Going Hybrid? Here’s How to Create Your Ideal Home Office

May 2, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

When the pandemic started, the home office became a necessity for creating clear lines between your work life and home life. Working from your bed became normalized and essentially created physical issues different from desk work. 

The biggest concern is that working at home blurs the lines between work and relaxation. This lack of separation can be a major source of stress, as people struggle to unwind at home when their workspace is in their sleep environment.

A woman working on her bed. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio. Source: Pexels.
A woman working on her bed. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio. Source: Pexels.

Many people have returned to office at least partially, with Gallup reporting that 59% of workers prefer a hybrid set-up. And that may be good for when you’re at the office, but what if you’re working from home? The importance of a home office becomes even more apparent in this brave new world. 

The Importance of a Home Office

Working from home requires you to have a dedicated space for yourself. A study found that many people tend not to have dedicated home offices, opting to work in communal areas or even from their beds instead. In these set-ups, up to 75% of people say that they feel discomfort from having to work there. 

A woman working in her home office. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio. Source: Pexels.
A woman working in her home office. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio. Source: Pexels.

A home office doesn’t just separate work life from home life, but it can also increase your productivity. It’s effective in creating an area solely focused on work. It reduces distractions and allows you to hyper-focus on what needs to be done.  If you need to finish different tasks, working from home improves your productivity significantly compared to office work. 

With that in mind, how can you create the perfect home office set-up?

A Room of One’s Own?

A home office doesn’t necessarily need to be its own room in the house, especially if space is limited. A quiet area in the corner of your room with a desk and a chair can be enough for that to work. What you need to ensure about your space is three important things:

  1. It’s private enough that the noise from the rest of the house won’t bother you.
  2. There is enough space for everything you need, including a decent background for potential online meetings.
  3. The bed is far enough away from it that to delineate resting and working areas. 

Using Ergonomics for Your Home Office

Make sure that your desk and chair are ergonomic and adjustable. Ergonomic chairs and desks can be bought, of course, to keep your back from slouching. 

Ergonomic desks can have their height adjusted based on needs. You can adjust the height so that you won’t be slouching while you’re using it, with the monitor as close to eye level as possible. More importantly, you can adjust the height so it can turn into a standing desk, allowing you to stretch your muscles even as you focus on work.

Woman working on a computer desk. Photo by  Anna Shvets. Source: Pexels.
Woman working on a computer desk. Photo by Anna Shvets. Source: Pexels.

But for folks who don’t necessarily have the budget for an expensive new chair or desk, you can make sure to make your home office ergonomic anyway. For desks, make sure you have enough space for your knees, and that there’s enough room for everything you need, from your mouse to your keyboard to your lamp. 

For chairs, give yourself enough lumbar support for your back. It can be anything from pillows to something customized. As long as it gives strong support, it works. You also have to make sure that your chair lets your feet and elbows rest at a 90° angle, or to have a footrest if your desk or chair isn’t adjustable. This reduces the possibility of hurting your body in a long-term capacity. 

Light Life

Another thing to consider when setting up your space is lighting. Dimly-lit offices affect your  productivity just as much as fatigue and lack of privacy. People tend to find a sense of comfort in warmly-lit areas, but work better in whiter, cooler lighting. 

If you can put your office next to the window, then do so. The natural light can be helpful in reducing the amount of stress you feel from work, and having a view of the outside can help with morale as well. 

Two lamps next to each other. Photo by 
Engin Akyurt. Source: Pexels.
Two lamps next to each other. Photo by Engin Akyurt. Source: Pexels.

What if your house has no windows that can accommodate an office? You can get a lamp that can switch between warm and cool tones depending on what you need to be productive at the moment. If you need to focus attention on work, you can easily switch to cool lighting, then switch to warmer lighting when you need to transition towards a relaxing environment.

Plants and Personalization

The best thing about home offices is how much you can personalize it in comparison to regular offices. You can adjust your workplace so that it’s all the comforting things that help you work, whether that means a burst of color or a super bare space with nothing but the essentials. 

The best suggestion for home offices are plants. Indoor plant life can increase happiness in the workplace by over 15%, enough that it makes a difference in your mood. 

Person with office plant. Photo by Jopwell. Source: Pexels.
Person with office plant. Photo by Jopwell. Source: Pexels.

But beyond that other ideas can be utilized to better use a space. Have you thought about a snack corner so you have something to munch on while you work? How about a shelf full of pictures or collectibles to give you joy? The personalization list is endless, and working from home grants you a modicum of freedom not seen in normal offices. 

Marrying Comfort and Productivity

However you might choose to go about this, whether it’s a small corner or a big room, just remember that your home office is made for comfort and productivity. And no matter what your productivity needs are, comfort takes precedence in designing your home. Look at the essentials, and then find the best ways for you from there.

Related reading: Emerging Architects Studio’s Hybrid Office Meets New Normal Work Dynamics

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