagues to understand you when you aren’t competing with background noise.
You can even choose a cushiony, noise-cancelling pair to further block out any distractions.
Trust us, we get it—no one likes being told to clean their room!
But a cluttered, chaotic office is holding back your productivity. How can you perform at your best if your office looks like it was taken over by a roving pack of nap-deprived preschoolers?
But getting tidy doesn’t mean you need to spend your life cleaning. Try to establish some simple organizational systems that will make your life easier, rather than harder. Designate specific places where different types of items can live, such as a basket for pens and pencils or a file folder for all your paperwork.
Messy cables are another common culprit. Taming those wild tech tangles is easy—all it takes is some zip-ties, velcro, or basic painter’s tape.
Create A Vibe
Just like other types of rooms, offices are much more enjoyable when they’re beautiful and well-designed! That means staying true to your personal style—what’s the dream office that you want?
It’s much easier to feel satisfied and happy with your job in a workspace that feels true to your personality, taste, and interests. As long as you don’t have anything offensive in your Zoom background, you can pretty much do what you want, and that’s pretty special!
Try using candles or a diffuser to bring in scents you find relaxing or energizing, like citrus, lavender, or rosemary. To break up the silence (or drown out your roommate’s Call of Duty marathon) try streaming some ambient soundscapes from YouTube or Spotify.
While decorating, you can use color psychology as a handy guide. For example, if you deal with anxiety, you might choose a calming blue, while a dramatic red could inspire you to keep things high-energy and creative.
And don’t forget about plants! They’re not just beautiful and stylish—by bringing in a little bit of nature, they help people feel less stressed and more productive at work.
Your Dream Office Awaits
You deserve a workspace that you genuinely love spending time in. And that’s not some out-of-reach, aspirational dream!
With a few simple fixes and a bit of creativity, you can create a home office that brings out the best in you and your work. Happy people accomplish great things—so why not create a home office that will help you get there?
Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!