Designing a Home Office for Productivity

These days, there is a rising trend in the number of people who work from home. In fact, a 2016 survey  reveals that about half of businesses in the United States are home-based and that 43% of Americans work remotely. And it’s not just small businesses that are doing it. Even multinational companies are hiring people who want to work from home.

Need a Job? Apple and Disney Are Looking for People Who Want to Work From Home – some employers try to rein in remote employees, two of America’s most iconic companies just posted a bunch of work-from-home roles. Apple recently posted dozens of “home advisor” customer service jobs that require troubleshooting experience, … Need a Job? Apple and Disney Are Looking for People Who Want to Work From Home –




Maybe putting up a home-based business or being a home-based employee is something you’ve been considering for some time and you’re ready to take the plunge. Whether it’ll be for entertainment or tech giants like Apple and Disney or for a local business, one thing you’d like to do is to be as efficient in your home-based job as a commercial-based one. This will be easier if you designate that one space in your home as your home office; and it has to be one that allows you to be productive.

Why you need to design for productivity

Working remotely gives you an opportunity accomplish tasks in a more comfortable environment because you’re in your home. However, a setting that’s too casual and laid back could interfere with your ability to get things done. This is why you need a space that is separate from the other normal goings-on in the house even if it’s located within.

What productive design should be

Steps to take

In creating your home office, one thing to remember is that the physical boundaries between work space and normal home space should be clear.

1. Answer these questions first

Before going about on your design, though, you need to make sure:

  • what kind of work needs to be done and tasks you will need to accomplish
  • if you’re going to have visitors and clients coming over
  • if you’re going to do collaborative work with other people
  • what materials, supplies and equipment you will need for work
  • what hours of the day will you hold office
  • if you’ll be needing special communication equipment like video conferencing and conference calls

Answering these questions will enable you to design an office that’s responsive to your occupational needs.

2. Identify the space

Decide which part of the house you’re going to use as your office. This could be the guest room that you get to use only a few days in a year or a room that’s underutilized. It doesn’t have to be very large but it has to be separate. This is important because it’s the area where all the things you need for work will be kept, away from non-work items. Even if you work from home, you still have to be mindful of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

3. Set your working hours

One of the biggest problems that home-based workers need to overcome is making a distinction between home life and work life. Adhering to a daily work schedule can help avoid this and keeps you more organized and productive.

4. Do away with distractions

Because you’re doing your own design, it might be enticing to put in items that you are not normally found in a typical office like a plasma TV or a gaming system. Don’t fall into this trap even if you think you’re strong enough to resist them during work hours. These are distractions that your home office can certainly do without.

Things to consider in developing an office design

Layout and organization

Your aim is maximum efficiency so that everything you need has to be accessible and easy to find. For this, you have to think through your storage requirements and how you are going to organize items. Then you can determine the number and size of cabinets, shelves and drawers and where to place them. If you’re short on space, you can opt for floating shelves.

When organizing your space, think about the flow of work and what items should be readily on hand. Of course, you need to consider your working style as well. If you have the tendency to create piles of paper, a paper tray for segregating documents, mail and notes would be helpful. If you work best with a clear desktop, why not designate a special drawer for papers that you need to act on?

Sure, an office should be functional but you should not sacrifice form either. It’s not a sin to put in furniture or accessories that are visually appealing to you. It would be nice to put in furniture that complements the rest of the house. When the decor of your home is traditionally themed, a home office featuring wooden flooring and furniture, with comfy chairs, would be a good match. 


While performing your duties, you will be doing a lot of reading, writing and staring at the computer screen. Thus, proper lighting is essential. In creating your office design, let in as much natural light as possible since daylight is the most balanced light source there is. Otherwise, you can have a combination of  general and task lighting installed. If your office is situated in the basement or is enclosed without windows, put in full-spectrum lights that are energy-efficient. Most of these come with dimmers and make it easy for you to control brightness.

Lights that provide yellow-case illumination is easy on the yes. Be careful of glare since this can cause eyestrain. To avoid it, never place lighting directly above a computer screen. 


In selecting office equipment, always go for quality. Nothing drags productivity down like a PC that has extremely slow processing speed or a malfunctioning printer. However, you also need to be careful in buying equipment. For instance, can you still function efficiently without that high-priced color copier? If a trip to the local business center will do, then perhaps it isn’t worth the investment. 

Keep your office phone line separate from the one your household uses. This is to ensure that your clients and people you have business deals with can always contact you. Ideally, your landline phone should also have messaging, conferencing and speaker capabilities.

No office work gets done these days without the use of a computer. When your PC bogs down, so does your productivity. It’s advisable to identify and get to know tech support teams in your area whom you can call and rely on whenever any of your technical equipment has issues.


Being busy at work doesn’t mean you have to put your well-being on the back seat. Thus, the items you have in the office should be those that are designed to promote health and safety while you’re working. Considering that you’ll be spending hours sitting, it’s worthwhile to invest in a comfortable, ergonomically designed chair. Other essentials that can help minimize physical discomfort during working hours are foot rests, an ergonomic mouse, cushioned keyboard pads and specialized stands that allow you to access the computer while standing.


It’s hard to be productive amidst a sea or noise and distractions. When designing your office space, make sure these are avoided or at least minimized. If the office is not situated in a separate room, you can make use of dividers and  portable screens to shield your work area. Alternatively, you could place rugs on top of the hardwood flooring of the surrounding areas to muffle footsteps.

Do colors matter in enhancing productivity?

Yes, because there is such as thing a color psychology. Colors have an impact on your mood and energy level. Thus, the colors you choose for your home office will have an effect on your productivity. There are no established rules, though, when it comes to choosing a color since this would depend on your taste and preference.

Blue provides a feeling of peace and relaxation. However, these are not the emotions you want to feel when you’re working or you could be sleeping on the job.

As the most dominant color in nature, green evokes comfort and freshness, and can enhance concentration. When mixed with yellow, it can make the office ambiance more vibrant.

Yellow is very eye-catching and suggests optimism and happiness. Think about the color of a smiley. But an office space that’s colored a bright yellow may be too overpowering. 

Red means vitality, passion and energy; and can bring powerful emotions. Because it is a very strong color, it’s best to used in accents only.

Subdued colors like white, beige and gray are comfortable to look at but they can be boring. When used in combination with brighter colors, however, your office space can come to life. 

Whether you’re running a business or reporting a distant employer, you’d want to do your best work. You can easily achieve this when you design your home office for productivity.

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