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How to Set Up a Work From Home Office in your Apartment

By: Justin Chaplin
March 11, 2020

It's the word that's on the top of everyone's minds: Coronavirus. The CONAVID-19 virus is here, and more and more companies are encouraging employees to work from home to limit social interaction and reduce the risk of infection.

We can all do our part to squash the potential pandemic by setting up a work from home office. Transform a corner of your apartment into a productive work environment that keeps you on top of your game.

Get your Desk Setup In Order

There is no perfect desk for your home office. It just needs to be clean and organized. Your desk should be free from clutter and tangles of cables. Focus on keeping papers and notes filed away in organizers or drawers. Your cords should also be tidy and off your desk with cable management organizers or a tidy twist tie.

Consider investing in a second monitor to optimize your workflow and increase your productivity. If your desk is too small, you can also add a small table next to your desk to expand your space. 

You can also skip the desk altogether if you're on a tight budget and need to get your home office up and running quickly. Any table should get the job done, especially one at counter height that you can stand and work from. Consider a portable mini-stepper to get in a quick workout without leaving your laptop.

The Benefits of Standing Desks

Sitting at home all day at your desk can feel exhausting, and can also be bad for your health. Sitting all day is known to increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high pressure, and stress. Look into standing desks or standing desk converters that get you off the chair and your blood flowing. Standing desk converters will come at a cheaper price and are more convenient than investing in a new standing desk.

Invest in a Quality Office Chair

A reliable, comfortable, and sturdy chair is more important than the desk. Work all day in comfort from an ergonomic chair that alleviates lower back pain. Studies have found that ergonomic office furniture reduced absenteeism, error rate, and increased productivity.

There’s no need to break the bank on a fancy home office chair. Instead, look to second-hand options on apps like LetGo and OfferUp. You can also look around on Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor for people in your area looking to get rid of their office gear.

Find the Right Location

Even small apartments can house a productive home office set-up. Choose a location that aligns with both your work and personal goals. 

Setting up shop in your kitchen could cause all-day snacking and drive down your energy and productivity. A desk in your bedroom could mean poor lighting or an insatiable desire to take a quick nap. 

Do a quick scan of your apartment to find the perfect combo of lighting, space, and privacy. Micro-apartments and efficiency apartments may pose a challenge but are still doable. Consider putting a small desk and ergonomic folding chair near a window. You can also add privacy screens and wear earbuds or a headset to create a separate space for your home office. This especially comes in handy if you have roommates that'll be home during your working hours.

Lighten Up the Room

Natural light can lighten your mood and keep you more productive. Draw in the natural lighting as much as possible and open windows to freshen up your space.

You can create the sensation of more light with lamps and additional lighting. Even a small window can help. Place a mirror directly across from the window to create the illusion of an extra window. You can also hang a crystal decor like windcatchers and lamps to scatter more light throughout your apartment.

Stylize Your Workspace

A dull workspace can make for tedious and uninspired workdays. Embrace your signature style, whether it's matte black with bronze accents or splashes of vibrant colors. Bare walls are also fine when you're on a budget. Make it minimalist and just add fresh plants and a few art prints to dress up the space. Or you can go full hobby-lobby. The choice is yours!

Tips for Working from Home

Working from home is a dream for many, but poses some challenges once it becomes a reality. It's not always easy to focus and stay productive when your cozy refuge is wrapping you in sunshine. Plus, all your coworkers are now your furry friends or the roommate who wants to start happy hour early. 

To stay productive while working from home, focus on these pro tips.

1. Get Dressed for the Day

Working in your pajamas is fun for exactly one day. After that, you need to get up, get dressed, and look the office part. Getting dressed for success also keeps you more productive.

2. Block Off Time to Get Outside

Work is never finished when you're doing it from home. You could work all morning, afternoon, and into the evening and still not feel that everything is done. Block off time for yourself and get outdoors for fresh air and a short walk.

3. Keep Regular Working Hours

It's tempting to sleep until the late morning hours and work late to make up the time. Instead of scrambling throughout the day, set regular working hours to stay on task. Make sure you are online with the rest of your team.

4. Use the Pomodoro Technique

Distractions are a normal part of any workday, whether you're in an office building or at your apartment. Use the Pomodoro technique and focus on set tasks for a specific time period. This time management method requires setting a timer and breaking down work into intervals of 25-minutes or more followed by short breaks.

5. Over-communicate with Coworkers

Working from home could feel like a welcome reprieve from brushing shoulders with coworkers all day. Or you could miss seeing and chatting with your team every day. It's easy to feel disconnected when working remotely. Over-communicate with coworkers to ensure that you are aligned with ongoing work/projects. Consider setting up short daily video conferences where you catch up on what everyone is working on during the day.

6. Separate Work and Personal Life

Is your roommate wandering into your home office to ask where the remote is? Are you trying to play a quick game of hide and seek with your dog? Your home office needs a separation of work and personal life.

Set boundaries for yourself and treat your workday with the same respect you give your in-office job. But make sure to enjoy the ride. Working from home can feel like bliss when your commute is 10 seconds away from your desk.

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