A home office should be a coveted place—a place where good ideas blossom into great projects for your clients and yourself.
It should be a place where you can grow your business and create the life you imagined when you first set out on your own.
If you clicked on this article in the hopes you’d take away a few helpful tips on how to change up your home office—or better yet, learn how to create one, stay with us.
Doesn’t the kitchen table suffice?
No, no it doesn’t. Just because we work from home doesn’t mean we can be our most productive selves from literally anywhere. Creating a calming yet productive home office is the key to warding off distractions.
Don’t just take our word for it.
According to a survey from AND.CO, 18% of participants said that their coworking space or home office has too many distractions.
There’s no question that working from home yields more crossed off to-dos than working in a busy office, but your house can be just as distracting if you let it.
Maybe you don’t have an assembly line of coworkers passing by to “steal you for a sec,” but the allure of the couch and TV can be too much at times.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can create a home office—or improve your existing one— that's fit for ultimate productivity.
Designate a space as your office
As we mentioned above, the kitchen table will not suffice as your full-time WFH space. Just as you would at a 9-5, you need a designated area to concentrate and get stuff done.
Of course, not everyone is going to have a spare room in their house or apartment that they can transform into a productivity haven. But you’d be surprised at what a little furniture rearranging + a new desk + a chair can do for you.
If you’re someone who spends most of their time working from home instead of at a coffee shop or a coworking space, it’s worth investing in furniture that’s going to last you (and not cause health issues later in life). We’re talking about a desk that, you know, actually has space for you to place your laptop, a monitor, and other tools you need to get your work done. Be realistic about your space and buy something practical.
When it comes to selecting the right office chair, there are many routes you can take. You can invest in a Herman Miller chair, which tend to trend on the more expensive side of the office chair spectrum, or you can purchase a cozy chair from Target for under $100. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s comfortable.
At the minimum, get yourself a desk, a comfy chair, and a desk lamp (we care about your eye and back health here at Unemployable) that you can suitably work from each day. Create a space where you can sit down, cancel out the world, and get your work done.
You’ll be amazed at how much you get done in your own dedicated space.
Lighting is key
Proper lighting is essential to not only creating a great space to work in but to be productive as well.
Natural light is the best type of light for productivity, but if your space doesn’t have too much of it, there are a few workarounds. Try to arrange your furniture in such a way that maximizes the amount of natural light near you (just make sure it’s not shining too brightly on your screen).
If your home office is in your basement or another room that doesn’t have too much natural light, look into purchasing a sun lamp.
According to a study from the Harvard Business Review, 47% of employees claim they feel tired or drained due to the absence of natural light or a window at their office, and 43% report feeling gloomy because of the lack of light. Your body needs natural light (Vitamin D!), plus it’s a surefire way to increase your productivity.
Fluorescent lights can see themselves out the door.
Make your space inspiring
There’s no better way to kill an idea than to walk into a room that is just, well, not inspiring.
This is your space, so let your inner Joanna Gaines run wild. Fill your space with your favorite art, quotes, photos of family and friends—whatever will keep you happy and motivated throughout the day.
Desk knick-knacks are encouraged as long as they don’t create clutter (more on that in a minute).
If you’re a plant person, figure out what indoor plants could thrive in your space based on your lighting situation. Plants are great for not only brightening up space and adding color, but a study from the Nursery & Garden Industry of Australia found that they can reduce tension and anxiety by 37%. Bring on the plants.
There’s a fine line between decorating and cluttering, though. Make your space unique, but not so unique that you’re tripping over floor pillows or knocking over decorative tchotchkes.
Keep your office organized and mess-free
You know the familiar scene.
Half drank coffee cups litter your desk.
A stack of plates waits impatiently near the door, begging to be taken to the dishwasher.
Piles and piles of paper that can only be filed under “This Felt Important Enough to Print” rest next to your laptop collecting dust.
Pretty haunting, right?
Whether we realize it or not, an office that is in utter disarray does absolutely nothing for our productivity or quality of work. It’s time to take back your office space and keep it tidy.
Take 15 minutes each morning and clean up or put back anything that’s not in its place. Once a month, block out some time to go through everything in your office and get rid of the items that you no longer need or that are just taking up space. If you aren’t sure where to start, employ the ever-popular KonMari method or try another decluttering formula instead.
Don’t forget to clean your office regularly, either!
After all, you are spending a ton of time in there; it should be fit for freelancer magic.
Invest in the tech that will make you productive
This is your space, and therefore it should be equipped with the necessary gadgets and devices you need to do your job well.
If you need a second monitor to help you with your design work, get yourself one.
If the only way you can fully concentrate while you write website copy is with noise-canceling headphones, research a few different pairs to try.
Whatever you need to help yourself create your best work, it’s worth the investment. No question.
Now, we’re not encouraging you to run out to Best Buy and run your credit score into the ground with all your purchases.
We’re suggesting that you merely invest in yourself.
If your freelancing career is your full-time occupation, anything you can do to grow your business, improve your work, or make your clients (and yourself) happier, is money well spent.
Takeaway: Make your space your own
Just as you would if you had a 9-5 position, you deserve an office space that is yours. Freelancing does offer a life of flexibility, but there are some things—like an office—that are pertinent to success.
Build your space, make it your own, keep it organized, and watch your productivity soar.
Want more ways to elevate your freelance career? Tune into the Unemployable podcast for more.