Do you operate your design business from home full-time or commute to your office monthly?
Either way, investing in a productive workspace will help you get more done.
Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re in the midst of the world’s largest work from home experiment. With people working from home out of choice (rather than necessity), studies show 61% of current professionals prefer not to go into their workplace.
Although working in pajamas with easy access to cupboards full of snacks and comfy, lounging furniture sounds like a dream–working from home has some downsides too.
For one, it requires a heaping bucket of self-discipline and motivation. Not to mention a superhero ability to limit distractions.
But, here’s a solution.
One of the best ways to establish the right mindset for working from home is to design a conducive environment.
Today, we’ll cover five easy ways to boost your home office productivity (even if you’re strapped for space).
In an ideal scenario, we’d all have dreamy home offices equipped with large bay windows spanning views of surrounding lakes, trees, and mountains.
And solid oak doors with soundproof office walls.
But, reality is far from that.
There’s a lot going on at home for most of us. Dryer buzzes. Kiddos running around. Hungry dogs.
Some of us may even rely on a dining room to moonlight as an office during the day.
So, what’s the best way to limit distractions in your workspace?
Create spatial boundaries.
For those of you who don’t have a separate room, invest in modular office systems designed for smaller spaces, like West Elm’s Ladder Shelf Desk Set. With twelve fixed shelves for office essentials and a compact footprint, you only need one open wall to make it work.
Or, try Room & Board’s Desk with Rolling File and complementing floating wall shelves for easy storage.
Soundproof Your Space
For greater productivity without major renovations, try soundproofing your office to block physical noise.
Stary by replacing hollow-core doors. Found in many of today’s homes (because of their affordability), sound easily passes through them. Instead, swap them out for solid wood doors that will give you better sound absorption, blocking external noises on the other side of your space.
To achieve the best home office setup for productivity, don’t forget to seal your wall holes too!
Why? Gaps around outlets or ducts can increase the likelihood of hearing sounds on the other sides of your wall. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. Use all-purpose caulk to seal these holes, and you’ll reduce the amount of sound that enters your office space.
You can also damper excess noise by installing acoustic panels, which come in assorted colors and textures. Or, if your office is located in a basement, try to noise-proof your ceiling instead.
If the above options feel like too much work, start by adding rugs or white-noise reducing machines, which will always help create an instantly quieter office.
As designers, we understand the importance of creating an aesthetically pleasing space, but how often do we put ourselves on the backburner to achieve the perfect look?
A beautiful leather chair with chrome legs may win our hearts, but not our backs.
This is why shopping for office furniture that balances functionality and health is crucial.
To start, search for desks that offer a media outlet, motorized adjustable height, and a memory position control that adjusts to your working needs.
For example, The Herbert Sit and Stand desk is a straightforward, Scandinavian-style desk that adjusts to your body (instead of you adjusting to it). This desk is also constructed from natural rubberwood butcher block, so it offers a warm surface to work on.
But, if buying new office furniture stretches your budget thin, we have solutions.
First, consider a remote work stipend policy (whether you own a design firm or work under someone). This will amp up employee productivity and help alleviate the bundled costs of establishing a home workspace, like high-speed internet and office equipment.
Or, try Reseat. This company’s mission is to reduce the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills. On Reseat, you can buy used quality office furniture for much less (and sell your unwanted items too)!
Chaotic office environments will never give you the best home office setup for productivity.
So, start decluttering your space and grouping like-items together. For example, organize your fabric samples by type, vendor, or color–whichever enhances your productivity (and makes it easier for you to find what you’re looking for).
And create systems for storing client files and information (whether digital or paper-based).
Use Designer Tricks
As masters of the art of balancing texture, color, and light, we know how to make a space come to life.
Like using the best paint colors for home office productivity or buying attractive light fixtures that illuminate your workspace just right.
Part of this equation also includes adding elements of design in our home offices that inspire us.
You know, things that actually make us want to work!
Inspirational quotes, artwork, or custom-made Etsy magnet, cork, bulletin, or fabric boards for client meetings, samples, or design presentations can help.
Ready to increase your office organization and productivity?
At Gather, we help you streamline your design processes so you can spend more time designing (and less time on busy admin work). Learn more about Gather’s features here and start a FREE trial to see how Gather will save you time!
Shivani is an expert writer for Gather who covers interior design, decorating, and home improvement. She has worked as a residential interior designer for 4+ years and has extensive training in space planning, 3D renderings, 2D floorplans, whole room furnishing and décor, and color consulting. She is passionate about educating communities on industry topics and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, The Spruce, My Domaine, Domino, Martha Stewart, and Atlanta Magazine. Currently, she is also completing her residential interior design certificate from Rhode Island School of Design’s continuing education program.