Working from home is on the rise and has been for quite a while. According to Global Workplace Analytics, it has grown by 173% since 2005.
To put that into context, 52% of workers across the globe were working from home at least once a week, even before the world was struck by the coronavirus pandemic.
And with COVID-19 currently causing office closures across the globe, making work-from-home a necessity for the foreseeable future, it’s now more important than ever to ensure you’ve got a home office setup that helps you stay efficient and effective — a task that can be easier said than done.
Image of the Hampton Desk.
Why should you bother to set up a home office?
Whether you typically work from home under normal circumstances or you’re currently working from home due to COVID-19, there’s one critical common thread: you need to make sure you’ve got a home office setup that empowers productivity.
There are a ton of great benefits in investing the time and resources needed to create a great home office. This includes both tax benefits as well as time savings when it comes to setting up and tearing down your work gear each day.
But the most important reasons for creating a home office are to:
- Help you get into the focused headspace of a company office while working at home
- Provide you with some privacy
- Create physical and psychological separation between work and home so that when your day is over, you can still disconnect and unwind
- Keep your work tools and area organized
- Stimulate your mind and boost your productivity
- Support your physical wellbeing
Case in point: a dedicated office space in your house can help you make the most out of every workday when you’re working from home.
Image of the Walker Desk.
5 Key Considerations You Need to Account for When Setting up a Modern Home Office
Setting up a functioning home office might seem like a big task. And that’s because it is.
But here’s the silver lining. Dedicating the time and energy to do it right can pay dividends in productivity and comfort.
There are five main things you need to think about when setting up your home office.
1. Decide what you need for your home office setup
Before you go on a shopping spree, make sure you identify everything you’ll need for your home office. While the obvious things – like a desk and chair – are vital, there are other, less intuitive essentials than just those.
Consider things like:
- Computer equipment
- Extra monitors
- High-speed internet access (a fiberoptic hardwire with at least 5mps download and upload speed is ideal)
- A desk and chair
- Filing cabinets and storage
- Good lighting
- Strong cell phone service (or a hardwired landline if you get poor service)
- Voicemail service
- A network router if you have multiple computers that need to be connected to the network
- Surge protectors, since you’ll probably have more plugs than outlets
- Printers and scanners
- Backup hard drives
- A paper shredder
- Desk microphone
If you feel like this leaves you with more questions than answers, don’t worry. We’ve got some tips to help you make the right choices.
2. Choose a dedicated area in your home
Once you’ve got your list of necessities locked down, the first thing to do is choose an area of your home to transform into your office.
Knowing where you’ll set up your home office will help you with logistics, including:
- How much space you have to work with
- How many outlets you’ve got in close proximity
- The amount of light you’ll need
Whether you’ll have easy access to a hardwire, if you’ll need to get a strong router, or if you need another solution like eero
If you’ve got a full room you can dedicate, that makes life a lot easier. If not, don’t worry. There are tons of other places you can set up your home office without making it feel overwhelming.
You can even make it work in your bedroom, the family room, an underutilized closet, or a small nook in any part of your house.
With your home office setup location decided, you’re ready to start building your workspace.
Image of our Amsterdam Desk.
3. Pick your office furniture and accessories strategically
The first thing to think about when building your home office is your furniture. Not only is it the most substantial from a space perspective, it’s also the most significant in terms of functionality and comfort.
According to studies done on workplaces and productivity, your physical environment is the most significant factor in determining your ability to focus. In fact, it’s been said that a well-designed office can increase your productivity by about 20%.
So, you’ll want to make sure you have these essentials.
A workable desk space – Don’t think of picking a desk as simply purchasing a flat, elevated surface. There’s more to it than that. Treat your hunt for a desk the same way you would a car – there’s a lot that goes into it, and it’s a pretty personal process.
For instance, you’ll need to think about:
Height – The standard desk is 30 inches tall which may be fine for the average person, but less optimal for taller or shorter people.
Functionality – You have the option to choose between a stationary desk or a sit-stand desk that allows you to stand up and work if you need to stretch your legs.
Shape – The right shape of desk for you, whether a traditional rectangle, an L-shaped desk, or even a U-shaped one, will be partly determined by your space, but also the type of functionality you want from it.
Storage – You’ll need to decide whether you need a desk with built-in storage, such as shelves or drawers, which can help you maintain open, workable desk space if you have a lot of tools, gear, and paperwork.
Risers and platforms – If you have extra monitors, you might want to find a desk with an elevated platform to place them on.
And, of course, you’ll want to consider the construction and quality of your desk.
At PureModern, we carry a diverse range of premium-quality desks to accommodate any home office setup, including:
The Crafton Office Desk – If you’re looking for a desk with some extra storage space, you’ll love the Crafton. Available in three walnut veneer finishes, this contemporary desk features three pull-out drawers with a keyboard tray underneath to help you maximize your home office space.
The Walker Desk – If you’re ready to reimagine the traditional home office setup, check out the Walker Desk. Thanks to its innovative cantilever design, this wall-mounted desk is a feat of advanced engineering which appears to float outward into the room against an expansive backdrop panel.
Your desk should be both comfortable and inspiring, so take your time in choosing the one that’s going to check all your boxes.
Comfortable seating – When you’re going to spend long periods sitting down and working, there’s nothing more important than comfortable seating.
Believe it or not, 71% of office workers say their chair has caused them back pain at some point or another.
When you’re looking for an office chair, consider things like:
Height – Your chair should be easily adjustable because this is important for ergonomics (more to come about this).
Material – It’s optimal to have a chair with enough padding to be comfortable for long sittings, and you’ll also want to consider materials, such as leather versus a more breathable fabric.
Width and depth – The standard office chair seat is between 17 and 20 inches, but make sure that your seat is sized in a way that allows you to sit with your back against the backrest while still leaving two to four inches between the seat of the chair and the back of your knees.
Armrests – Ideally, the armrests of your chair should be adjustable so that you can make sure your elbows remain at the right height compared to your desk.
Swivel – While not a necessity, consider whether it’s important for you that your chair can swivel or if you’re content with a more stationary one.
Chairs come in many different designs and varying degrees of functionality. At PureModern, we offer a full range of office chairs to accommodate any preference, including:
The Vintage Avenue Office Chair – With adjustable height, a sturdy star-base, and plush button-tufted details. This is a new spin on a classic office chair.
The Toynbe Office Chair – For a more subtle esthetic, the Toynbe is a perfect choice with its wooden back, cast-iron body, contrast-stitched leather seat, and bronze-handle adjustment lever.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your office chair, so make sure you don’t cut corners or make compromises on it.
An ergonomic home office setup – Once you’ve picked your furniture, it’s time to make sure it’s set up for comfort and functionality. Taking an ergonomic approach to your home office setup will help boost your productivity while reducing muscle strains and pains.
The key points of an ergonomic workstation are:
Keeping your monitor at arm’s length away
- Placing your keyboard and mouse approximately one to two inches above your thighs (a pull-out keyboard tray is great for this)
- Ensuring your seat height keeps your wrists straight on your desk with your hands at or below elbows level
Adjusting your chair height so that your knees are nearly level with your hips
Positioning key objects, like your phone, close enough to your body to minimize overreaching
- Making sure there’s clearance for your knees, thighs, and feet under your desk
- Adding a footrest under your desk to support your feet so your knees stay at hip level, if needed
Ensuring that you have good sitting posture, as discussed in this NPR article
It’ll take some time and adjustment to make your home office setup ergonomic, but trust us – it’ll be worth it.
Tools to keep your workspace organized – According to a study conducted by Harvard, a clean and tidy work environment can lead to:
Less time wasted
There are some simple but effective tools you can use to keep your workspace organized, such as:
Muro Notepaper Roll Holder – Whether you’re taking notes for a phone call or need easy access to somewhere to jot down inspiration and ideas, this notepaper roll holder is easy, efficient, and looks good enough to take up valuable real estate on your desk.
Muro Magnetic Noteboards – Never again do you need to search through a pile of paper to find that one important note (or that great idea you jotted down on your roll holder). With these magnetic boards, you can simply pin the important items directly to your wall in an organized – and stylish – way.
The Pushboy Mini Trash Bin – For those notes or ideas that just aren’t worth keeping – or any other miscellaneous clutter on your desk – you’ll need a place to discard them. This understated trash bin will make sure even your garbage looks good.
Akto Magnetic Paperclip Holder – The problem with paperclips is, while you might not need them often, they can be tough to find when you do. With this magnetized tray, you’ll know exactly where they are when you need them.
Wires Magazine Collector – From magazines to notebooks, this elegant chrome-plated holder can help keep the surface of your desk free of unnecessary clutter, so you’ll have more room for the important desk items.
It may seem like a small thing, but a decluttered office helps stimulate a clear mind, so don’t overlook the value of keeping your home office organized.
Image of the Barrow Desk.
4. Consider your lighting needs
With your ergonomics taken care of, the next consideration in your home office setup is lighting.
The right lighting can have significant benefits to your productivity, mood, and physical comfort.
In fact, a study by the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell showed that workers seated within 10 feet of a window reported an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision symptoms.
But on the other hand, bad lighting can reduce your energy and hinder your ability to work effectively.
Ideally, you’ll want to position your desk near a source of natural light. But you should also plan to have great artificial lighting, as well.
When picking lighting, here are a few tips to follow:
Make sure that all of your light bulbs have the same color temperature to maintain consistency.
Avoid both harsh fluorescent lighting and dim lighting as they can cause eye strain and headaches.
Use overhead light sparingly and balance it out with a task light such as a table lamp.
- Incorporate soft, ambient light into the mix to help soften the harsher light that can come from solely using overhead and task lights.
Try to avoid direct light and opt instead for ways to illuminate the entire space evenly without creating undue glare and contrast, such as floor lamps bouncing light off of walls or lampshades that soften and scatter harsher light.
Consider using smart bulbs that allow you to adjust color and brightness as required.
For optimal office lighting, you might like a combination like:
The Roy Pendant Lamp – For your overhead lighting, consider a lamp like the Roy Pendant Lamp. With its subtle styling and polypropylene shade, it’ll fit seamlessly into your home office setup and provide ample light from above while softening and dispersing that light throughout the room.
The Corin Floor Lamp – With the Corin Floor Lamp, you can swivel the metallic shade to redirect light wherever you need it within your home office setup – including bouncing the light off walls or using it as additional overhead lighting. With its arched design, this lamp is also extremely space-efficient.
The Jennifer Table Lamp – For your desk, look for a versatile task light like the Jennifer Table Lamp. It’s highly adjustable so you can direct light where you need it, when you need it, making it the perfect utility light for your home office setup.
The Horace Table Lamp – If you prefer a desktop lamp that offers softened light as opposed to direct light, then something like the Horace Table Lamp might be the right one for you. With its frosted white glass shade, it can help disperse light evenly and softly throughout your office.
Finding the right balance of light for your home office setup might take a bit of trial and error, so be prepared to make tweaks and adjustments until you get it right.
5. Don’t overlook the value of greenery
Plants aren’t just a pretty addition to your office space. They provide significant, science-backed physical and psychological benefits which can be summed up in a few quick points:
According to a study by the University of Technology, Sydney, office plants caused a 37% drop in tension and anxiety, a 58% reduction in depression or dejection, a 44% decrease in anger and hostility, and a 38% reduction in fatigue
Research by the University of Exeter found that plants increased employee productivity by 15%
NASA found that low-light-requiring houseplants are extremely effective in improving indoor air quality in office spaces
So, if you were in search of dual-purpose décor, greenery is an obvious choice.
And if you’re wondering which plants to look at for your home office, your best bets are things like:
- Chinese Evergreen
- Snake Plant
With their low light and watering requirements, these plants should all be able to thrive in your home office with minimal maintenance requirements.
Many smaller plants will come in their own containers, but for larger office plants, you’ll likely need a bigger planter, such as:
The Governor Planter – For larger plants, like rubber plants, the Governor Planter is a great fit. Its fiberglass construction makes it extremely durable, while its unique design makes it a visually appealing addition to your home office setup.
The Barclay Planter – If you want something subtle and understated, the Barclay Planter is optimal. This lightweight fiberglass planter will blend seamlessly into your home office and act as a perfect contrast for your plant life.
At PureModern, we offer a wide array of planters that you can completely personalize to fit the size and esthetic of your office and your plants. If you’re unsure which one is best for you, get in touch with us, and we can help you choose.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something completely unique and outside-the-box, we’ve got something else you might love: the EcoSphere.
This amazing novelty is a completely self-contained ecosystem. Enclosed in glass, it’s entirely self-sustaining, offering the perfect balance of animal and plant life. The EcoSphere contains algae, shrimp, and micro-organisms in natural sea water. Each has an average life expectancy of 2 or more years and requires no feeding or cleaning. They have even been used by NASA.
Image of the Barrow Desk.
Modern Home Office Design
With working from home steadily on the rise and showing no signs of slowing, it’s a wise time to start thinking about how to build a home office setup that supports your productivity and comfort.
From desks and chairs to lighting, planting, and more, there’s a lot to take into consideration. But with some strategic planning, you can create a home office the helps you make the most of every workday.
If you have questions about how to select the essentials you’ll need to set up your home office, feel free to contact us and speak with one of our experts. We’re passionate about helping people find solutions that transform their spaces from blank canvases into places where they love to spend time.