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  • Writer's pictureShawna Zegarra

5 Ways to Have a Productive Home Office Space

A great deal of us had the brakes hit on us last year. Suddenly, offices were closed and we were all working from home. That was a fast lesson in adaptation!

But now that things are slowing down and some offices are re-opening, how can you make your home office a really productive place to be?

1. Proper Desk Setup

Some people had to make do with the kitchen table when everything first shut down, but now you have your choice of methods to make it more comfortable!

You're going to want to get a comfortable and supportive chair! Sitting in a folding or wooden chair is only going to work for so long, and avoiding sitting at your desk is even easier to do when you're uncomfortable! Lumbar support and the proper height are key to avoiding injuries or causing severe discomfort.

Keep your knees at a right angle with a foot support. For shorter people like me, this is a must! I started working at my table, my legs were just dangling, which I didn't realize was putting a huge strain on my hips and lower back! The minute I added a footrest, the pain disappeared.

Thanks to the New York Times for this excellent image on how your setup should look for optimum comfort and productivity.

I've also added wrist supports for my keyboard and mouse. I found my wrists really like to sink down which, of course, leads to more pain!

2. A separate space

This one became instantly tricky for folks without extra space in their home.

In order to be able to fully maintain your work/life boundaries, having a separate office space in your home is crucial. In my case, I have a spare bedroom that I turned into my office (because no one is visiting for a while!) and that allows me to shut down and "close" the office at night so that I'm not tempted to work late or check email during hours that I wouldn't if I was still going into the office.

Spare room not an option? Try a room divider

Amazon has a wide selection, including the one on the left here. Even if it's just hanging a curtain down the middle of a room, creating that separate space will tell your brain, "THIS area is for working." It might also let your family/roommates know that when you're in that space, you're at work and can't be bothered. Then, at the end of the day you can fold up the screen, or pull back the curtain, and voila! It's home again.

3. Take Breaks

Did you know you should be taking a ten minute break for every 50 minutes of work?

Me neither.

But this small act can really boost your productivity! Taking some time to move around and stretch your body is a great habit to start, and keep it going when you return to the office!

Our eyes strain with staring at a screen for so long. We weren't meant to stay sitting for 8 hours just staring! So take a break, stretch, pop outside and enjoy the fresh air. Ten minutes every hour is going to make a HUGE difference, I promise.

4. Keep It Tidy

We've all had the messy desk, covered in papers, notes, books, cups. My monitor has no less than 5 Post-Its on it right now.

The best way to set yourself up for success is to keep your desk clean and tidy. Get a drawer for your files, recycle your notes when you're done with them. Keep your pens in a cup. Get a whiteboard instead of using post-its (That might be more directed at me.)

Just looking at the photo above stresses me out! How can I expect myself to get any work done when I can't stand the sight of my workspace?!

Keep it clean and you'll keep yourself working smoothly.

5. Make It Yours

We spend hours decorating our homes to make them a place we're happy to be in. Feeling warm and snuggly and happy. So why shouldn't our office space be the same way?

Get creative! Paint the walls, add some photos, get some plants (real or fake), and really make the space about YOU and what makes you happy.

If you've ever had a job in a cubicle, you know what I mean when I say that beige and plain does not foster a joy for work. Why would it!? It's bland and made to fit anyone.

But your home office is your space. Your area to get your work done and be amazing while doing it. So let you shine through!

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