Creating a functional personalized home office

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Breadcrumb Trail Links New Homes & Condos Author of the article: Jennifer Cox  •  Postmedia…

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As more people have taken to working from home, it’s increasingly become a necessity to have a designated place at home to work efficiently. Whether it’s a desk set up in a common area of the house, such as the kitchen or living room, or housed in a space all its own, a properly set up home office can help you work more efficiently.

There are some basic components every home office should have, starting with a clean surface area for a computer or laptop. “At a minimum, we need to create a desk with a couple of drawers for office supplies,” said Line Forget, a designer with SimpleSpace. “Each person is different, so ask yourself: What is going to be on the desk? What are your needs? Then you can play around with the organization.”

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Organization is key in a home office. It’s really at the crux of just how productive you are day to day. “It has been proven that our environment affects our inner state and vice versa. Therefore, it is important to have an organized space in order to have organized thoughts,” explained professional organizer Stéphanie Barabé of StéZen. “When we try to work in the middle of clutter, we find ourselves dealing with brain noise as well.” She suggested accessories to help stave away disorder, such as adding a pegboard with small containers to the wall to organize your pencils, calendars, etc.

Designer Lucie Pitt of Versa Style Design agreed. She’s a big fan of getting things away from the desk to eliminate messiness. “Move everything off the desk so you’re not distracted, and decide where these items need to go,” she said. For things you need to access several times a day, have them at arm’s length and available in open storage. Then, use wall storage for other supplies and must-haves. “Always try to eliminate procedures. You also want to tie up loose ends. A lot of my clients have old files and piles of unfinished work, and when you’re surrounded by this, you feel overwhelmed and it blocks creativity. Get all the visual clutter and archive it so you don’t feel the weight or burden of these tasks. That way, when you walk into your home office, you will get ideas and feel inspired. You don’t want to perform under stress or duress.”

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Office Versa Style
A properly set up home office can help you work more efficiently. Credit: Versa Style Design

Comfort is also a top priority. That means having a good-quality chair to sit in and an overall set up that suits your needs. “Use a comfortable and ergonomic chair to support your body for work and optimize your efficiency,” Barabé added. “Make sure it is at the right height so that your hands, arms, shoulders and neck can be relaxed. A bad position can cause tensions and long-term physical problems.”

Good lighting in your home office is essential as well. Position task lighting around your workspace to ensure you have a well-lit work area. “You can place your desk near a window to enjoy natural daylight, which you will find way more energizing than neon or LED lights,” Barabé said. “Also, reduce the light of your screen or put it in ‘eye protection mode’ with less blue light.” To avoid tiring your eyes and help you maintain optimal eye health, she follows this simple 20-20-20 rule from The Canadian Association of Optometrists: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.

Finally, integrate some decorative elements to personalize your home office. It could be as simple as adding a plant, a picture of nature or an inspiring quote to give you a sense of wellbeing and remind you to stay Zen, Barabé said. It can also be a fun place to experiment with colour. And, in the end, you’ll love walking into your home office on the daily. “Don’t be afraid of colour,” Pitt warned. “You’re not entertaining in this space – this is your space, so try something fun. Then you can have one or two walls that have something beautiful that you love, like artwork. You deserve to be happy, motivated, and inspired every time you walk into your home office.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division.

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