Whether you work daily from home or rely on your home office for an occasional flex day, your home office should be a cozy space for productivity, not a source of stress. No detail is too small when it comes to perfecting your home office, so spend some time figuring out what helps you stay productive at work.
Maybe that means brand-new, energy efficient computer equipment so you can stop stressing about the utility bill, or an ergonomic chair that’s so comfortable you’ll forget that you’re sitting in front of a desk. Pick your priorities, and then make them happen: these DIY home office hacks are here to help you work the way you want.
Choose Natural Lighting
What’s great about working from home is getting away from those harsh overhead incandescent lights. When you work from home, you have total control over your lighting situation, so take full advantage of it. Harsh lighting causes eye strain and fatigue, which drains your productivity, so you should try to emulate natural sunlight wherever you can.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are a great choice because they come in a warm, natural color spectrum that looks similar to natural sunlight. This helps minimize eye strain and keep you comfortable during long shifts. Also, CFLs are up to four times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, and can last 10 times as long! This saves you valuable cash on your utility budget in the long term.
Another great way to hack your home office lighting is simply by taking advantage of the actual natural light. If your home office has a north-facing window, you’ve got a great opportunity to revamp your lighting situation by adding blinds that you can open up for natural rays.
Add a Pop of Color
Using color psychology to decorate your home office space helps keep your mood focused. Try painting an accent wall blue, which is the color of communication, trust, efficiency, and serenity: all attributes that most of us can definitely use during an average workday. Green is another color that’s associated with calm and efficiency, and yellow is associated with creativity.
If you’re worried that an entire accent wall could be distracting, then leave your walls neutral and use your productivity color to decorate with smaller accents, instead.
Ergonomics refers to the study of efficiency in the workplace. You don’t have to be in a “real” office to use ergonomic design to your advantage. It’s easier than ever to find home office furnishings that put your body’s comfort first. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair all day will make fatigue set in quickly, hurting your productivity level.
Assuming that you work from a computer, start with your desk. You might be able to modify or adjust your desk and chair so that it’s ergonomic, or you may need to start from scratch with a new desk. Here are some quick checks you can do:
- Chair height should put your knees level with your hips, and your thighs parallel with the floor
- Computer monitor should be arm’s length away from your face
- Wrists should be straight when typing or using the mouse, with hands at elbow level
- Elbows should be supported by armrests on the chair, letting your shoulders stay relaxed
If your furniture doesn’t make the cut, then it’s time to go out and replace your desk and chair with equipment that keeps you comfortable all day long. Settle into your brand-new ergonomic work space and watch your productivity level rise.
Upgrade Your Home Office Tech
When you spend eight hours a day or more using the computer, there’s a lot of potential for energy savings. Even if you only work from home one day a week, those eight hours add to your home energy bill. A computer isn’t a negotiable part of the office, so how do you hack your office electronics to use less power?
- Choosing ENERGY STAR-certified computers, monitors, printers, and other equipment helps you use 30 to 65 percent less energy.
- Don’t hold on to old equipment. It actually costs you to hold on to that brick-style PC from 2004 because the energy expenditure is so much larger.
- Consider a laptop because they’re designed specifically to run on as little energy as possible (to extend battery life, but this holds true when plugged in, too).
- Plug everything into a power strip surge protector and simply hit the power switch when you’re “leaving the office” for the day, keeping your electronics from seeping power overnight.
- Set up power management features such as Sleep Mode and Energy Saver mode, which can save you up to $30 a year, according to ENERGY STAR.
Many of these tips also hold true for equipment such as scanners and copiers, so make sure that you’re checking all of your tech for energy efficient upgrade potential, not just the desktop.
Your home office is one of the most important parts of the home, especially if you regularly spend entire days there. While you’re hard at work renovating your home office for productivity, consider making changes that increase energy efficiency and lower your utility bills from month to month. Look to HomeSelfe for help when it comes to revamping your home office (and the rest of the house, too).