I’ve been working from a home office for more than five years now. When I was working at Wells Fargo, I was remote for the last few years I worked there, and as I transitioned to working for myself full-time, I still love working from home. A Buffer study with over 2400 people showed that 99% of respondents said they’d like to work remotely for at least part of their time for the rest of their career. That’s a BIG, noticeable statistic that employers can’t ignore. And the reasons why people like working remotely the most are flexible schedules and flexible locations. However, I’m a huge believer in having a dedicated workspace, or office, at home if you work remotely. It helps me create a better work-life balance, gives me space to think, and helps me stay productive during the day.
I’m asked about my office space regularly, and now that we’re selling our house, I’m reminiscing on how great my office is. My office has changed over the years — I started with a gorgeous antique writing desk and cane chair, and then as I began working from home more consistently, I upgraded to true office furniture. Setting up my home office with the right equipment and ergonomics has helped me avoid unnecessary strains and work-related injuries (carpel tunnel anyone? Neck pain?), and it’s also made me much more productive. I wish I had switched earlier! However, even if you’re not ready to invest in fancy office furniture, changing up your decor and sprucing things up a bit can make a huge difference in your productivity.
Today I’m dedicating a post that can help you transform your workspace at home into a functional home office.
This is HUGELY helpful, since having boundaries between working and home life can be really challenging when you work at home. I love knowing that all of my work can happen when I sit down in my office, and I can leave the room knowing it will stay there. I highly recommend creating a dedicated office space in your home to reduce distractions (since there WILL be some). You may have to get creative if you live in a small apartment or don’t have an extra room to spare, but if you can create a set up that you don’t have to clean up each day after work (i.e. your kitchen table), I promise you’ll be happier and more productive. When I lived in an apartment studio, my desk was in my living room but I used it ONLY for work and not a dumping ground for mail, laundry, etc.
One of the most important pieces of my home office set up is my dual monitors. Even before I invested in a nice chair and standing desk, I used two monitors. The easiest way to do this for a home office is to order a monitor and use it in tandem with your laptop. Not only do I love using two screens at once, I really love that my monitor sits up high enough that I don’t have to look down while working. If your monitor still isn’t high enough to be at your eye level, you can order monitor mounts and stands that allow you to raise and lower your monitor to eye level which helps relieve neck and shoulder pain.
If you really want to take your home office setup to the next level, two desk monitors plus your laptop will do the trick. You’ll see in the photo that I have two monitors and my macbook pro. When I worked at Goldman Sachs, I had 3-4 monitors and LOVED it.
After sitting at an old antique desk with a cane back chair for years, I KNEW I wanted a standing desk. I was training for the Boston Marathon when I was preparing to leave my job in Corporate America to work for myself, and the constant sitting left my hips and back so strained (see the photo below). Your glutes also shut off when you sit too much which can lead to other problems. I also find that I’m much more productive when I can stand, or lean, at a desk. I got the Jarvis Standing Desk by Fully and it’s been a game-changer.
The best part about is that I can adjust it from fully standing to a sitting height. I love having both options. I don’t have to worry about my plugs and monitors either, since the Jarvis has a cable management place to store cords so they don’t get caught or stretched. (But I still need to find a good way to hide them under the desk though. The messiness drives me nuts!)
If you’re not ready to invest in the Fully desk, there are a ton of other standing desk options at more affordable price points. Flexispot has a ton of options in the $200-$3oo range, like this standing desk. Flexispot is on Amazon too.
Here’s my old desk:
And here’s my new set-up. Look at how different my posture is! Level wrists, shoulders dropped. You can tell from the below photo that my posture is naturally SO much better with an adjustable desk since I can raise it to my height.
If you aren’t quite ready to invest in a true standing desk, these Stand Desk Convertors or a monitor stand will work great.
I also bought a Fully Capisco Chair to go with the standing desk and it’s by far my FAVORITE (and priciest, funny how that works) office purchase. It sits higher than your typical office chairs and it’s the perfect complement to an adjustable or standing height desk. The shape of the seat helps with my posture and I don’t feel the need to adjust my seat as often as I used to because it has open hips. The plus-shaped back is comfortable for backwards or even sideways sitting, if that’s your style.
You can also find many non-traditional office chairs made for standing desks online at a more affordable price point. This style chair is great for a standing desk, and it’s much more affordable.
If you’re going to go the route of a standing or adjustable desk, you need to make sure your mechanical keyboard and mouse are wireless. I especially love my wireless keyboard because I can easily turn it off when Thomas joins me at the desk ;). And I prefer the apple mouse and keyboard since I’m used to my Mac laptop keyboard which is much flatter than a traditional keyboard. I also love that it connects seamlessly to my laptop.
I keep a small two-drawer file cabinet beside my desk, and my printer sits on top. I’m always amazed at how much I use my file cabinet weekly, so keeping it right next to my desk has been great. You’ll be shocked at how cute some of the file cabinets on the market can be. Look at this one from Wayfair! I thought it was a side table at first.
Believe it or not, I didn’t get a printer until THIS YEAR. I never thought I needed one since Tommy could print whatever I needed from his office, but when my employee found out, she convinced me to get a small one for my office. Shockingly, it’s so much more efficient to print things myself so I can keep projects and contracts moving!
For some reason I thought printers were huge and took up tons of space (which I didn’t have), but you can get super small, sleek looking printers. Who knew, ha! I thought I didn’t like to print, but now that I have a printer at home, I find myself using it FAR more often than I expected. Return labels, contracts I want to mull through, files and receipts I need to keep, you name it.
A few house plants make a huge difference in the feeling of your work environment. A few plants that are simple to care for make me happy and make the office prettier. I get nearly all of my plants from The Sill, since the look great and are hard to kill!
This is KEY for me. I know this isn’t possible for everyone’s home office spaces, but if you’re trying to decide where set up your office, pick somewhere with the most sunlight that you can. I got so lucky with a gorgeous sunroom at our current house. It had windows on three sides of the room, and my living room on the fourth side, so I got sun at all hours of the day. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes for my mental health to be in a sunny space. If your office space only has one window, I highly recommend you set your desk up to face the window. The direct light will also make you look better on your Zoom calls ;).
As a content creator, I also keep a ring light at my desk to create an even BETTER lighting situation, and I love it. If your office set up does not have natural light, a ring light will help a ton for Zoom calls. Just don’t leave it on for too long or you’ll get a headache.
This is totally preference, and your space may not accommodate room for additional seating, but I’ve personally loved having a small sofa in my office. It’s often the place I keep packages I need to send, things I’m planning to return, or things I need a few extra days to get to. I like knowing that there’s an extra spot to keep things in my office, but out of the way of my desk. I also love having Thomas join me in the office and he loves climbing on it!
I also love having art in my office. It makes my space feel personalized and happy, and it also helps blend my home style with my office. All of the pieces I have are something personal that I bought or was gifted, but that there are really pretty pieces of art online at Etsy, Minted, or even your favorite photographer’s print shop.
These aren’t necessarily an office set up item, but I have to include them in this post. If you work in front of a computer all day, invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses. They help reduce headaches and eye strain which will make you SO much happier long term. If you already wear glasses, you can get a prescription that also blocks blue light. And if you don’t need a prescription, you can order blue light blocking glasses online almost anywhere. I love this pair from EyeBuyDirect and this more splurgy pair from Warby Parker. The ones I own are from Caddis Bixby, linked here.
You’ll also find some cute ones on Amazon!
This goes without saying, but I’ve actually struggled with our internet the entire time I’ve lived in our house. I hope our new house will have a better internet connection. You may want to add a wifi extender in your office space.
I hope these ideas help you create a productive home office that you love!
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