How To Set Up a Home Office

By Indeed Editorial Team

January 26, 2022

More people are working from home than ever before, so setting up a home office that works for you is more important than ever. Many businesses’ temporary shift to telecommuting is now becoming permanent, according to data reviewed by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics—but with varying results on productivity.

Setting up a home office you love allows you to personalize your surroundings to increase both motivation and productivity, and help you stay focused throughout the day. In this article, we explain four simple steps to setting up your ideal home office and the equipment you need, plus provide tips to improve your productivity while working from home.

What is a home office?

A home office is a designated space in your house for work. Setting up a home office allows you to work in a dedicated area free from distractions. Even if you only work from home occasionally, creating a workspace in your house can be beneficial. It's also possible to receive a tax deduction if you work from home full time.

Read more: Q&A: What Is Telecommuting?

How to set up your home office

Here are some basic steps to help you set up your home office:

1. Make a list of the equipment you need

Create a list of equipment you need to work from home. The equipment you need depends on the type of work you do. For instance, if you work as a graphic designer, you might need a desk for your computer and an additional desk or table for drawing. If you're an accountant or an administrative assistant, you could need a filing cabinet.

Here are some items you might need for your office:

  • Computer

  • Desk

  • Internet connection

  • Chair

  • Work phone

  • Printer

  • Backup drive

  • Headset

  • Paper shredder

Your employer could provide you with some equipment, like a laptop, but you'll likely need to purchase most of your own supplies. Check with your employer to see if they offer any equipment for your home office or if you need to make your own arrangements.

2. Choose a designated workspace

Choose a quiet area or room for your home office, especially if you have roommates, family or pets. A quiet area gives you the privacy needed to concentrate on your work throughout the day. If possible, choose a room with a door to limit noise coming from other rooms in your living space, especially if you communicate often over the phone.

3. Add style elements

Personalize your workspace by adding art, plants or photos. Adding these elements can help you feel more comfortable while you work. Consider choosing bright artwork that can help you feel energized and store your supplies in containers that fit your style. If you use video messaging or host clients in your home office, make sure the style is professional and inviting.

4. Organize your workspace

Keeping your home office organized is an excellent way to maintain your productivity. Consider moving toward wireless options, like a wireless mouse and keyboard, to reduce cords and declutter your workspace. If you have a lot of paper files, get a filing cabinet to keep documents from piling up on your desk.

Color-coded folders to save yourself time in identifying the documents you need. For example, if you're working as a remote marketing manager, you can color-code your folders to recognize which documents are for active clients. Try alphabetizing each active client by their first or last name and using the same-colored tab as the folder to separate documents.

Read more: Best Home Office Organization Ideas

Tips for your home office

Here are some suggestions to help you enhance your home office environment:

Use proper lighting levels

Plenty of natural light can reduce the strain you put on your eyes while you work. If you have few natural-light options, make sure you have enough lighting to see properly. Have a good overhead light in addition to a desk light if you need to read paper documents often. Your lighting should be directly overhead or behind your computer to reduce glare.

Get a standing desk

Standing desks are becoming a popular alternative to regular desks. If you can, find an adjustable desk that lets you alternate between standing and sitting. Switching between standing and sitting can improve your focus. Make sure you slowly transition into standing for long periods to prevent muscle strains.

Eliminate clutter

Clutter can cause distractions, making you lose focus. By regularly cleaning your workspace, you can keep your productivity levels high. Thoroughly dust and clean your desk at least once a week, including your computer, mouse and keyboard. Keep your office supplies in dedicated containers and drawers. Review any paper documents and file away those that you don't need to access quickly. You can also declutter your computer by sorting through your email inbox and creating an electronic file system that's easy to navigate.

Keep a dedicated space for personal devices

Designate a space for any personal devices to avoid the desire to check them while you're working. Keep them in an out-of-reach area so you're not tempted to look at them and turn off notifications. Only use your phone during dedicated breaks. It's also important to refrain from using your computer for personal purposes, which can slow down your work. Be diligent in only keeping work-related tabs open on the internet instead of checking social media or news sites.

Add plants

Adding a plant or two to your office can make it seem brighter, making you feel more energized. Choose plants that only take up a little space and require minimal care, like succulents or spider plants. You should put them in a space that gets plenty of light.

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