Working from home isn’t for everybody. The people that are successful working from home are people that are organized and self-motivated. But just like there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many ways to work – and be productive – from home.
The biggest mistake a person can make in working from home is having a home office that doesn’t work for him or her. A lack of lighting, an uncomfortable desk chair, and the myriad life distractions at home are just three ways a person’s productivity can be limited at home.
Luckily, many of the things that can limit productivity at home can be changed or even eliminated. All it takes is a little planning and an understanding of how you work best. Here are five common mistakes people with home offices make, and how to fix them and boost productivity.
Mistake #1: An Office That Doesn’t Suit Your Work-style
How best do you work? Are you the kind of person that needs to go into a cave and shut yourself out from outside distractions to be productive, or are you the kind of person that needs background noise? A common mistake with people that work from home is that their office simply doesn’t fit for how best the person works. Knowing what kind of environment boosts your productivity is the first step to designing an efficient and productive home office.
No matter how you work, it is a good idea to try to separate your work environment from the rest of your home as much as possible. The reasoning is simple: the fewer outside distractions you have when you’re working the better. That’s easier said than done however, depending on the size and design of your home.
If your office is in a corner of a larger room, room dividers are a great way to temporarily create more private workspace. They can also be taken away when you don’t need it, and it is mobile enough that you can create a private workspace almost anywhere in your home.
Mistake #2: The Wrong Furniture
Once again, the size of your office depends a lot on the amount and what kind of furniture you should get, but one piece of furniture is absolutely essential: your desk chair. Everybody’s body is different, so it is important you find a desk chair that is right for you. If you spend a lot of your time in your office hunched in front of a computer, a comfortable desk chair can help decrease neck and back pain and increase your productivity. Here is a great resource to help you make decisions on which chair to buy. Look for a chair that has options to increase movement, like adjustable height and a 360° swivel.
Mistake #3: Not Enough Light
Not having enough light in a home office is a common mistake people with home offices make. Take advantage of natural light as much as you can, but don’t forget to install lighting for working at night or cloudy days.
Track lighting is a great way to put in enough light and to get light in the exact place you need it. Try installing some track lighting right above your primary workspace.
Mistake #4: The Wrong Color Scheme
Numerous studies have shown the effect different color schemes have on productivity. Depending on what kind of work environment you want, choosing the right color scheme can give you a boost. Blues are generally considered to be soothing, and red and oranges encourage creativity. Choosing the right color scheme for your home office comes down again to what you need from your office.
Mistake #5: A Lack of Inspiration
Yes, your office is for work, but don’t underestimate how a few choice pieces of art can contribute to your overall outlook and productivity. What you put on your walls is completely up to you. Is there a photograph or work of art that inspires you? A bookcase full of books, photos, and other works of art is a great addition to a home office. Putting up your kids’ artwork is a great way to keep you grounded.
The five mistakes listed above are common and are easy to fix. Again, it is all about you. What do you want/need to be productive in your home office? Area rugs and room dividers are a simple and cheap addition to your home office that affords you the flexibility while helping you to achieve maximum productivity.
What are some of the things you have done to boost productivity in your home office?
Recommended Books on How to Fix Common Home Office Mistakes:
- Crisp: Organizing Your Work Space, Revised Edition: A Guide to Personal Productivity
- Organize Now!: A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life
- Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
- Eliminate the Chaos at Work: 25 Techniques to Increase Productivity
- Organizing Your Home Office For Success : Expert Strategies That Can Work for You