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7 Upgrades for Your Home Office

Friday, September 9, 2022   /   by Laura Larson

7 Upgrades for Your Home Office

Here are some upgrades you can make to your WFH area to feel more comfortable and productive.

1. Designate a specific space
Not every household has a dedicated space they can use as an office. If you belong to that group, choose a room in your home and designate it as your workspace. It might be a kitchen counter, a bedroom nook, or a space in the living room. Commit to your choice, wherever it may be (No running from place to place!).

Set up the area of your choice with the conditions necessary for success in mind, giving close attention to everything from the lighting to the accessories.

2. Use multiple light sources.
Proper lighting is essential for a home office. Your mood, productivity, and appearance during video conferences are all impacted by the lighting. Don't be content with just one overhead light. For various tasks, a variety of lights is preferred. Purchase an adjustable desk lamp for task lighting so you may direct the light beam to where it is needed. A desk or floor lamp that diffuses light via a shade or reflects it off a wall or ceiling will add ambient light. The intention is to fill the room with gentle light.

Think about getting a ring light so you can appear more professional on conference calls. This is an issue of professionalism, not just vanity. The individuals we are speaking to need to be able to clearly see our faces on the screen because so much of our contact takes place via video conferencing rather than face-to-face at a conference table. If your home office is fortunate enough to have natural light, excellent! Natural light not only benefits your Zoom lighting (just be sure to sit facing a window), but it also elevates your mood, increases productivity, and lessens fatigue, headaches, and eyestrain.

3. Declutter and organize
Throw away everything that needs to be thrown away, collect all of the lost pens in a pretty container, and fill the stacks of paper. Make sure you have everything you'll need for the day's job nearby and put away everything else. Messy coffee mugs and stacks of dog-eared files won't show well on Zoom, and clutter can be distracting. However, organizing your workstation goes beyond just aesthetics. According to research, busy environments can increase stress levels and make it harder to concentrate.

4. Mind your background
Room Rater, a Twitter account that applauded and mocked the home furnishings of pundits who appeared on cable news stations through Zoom and Skype conversations from their improvised offices, was one of the pandemic's earliest ways to pay attention to home offices. A 5 out of 10 was given for disorganized shelves and poor lighting, while a 9 was given for attractive artwork and well-designed bookcases. We all know the drill by this point: keep your home workspace's background tidy and uncluttered. Show off your sense of style if you have space. Your favorite artwork should be hung, and your bookshelves should contain a variety of interesting items and books. If you can't change the background, think about using a filter to make a fake one instead or blurring the background to make it less distracting.

5. Get serious about your office furniture
An office manager used to be concerned about ergonomics, the science of matching the worker to the appropriate equipment. Now, you have that task. Make sure you have all you require to work in comfort and health. Choose an office chair that supports your back and a desk that is the proper height for your frame rather than hunching over on the couch with your laptop. To avoid sitting all day, try using a standing desk. You should also think about obtaining a monitor stand to raise your screen for the most comfortable viewing. If you're looking for a do-it-yourself solution, you can boost your monitor by utilizing a couple of thick hardcover books as a stand.  Investing in ergonomic furniture can keep you healthy by preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strains, and lower back injury.

6. Divide a room for privacy
A room divider is a simple solution to create some privacy for your workspace in a larger room if you don't have a separate room to use as a home office. To add privacy, use curtains or a folding-style partition that you can store away at the end of the workday. Use freestanding bookshelves to divide a room and provide storage for your supplies for a more durable partition. Dividers can also serve as a backdrop for video calls while blocking some background noise and blocking distractions. To help block out even more background noise, think about adding a white noise machine or employing noise-canceling headphones.

7. Make your space your own
You own this space. Making your workplace reflect your personality doesn't require the support of your manager or the workplace itself. On a wall, display art that speaks to you. Be surrounded by vegetation. Put up a diffuser for aromatherapy, and paint the walls your preferred shade. Make an inspiration board and decorate it with things that bring you joy, such as photos of your loved ones, pets, and family members, or photographs of the place you'd most like to travel. Place these objects in your line of sight if it helps you feel content, at ease, and productive.