When working from a home office, there are several factors to consider in order to achieve maximum productivity and comfort. Your home office ergonomics, habits, and attitude are key components to your success.
It is important to set up a home office away from family common areas such as the living room or kitchen. Ideally it will have a door that you can close to reduce noise and interruptions, so a corner of a bedroom can work if there isn't another space available. Sound-canceling headphones can help to keep you focused and increase your productivity. Minimizing distractions is a must!
It is also essential to designate specific times for your work hours. Make sure to explain to your children, spouse, and friends that although you are at home, you are on the clock and are not available for errands or long phone conversations. Every interruption impacts your productivity. Working at night or during other down times, such as nap time, can lower the amount of interruptions and distractions you encounter. You should keep your desk clear of household bills, grocery lists, or other paperwork not directly related to your job.
Most home office jobs involve working at a computer, which can be uncomfortable after a long period of time. In order to avoid this, good posture is essential. Keep your knees and elbows at about 90 degrees. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your shoulders relaxed and back supported. An adjustable ergonomic chair and/or footrest can help with this. You can also adjust the position of your keyboard and monitor so that the keyboard is flat and at elbow level and the monitor is a little lower than eye level. This will help reduce eye and joint strain over long stretches of time.
If your job requires a lot of typing, your wrists can easily become strained. Use a light touch on the keyboard and consider using keyboard shortcuts and hot keys to minimize the number of keystrokes. Taking short breaks to stretch and change your posture will also have a positive effect. The lighting in your office is also an important factor. Lights that are too bright can cause eye strain and headaches. The lighting should be bright enough that you can see clearly, but not so bright that it creates a glare on your computer screen.
Your home office may be your workspace, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Create a space that you enjoy spending time in. Brightly colored office accessories can cheer up an otherwise drab space, and personal touches like a mousepad or screen saver using a favorite photo can accentuate the "home" in your home office. This goes a long way in boosting your mood while working. Happy workers are productive workers.
Working from home is not for everyone, and it is sometimes difficult to accomplish as much from a home office versus a traditional one outside the home. With a combination of the right home office ergonomics, work habits, and outlook, you can maximize your success.