If you are self-employed, a freelancer, or just enjoy working remotely there are many opportunities available in today’s job market. Yet, working from home will provide you with a set of challenges to overcome that you would never experience in a typical office setting.
The most important difference is that you are ultimately responsible for everything, there is no one to shoulder the blame for poor effort or performance, it is all on you. That is why it is so essential to design your home office to be as efficient as you can. You are making a huge trade-off by shouldering all the responsibility, but it pays off with the freedom to live your life your way.
Any serious at-home worker is going to need some form of office setup, a lot of it depends on your profession. Assuming that you will need a typical home office in regards to furniture and equipment there are many things you can incorporate in the design to make yourself a more productive employee.
You must design your office with all of your professional needs in mind, along with all of your personal needs as well. It is a bit of a struggle to find the right balance at times, but when you do find it you will find your production booming. Keep reading for some great insight on how to make your new home office comfortable, effective, and efficient even if it is in a tiny apartment.
Make Your Office A No Distraction Zone
One of the biggest killers of efficiency with anything is being distracted. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you are trying to focus on a task and keep getting someone or something bothering you, the work and efficiency are going to suffer. You need to keep this in mind the moment you decide to start designing your office. Some of the smallest details can lead to the best results, so you want to put a lot of focus on this area.
A good way to start this process is to take the time and think about all the things around your home that are distracting. You don’t want to have any extra electronic devices, like a television or game system, this day and age they are quite common.
The same thing is going to go for your smartphone; resist the temptation to use it for anything but work. If you find yourself weak you may have to just leave it in another room.
When it comes to the actual design and layout of your office, in relation to distraction, different people will require different things. A general rule of thumb is to keep things minimalist and comfortable. Style is going to be completely up to what you like, within reason of course. The biggest thing to take from this is to keep your distractions to a minimum and you will see major productivity increases.
Think Outside the Box
As you are going to be trying to set up an effective home office in an apartment, the traditional rules and normalities may not apply. Untraditional may be the theme of your new apartment home office, and you would not be the first one to do something bordering strange. The ideal spot would be if you had a spare bedroom in your apartment, but let’s face it, with rent being so expensive these days it would be rare to have so much excess space.
You may have a closet that is large enough to house a desk and office chair, or maybe your main bedroom has some extra space. A lot of self-employed people will set up dividers or curtains in a living room which will create the illusion of being alone in your very own office. It may just be an illusion, but tricking your own brain can sometimes be exactly what you need to get some serious work finished. There are a variety of options to create a separate space, it all depends on what your apartment is offering.
Think About an Extra Bedroom
Some self-employed people actually rent out apartments with extra bedrooms for this very reason. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a chance to look for a new apartment, keep this in mind.
You would basically be paying extra rent for an office every month but on a much smaller scale. This can be a very effective way to get the office space that you really need. Modern problems are going to require modern solutions, and you want to take a look at every option before deciding.
While renting an apartment with an extra bedroom may seem to be a bad way to spend your money, it depends on the individual. In some places, it really does not cost that much more to get two bedrooms instead of one, and you can justify the price pretty easily if it is making you into a better worker. It all about the worth of the extra monthly cost; if you can make more money than you are spending it makes sense to do it.
While this option is certainly not going to be for everyone looking for a home office in their apartment, in certain areas it is going to be a very viable one. It comes down to what the extra cost is worth to you in regards to your professional life. Regardless, this is an option that is at least worth considering.
Choosing the Right Colors
While it may not seem like an important aspect of your office when first deciding on it, the colors matter more than you know. Years of research have shown that different colors tend to evoke very different emotional responses from people. It is not necessarily exactly the same for everyone, but there is a general consensus that certain colors are much better for mental health and productivity. Before you start choosing the colors in your apartment office, you should hear a bit about which ones to look at, and which ones to stay clear of.
One of the best things about designing any part of your apartment or home, even the office, is that you get to pick what the color and style are going to be. This is something that needs to be considered seriously, as the wrong paint color could affect your work and force you to pay more money to change it. Colors that are known to help promote production include:
These are not the only colors to choose from by any means, but they have a proven track record of making people more effective at work. Colors like blue and green will invoke a sense of calm and relaxation, which is exactly what you need when you are going through the regular stresses of a workday
Choosing the Wrong Colors
There are various colors you are going to want to avoid, as they tend to produce the wrong emotions in the average person. You don’t want anything that is going to get you too excited, distracted, or worked up at all. Colors that are going to be a no-go in your home office will include:
- Greys and slates
- White (think sterile white)
While this is not a perfect science by any means, there is a lot of data to point towards these colors being counterproductive for an office setting. There may be some various shades of the above colors that would work well, but it is normally a safer bet to go with colors that are tried and tested to work.
Keep Your Office Clean
This part cannot be stressed enough, cleanliness and order are a top priority in any productive office setting. Clutter is yet another distraction that you need to avoid, so only bring in what you need and take stuff out immediately when you are finished with it. The less you have that will get in your way and cause you grief. Your office is meant to be a place for work and nothing else, so try to keep it that way with constant decluttering.
Clutter is not the only thing you need to keep aware of in your new home office, cleanliness and sanitation are key components to a healthy work environment. Even if you are an absolute slob in the rest of your home it will pay huge to keep your office space spic and span. Make it part of your daily office routine and you will see results right away, and you also won’t have to look at a mess while you work.
Invest in Yourself
Another very important aspect of being productive and efficient at the office is that you are comfortable, all day, in the office furniture you use. There are so many different ergonomic office chairs available these days that you owe it to yourself to invest in one. Once you feel the difference between a regular old office chair and an ergonomically designed gaming chair you will wonder how you ever worked before.
While these are mostly referred to as gaming chairs, as gamers are known for extremely long play sessions, workers around the world are starting to buy-in. A good office chair is going to give you more energy, less pain, and make you able to work longer days sitting down. For a fairly small investment, you can get yourself a chair that was designed with extreme use in mind.
We spoke to Marianne Patrick, a localization specialist that works with The Word Point — a company that offers professional translation services online. As a person who works most of her time from home, she told us that there’s nothing more important for your productivity than a comfortable chain — nada. Once you’re seated uncomfortably, you won’t be able to enter a flow state and concentrate on the task at hand.
Choose Reliable Internet Service
It is going to be difficult to do any work at all from home if you are constantly having internet interruptions or your service is slow as molasses. Everything moves at lightning speed compared to years past and you need to be able to keep up. This is no time to go with the best price you can find, you need to go with a service you can trust.
Take the time to do some research on your local service providers and find out which ones are going to give you the best bang for your buck. You are not going to need the fastest internet available, but you will need a connection you can rely on day in and day out.
Only Work in the Office
This should be the cardinal rule for every single person who ever works from home. If you are going to have a dedicated office, especially in your apartment, you must refrain from doing anything in the area that is not work-related. You want to always keep a professional atmosphere in the office and it is going to be no different when you are working at home. Keeping things serious will make sure there is no chance of other distractions from your personal life that could affect your home office.
This is going to be a little more difficult to do if you have to multi-task with your living room, but it is certainly doable. Your office space should be almost like a shrine to business and professionalism, and it is going to pay dividends if you are disciplined.
Your Apartment Office Can Happen
Since working from home is becoming a larger part of the corporate world it makes sense that the traditional home office will need a slight revamp for smaller spaces. This may pose some very unique challenges for the individual, but that is all part of the fun. Designing an office in your apartment should not be full of stress or make you uncomfortable, it should make you feel motivated and creative.
There are so many ideas you can use to make your apartment suitable to double as your workspace, it all really comes down to what is going to make you the happiest and most productive. Take your time when you start your initial designs; if you get it right the first time you are going to be bettering your career and forging ahead in life. All it takes is enough space and determination to get the job done and you can have a home office just about anywhere.