15 home office hacks
Working from home is often seen as a privilege but if you’ve been doing it for a while, it can start to feel a bit stale.
Your days start to drag, you feel lethargic and you start to romanticise about all the things you used to hate about working in an office such as colleagues, commutes and meetings.
The trick to leading a happy and healthy life while working at home is to keep things fresh in your home office and commit to good work/life practices.
Here are 15 handy office hacks to keep to you energised and productive in your work-from-home lifestyle.
1. Get a standing desk
You don’t even need to spend a lot of money on a fancy standing desk arrangement – you can simply use a shelf. All you need to do is make sure your computer screen and keyboard are at the right height for you. You should seek advice from a professional on how to set up a standing desk properly. Make-shift standing desks are great if you’re lacking in space as they give you an extra area to work to prevent you from spending the entire day sitting down, which isn’t ideal for your health.
Make-shift standing desks are great if you’re lacking in space.
2. Invest in a decent laptop
If you work from home, you probably work from everywhere so you need to have a portable option for your computer. If you work for yourself you should seriously consider spending the money and investing in a decent laptop. Your time is worth more than money, especially if you’re wasting hours a day waiting on slow technology to catch up. If you have a boss, present your case for a decent laptop – it’s in everyone’s best interest that you have the tools you need to complete your work no matter where you are.
3. Make use of your couch
Many experts advise not to work from your couch as it’s bad for your posture but small stints working from your couch can really mix things up. Work from your desk for 40 minutes, then the couch, then your balcony, then the cafe down the road. The place where you sit or stand isn’t the issue when it comes to office work – it’s how long you’re there for so keep moving around as often as you can during the day.
4. Keep experimenting
If a standing desk doesn’t work for you, try something else. If you don’t like working from your spare room, try working in your dining room. There are no rules when it comes to working from home, just pay attention to productivity levels and do more of the things that increase them.
5. Get a really, really good chair
One of the biggest mistakes home workers make is grabbing any old chair in the house and then working from it for eight hours everyday. You won’t be doing yourself any favours if you work from a stiff dining chair or a cheap yet trendy decorative chair. You need a proper desk chair that fully supports you as you work. It can make the world of difference to your productivity and overall health and is well worth the investment.
You need a proper desk chair that fully supports you.
6. Embrace your kitchen bench
If you live in a small home it can be difficult to find any space to work. Kitchen benches are a great temporary option – you can set up your workstation at the beginning of the day and pack it away when you clock off. Tip: don’t stay here too long – make sure you sit at a table or on the couch regularly to mix it up.
7. Follow the light
Let in as much natural light as possible. Artificial lighting can wreak havoc on your productivity and energy levels so work near a window or even outside whenever you can.
8. Put a few plants near your workspace
Plants increase oxygen levels and are also beautiful to look at so make sure you add some greenery to your at-home work station.
9. Have a designated work cupboard
This tip is essential for people who live and work in a small home. If you have a designated work cupboard where you store all work related items like your laptop, chargers and files, you’ll be able to pack everything away at the end of the day and truly switch off when you finish.
10. Put your phone on do not disturb mode
When you work from home it’s much easier to slack off and spend too much time on your phone. If you end up on Instagram every 20 minutes during the day, turn your phone on silent or do not disturb mode and put it somewhere you can’t see it to avoid getting distracted by flashing notifications.
Put your phone somewhere you can’t see it to avoid getting distracted.
11. Invest in noise cancelling headphones
Most people underestimate how noisy residential areas are during the day. People are walking their dogs, doing home maintenance and couriers knocking on doors every few hours. It’s very distracting. Get yourself some noise cancelling headphones and ‘plug’ yourself in for some serious work sessions.
12. Spend money on the best equipment
Update anything that needs updating. If you need to spend $400 on a program that’s going to save you time, do it. If you need to spend an extra $50 a month on extra internet, do it. Your frustration is not worth the monetary saving.
13. Simplify everything
Only keep things you need to keep and get rid of everything else. Store whatever you can digitally and refrain from having any unnecessary physical objects that are tied to your business.
14. Create a physical barrier between work and home
Even a simple folding screen that you place in front of your desk area is a great way to create a barrier between work and home. A physical barrier could be a door, a screen or even a desk with a roll down top. Having a ritual of ‘closing’ your office for the night will give you the physical and mental space you need to properly switch off.
15. Regularly give your work space a makeover
It can get super boring staring at the same work space every day and it’s even worse for at-home workers because they also technically live in their office. Every few months, give your work space a makeover – change up what’s on your wall, get some new stationery and put some fresh flowers around. Your environment can have an enormous effect on your mood so keep it vibrant and fresh.