8 Tips for Setting Up an Efficient Home Office

8 Tips for Setting Up an Efficient Home Office

There are a lot of perks associated with work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, which is why there’s a good chance you prefer it. However, not everyone who works from home actually has an ideal environment for it—and if your home office isn’t set up right, it can be very difficult to get any work done.

But what does it even take to achieve an efficient home office? Let’s explore some ideas that should help you achieve better productivity when working from your own home.

Choose a Good Spot

Your home office should be in a quiet spot with a sufficient number of electrical outlets and plenty of natural lighting. Understandably, not everyone has the luxury to choose where they work. That said, for maximum efficiency, you want to avoid working in a loud, dimly-lit-spot that’s cluttered with extension cords. Individually, those roadblocks don’t seem like much, but they can seriously hamper your productive output over time.

Buy an Air Conditioner

Lee Kwan Yew famously said that air conditioning was one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. He wasn’t joking, either. Any workplace optimization expert will tell you that the small things matter and the climate in your room is no small thing. In a humid tropical country like the Philippines, achieving consistently high levels of work efficiency can be challenging without an air conditioner, especially if your home office is in a hot room.

Fortunately, the running costs of new aircon models are significantly lower than the ones available 10 years ago. Whether you buy a window type air conditioner or a quieter split type, make sure to look up the energy efficiency of the unit you’re purchasing.

Get an Extension Monitor

While convenient, laptops may not be ideal if you’re working from home on a full-time basis. Their screen limitations can make it tedious and inefficient to handle tasks like working on spreadsheets or reading from a separate document while typing on another.

Whether you primarily work with a laptop or with a desktop with a single monitor, make it a priority to add a second monitor to your workstation ASAP. A 2017 study found that adding a second monitor can boost your overall efficiency by an average of 42%. What’s more, a Wichita State University study found that 98% of people who have experienced a dual monitor setup preferred it for both productivity and comfort.

Dial in Your Workstation’s Ergonomics

Everyone has a different body type and preferences, making it difficult to make blanket recommendations about “proper” desk setups. However, if you experience back, neck, or wrist pains, chances are you should proactively research workstation optimizations to mitigate the issue. 

First, observe what it is you’re doing that’s causing pain or resulting in inefficiencies in your setup. From there, you can begin investing in ergonomic solutions like monitor and laptop stands, desks, chairs, and peripherals as needed to solve specific problems.

Get Enough Storage

To keep your workspace clutter-free, invest in standardized filing cabinets, shelves, or storage bins. You’ll not only find documents and supplies faster, but you’ll also create a conducive environment for focused work.

Keep It Well-Lit

If you don’t have access to natural light, at the very least, get a desk lamp that you can easily switch on and off from your chair. This will make it much easier to read documents at your desk, and it should give you a more professional appearance when you’re doing video calls. Also, proper lighting can help lessen eye strain.

Set Up Your Workday Automations

Streamline your work processes by automating tasks that you do every day. In particular, set your OS to automatically log you in to critical applications upon boot up or at the start of your work day. You should also install an email client app and create filters to better manage your emails. While setting these automations up can be a little cumbersome at first, you’ll be rewarded with more time to focus on high-priority tasks later on.

Put Down Some Ground Rules

For maximum efficiency, make it very clear, in no uncertain terms, to your roommates or family members that you do not want to be disturbed for unimportant matters when you’re working. While you’re at it, set ground rules for colleagues as well, so that they do not interrupt your personal time.

Achieve Peak Performance from the Comfort of Your Home

WFH arrangements are highly convenient, but they do come with a set of responsibilities. Regardless, even if you don’t work from home right now, you may have to in the future. The overwhelming majority of Philippine workplaces have already adopted hybrid systems, and a growing number are now offering full-time WFH. When you do start working from home, you’ll be glad to know ways to achieve better productivity and life balance within the confines of your home office.

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