Home is where the heart is — but in the pandemic era, it’s where your business is, too. The notion of a home office has become a reality for the millions of professionals who now need a designated space to complete tasks crucial to their employment. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 99% of businesses in the United States are considered small businesses. Whether you work for one of those businesses or work for yourself, how can you make the most of the office space you have at home? Here are just a few tips that will help you revitalize this room in 2021.
Set Aside Space To Work
It should be obvious, but it is important to designate a specific area for work. On average, there are 11 million meetings per day in the United States. You need an area in your home that is both professional and accommodating for Zoom meetings with staff and clients. Your bedroom or kitchen counter simply isn’t going to cut it. Whether you transform part of your guest bedroom into an office or give a large closet a complete makeover, you’ll want a spot that provides you with privacy, functionality, and visual appeal.
Keep Your Area Organized
Whether you’re one of the 1,315,561 lawyers practicing from home nationwide or you work in a more creative field, you can’t expect to be productive when your work space is cluttered. It is difficult to be efficient if you’re spending lots of time searching for the documents you need to help your clients. Maintaining good organization skills, which may include having file cabinets and other supplies, is essential.
The look and feel of your office space are not the focus of your business. Good aesthetics, however, do matter when you are working from home.
There are so many distractions in your house that seek to pull you away from work. Having a space with good visual appeal will encourage you to stay in your designated workspace and ultimately finish the tasks at hand. We also know that being surrounded by art or plants can help to reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve productivity. So don’t be content to work in a blank, boring room. Spruce it up with visual elements that make you happy to spend your hours there.
Focus On Technology
The digital era makes it nearly impossible to conduct business without having up-to-date technology. You do not need to upgrade your equipment every year. It is, however, a good idea to ensure your software is updated for safety purposes.
Hackers are constantly looking to take advantage of small business owners. You need to protect yourself, and the clients who trust you with their information, from identity theft.
Some entrepreneurs hire third-party IT specialists to work alongside them to safeguard sensitive data. You may want to find other means to obtain enterprise-grade security in your home office. Consider using a VPN or a secure cloud connection, as well as upgraded anti-virus software, at a minimum.
Keep Ergonomics in Mind
Ergonomics focuses on a work environment’s overall efficiency and comfort. It is crucial that your home office has good ergonomics. Such is especially the case if you are in the space for more than eight hours per day.
Investing in a good office chair that provides back support is the first step to workplace efficiency and physical well-being. You should also ensure that seating matches the height of your desk. The best office chairs do not force you to reach up or down for extended periods.
Remember Your Lighting
Natural light is always the best option when you are working from home. Selecting space near a window gives you the opportunity to let in a bit of sunshine while also taking in the view outdoors. You may even be able to let in a bit of fresh air if your desk is positioned near a window that opens.
Those who cannot have office space near a window may consider fluorescent lighting that provides brightness throughout the space. You should be mindful, however, to not put too much lighting in the area as such could be more of a distraction than a help. If you have to rely on artificial light, opt for bulbs that emit a more natural hue and that don’t expend as much energy waste.
Make The Most Of Houseplants
We touched on this briefly when discussing aesthetics, but you might be surprised by the difference an indoor plant can make! Houseplants continue to breathe life into homes across the United States because of their ability to improve air quality inside the residence. Boston ferns are especially ideal for indoor settings because of their ability to purify the air.
You do not need to overwhelm your workspace with plants. You should, however, consider placing live plants strategically throughout your home office for better oxygen.
Your home office should be a place where you want to stay for hours. Improving your space with houseplants, ergonomic-friendly furniture, and up-to-date technology can increase your drive to be more productive.