10 easy tips to set up an inspiring home office without spending a cent

There are many challenges when it comes to working from home during the lockdown. Creating a productive workspace doesn't have to be one of them

05 April 2020 - 00:00 By Leana Schoeman
Clutter is not your friend - especially if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated space to set up your home office.
Clutter is not your friend - especially if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated space to set up your home office.
Image: Kare-Design.com

While we all dream of creating the ideal office space at home, we tend to think we just need the right room, the best chair and the most beautiful desk. But there is more to creating the perfect home workspace. 

Here are some tips we think might do the trick, no matter where you choose to settle in to earn your daily bread:

1. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Think outside the box or rather inside the box, but with a fresh, open-minded approach. Find the wasted space and dead corners in your living room or bedroom where you can create a dedicated work zone. A spacious passageway or entrance area might also do the trick.

Note: unless you have no choice, working in your bedroom is never a good plan as this should be a tech-free sanctuary, especially if you want to get a good night's sleep.

2. FIND USEFULNESS

We all have things that can be turned into something more useful — a display shelf that can become a standing desk or an ottoman that can double as a desk seat.

Keep ergonomics in mind to avoid muscular strains and fatigue. Make sure you have things at the correct height, whether you're sitting or standing. Using a pile of books to raise your screen to a comfortable height is always a good trick.

3. LET LIGHT IN

Let the light in wherever you can. If possible, set up a space close to a window or doorway where you have a view of trees and sky. Daylight is calming and is better for your eyes and mind than artificial light. It lifts your mood and creates alertness - it might even help you sleep better.

4. BLOCK OUT THE NOISE

Block out surrounding noise with a pair of headphones. Music can be a great tool to help you stay focused, as well as stimulate ideas and productivity. Create a playlist or find something you enjoy on Apple Music or Spotify. Keep the volume low to avoid adding tension, but don't hesitate to get up and dance to alleviate your mood and get the blood flowing.

5. GET AN INDOOR PLANT

We need more natural elements in our lives, especially now. Add a pot plant or a vase with flowers or green sprigs from your garden to make your space more welcoming. Herbs like rosemary or lavender stimulate your mind and calm your nerves. Growing plants inside helps to neutralise negative energy, calming the mind and filtering the air.

6. GET RID OF CLUTTER

Clutter is not your friend, especially if you don't have the luxury of a dedicated corner and have to pack away at the end of the day.

Store desk essentials in a box or jar; use bulldog clips to arrange charging cables and store them if they're not in use.

An organised environment can boost your productivity and encourage efficiency.

7. APPLY AFFIRMATIONS 

Keep positive by putting up a sign or two that cheer you up or affirm you whenever you read them. This simple project can have a huge impact on your mental state.

8. ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE

Set up a routine. Get dressed, have breakfast and get ready for work as you normally would. Boundaries are key when working from home, so take coffee and lunch breaks as usual and avoid the couch and the bed - they are not part of your work space.

9. ESTABLISH HEALTHY HABITS

Stay hydrated and keep nutritious snacks at hand. Get up every hour or so, go outside for fresh air, review your work and do some stretching if needed. Set reminders on your phone or laptop to get up regularly, to breathe and to drop your shoulders.

10. STAY IN TOUCH WITH COLLEAGUES 

Stay in touch with co-workers by setting up regular meetings on Zoom or Skype. Discuss work and weekly plans as you would normally.

This is a tricky time, but make the most of working from home. Enjoy your environment and the freedoms that come with it — after all, isn't it wonderful to skip the daily commute!