Great Ways to Organize your Remote Workspace
Working from home has had a bit of a renaissance. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 70% of full-time employees worked remotely. Post Covid, a Global Workplace Analytics survey reports, a whopping 92% of respondents expect to work from home at least one day a week. And by 2025, an estimated 36.2 million Americans (22% of the workforce) will work remotely.
What do we love so much about working from home? Surprisingly, it’s not what you think. Pre-pandemic, many skeptical managers worried about employees slacking off while telecommuting. But studies show working from home actually increases productivity.
With no commute, fewer distractions (Jim and Pam, anyone?), and improved work-life balance, remote workers find themselves more engaged and focused during core business hours. Experts predict the work from home boom will boost U.S. productivity by 5%.
Clearly, working from home is here for the long term. But Wi-Fi and conference calls at the kitchen table do not a home office make. Whether your work model is fully remote or hybrid, you need a home office that supports your career goals. Here are some mDesign tips and products that’ll make your home workspace everything you need it to be.
We love a good declutter/purge session, and the home office is no exception. The first step towards a great home office is sorting through stacks of old files, papers, and miscellaneous items and throwing them out.
Once you clear out office clutter, don’t let it back into your workspace! In most homes, space is at a premium and a newly decluttered room has a way of attracting bags of Christmas decorations and boxes of clothing for charity.
Put your foot down and refuse to let your home office become a storage room. It’s hard to do your best work when you’re surrounded by junk.
Get in the habit of putting paper in its place. File what needs to be filed, digitize what can be stored on your computer, and get rid of what you no longer need. mDesign’s 5 Liter Trash Bin keeps paper refuse contained and out of view until you’re ready to toss it for good.
Get in the Zone
Now that you can actually see your desk, be strategic about how you use your space. Experts recommend dividing your work area into zones. For example, you can create a digital zone for your computer and other devices; a reference zone for important documents and manuals; and an office supply zone for everything from legal pads to paper clips.
Zoning keeps your office organized and your supplies logically placed. But organized doesn’t have to mean boring. Try mDesign’s Desk Organizer File Holder Bins. They come in a variety of hues, so you can color code your filing system and accent your office décor.
Consider a rolling cart for office supplies, like mDesign’s 3-Tier Square Rolling Cart. Creating a mobile zone is a super-efficient way to adjust your space as your needs change. Plus, this cart’s three shelves let you make zones within a zone. Keep pens and sticky notes up top, folders and files in the middle, and larger supplies on the bottom.
Stop junk-drawers before they start with mDesign’s Expandable Home Office Drawer Organizer. The expanding tray lets you customize your desk drawers, and the compartments keep office essentials organized.
It’s time to assess how ergonomic your workspace is.
What is ergonomics? It’s the science of how the human body interacts with its work environment. As early as the 1700s doctors noticed a link between certain occupations and musculoskeletal injuries. The field of ergonomics developed to make work more efficient and less stressful on the body.
As workers moved from farms and factories to office buildings, they developed a new class of injuries, mostly from prolonged sitting. People tend to slump when sitting for hours at a time. This prevents proper vertical alignment of the head, shoulders, and back, which leads to injuries.
Sitting (or standing) in front of a desk all day doesn’t have to mean back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or eyestrain. The good thing about an ergonomically-enhanced work environment is that it not only protects against repetitive strain injuries; it also increases productivity. The more comfortable you are, the more you can focus on work.
When the pandemic started, most of us weren’t expecting to work remotely and improvised home offices without thinking about ergonomics. Let’s look at some home office ergonomic tips that’ll have you sitting pretty:
- Feet on the floor. Most back and neck pain comes from slouching. Placing your feet flat on the floor (or on a stack of books if your feet don’t reach) keeps your posture correct.
- Back it up. Invest in an office chair with lumbar support to make sure you’re sitting properly. Adjust the chair’s height so that your knees are level with your hips.
- Eyes wide open. Set your monitor at eye level and an arm’s length away. Laptop stands are a great way to raise monitors. If you have two screens, place the screen you use the most directly in front of you and the external monitor off to the side.
Home office hack: mount a shelf on the wall a few inches above and to the right or left of your monitor (we like mDesign’s Metal and Wood Wall Mount Display Shelves) and place a favorite photo there. The photo (and warm memories) will draw your eyes and body up when you’re tempted to slouch.
- Lighten up. Lighting effects everything from a room’s mood to its functionality. Fluorescent lighting doesn’t just make you look bad; it causes eye strain that makes you feel bad.
Natural light is ideal for a home office. Start by positioning your desk beside a window to maximize natural light and minimize glare. Your computer screen should be brighter than the light coming from outside.
Consider layering light to create a well-lit workspace that can be easily adjusted throughout the day (light has layers —who knew?). The three basic types of light are ambient, like the natural light that comes through your window; accent, like wall sconces or track lighting; and task, like a desk or floor lamp.
A desk lamp is a must for cloudy days when natural light isn’t enough. mDesign’s Modern Side Table is perfect for lamps. And its generously sized bottom shelf provides additional storage.
Go with the Flow
Okay— you’ve purged office clutter, zoned your workspace, and ergonomically customized your workstation. Now it’s time to fix your flow.
The best organization and storage tips mean nothing if you’re all over the place. Experts suggest moving through work projects from left to right (reverse it if you’re a leftie), as if your desk were a conveyor belt.
Put your paperwork, phone, and office supplies on the left side of your desk. Keep the right side of your workspace clear. As you complete projects, the left side empties and the right side fills up. An added bonus is the sense of accomplishment you feel when you see how much work you’ve done at the end of the day.
Take a Break
We know, it sounds crazy — you just set up the perfect home office and we’re telling you to stop working! But remember, remote work means fewer distractions and that means fewer opportunities to take a break from the negative effects of screens and sitting.
For screen-weary eyes, the American Academy of Ophthalmology® recommends the 20-20-20 Rule: for every 20 minutes you look at your screen, spend 20 seconds looking at something else 20 feet away.
For chair-weary backsides, get up and stretch! Put on some music and move. A one- or two-minute boogie break every 20 to 30 minutes gets the blood flowing and improves focus when you sit back down to work.
Ultimately, your home office is all about you.
Customize your space to your heart’s content. By keeping your home office organized, you set yourself up for productivity, accomplishment — heck, maybe even a promotion!
Lisa Langford is a Senior Copywriter at mDesign
How do you stay organized? We’d love to hear your story!
There are many ways that you can contribute and be part of our family.
Add your social media photos to our website and more! Visit mdesignhomedecor.com and learn how you can help spread the word. Get 10% off your first order when you subscribe to our email list. Plus, follow us on social media.