• Cramped and disorganized workspaces create unnecessary stress
  • Start with a clean slate and design a new workspace that creates joy
  • An optimized workspace will make work life easier and more productive
It happens all the time.

You’re on a conference call, discussing the project, working the slides and then questions start coming up from the group. You’re able to answer some but not all of the questions. Now, you’ve got some follow-up action items.

While the group continues the dialogue, you’re scrambling to look for a pen and paper to jot down the questions and tasks that you need to take care of.

Your home office is a disorganized clutter of personal and work things. But, it’s not entirely your fault. With all the fires that you’ve been putting out at work, it’s not a surprise that your desk is a total fucking mess. It reflects the chaos of your working world and personal life.

You find a random piece of junk mail and use the blank side of that to take fast notes on the things that the group brought up.

The call ends and you jump to the next web meeting and repeat the process.

Later on when you’ve gotta take action on all of your tasks, you’ve gotta search for all of those random notes and often they’re nowhere to be found. It drives you up the wall.

Your messy desk and cramped working area aren’t making remote work very productive. It looks like your crazy cubicle clutter has followed you home.

The only things that are within reach and easy to find are your laptop and phone, that’s it. For everything else, you’ve gotta turn your whole desktop upside down to find anything.

It’s now at the point where it’s really starting to bug the shit outta you.

It’s time for a home office makeover.

Why A Good Home Office Setup Matters

When you work from home, whether it's one day a week or every day, your home office setup can make a big difference in how productive and happy you are.

Is your home office cluttered and cramped?

Or is it a well organized command center for ultimate focus?

If it's the former, don't worry – you're not alone. Plenty of people struggle with setting up a functional and comfortable home office. However, it’s really not that difficult to optimize your workspace.

Having a good home workspace setup does a lot of positive things for you.

Less Clutter For Less Stress

You already know how stressful and frustrating a cluttered workspace is. You’re probably living through it now. It’s those moments when you need something and it’s nowhere to be found. You’re banging your head against the wall on these little things. It triggers all sorts of frustrations and adds to your already stressful day.

However, when things are easily found, it just makes your life so much easier and you can do more with less stress.

Think of your kitchen. Most everything there is usually in the same spots. You know where to go to for what. Whether it’s the pots and pans or cups and utensils, it’s all in the spots you’d expect them to be.

Makes Work Easier

If you're like most remote workers, you spend a good chunk of your day at your little home office. And when you’re workspace is setup well, it makes working a whole lot easier. You can keep momentum even when things get fucking hard at work.

Think of your workspace like a carpenter’s woodshop or a blacksmith’s ironshop. When all of your tools are in the right place and you have ample space to work, it makes even the most challenging task much easier to do.

When you don't have the best setup for working comfortably and productively, it just makes working more of a pain in the ass.

Boosts Productivity

Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you get to avoid stressful rush hour commutes and you can just work pantless. But on the other hand, you may not have the same kind of space, layout and tools available at home like you do at the office.

Most of us have much more desk space at the office. Plus, it’s a dedicated area for working that has the layout and all the accessories you need to get shit done.

Having this same kind of setup at home will help tremendously for your productivity, even when you’re working in your PJs.

Creates Joy During Work

You know that feeling when you finish that huge task and you send it off?

That feeling of accomplishment?

That’s the joy of work. It happens when you’re in the zone and crushing it. When you get that sense of purpose and meaning from doing something that adds value to your career and your company, it just makes you feel so damn good.

When you have your own personalized home office that is set up to make you productive and kick ass, it automatically creates this sense of joy for every little task you finish.

Creating A Kickass Home Office Workspace

You don’t need to have deep pockets and a crazy big budget to spruce up your WFH office. This isn’t a kitchen or bath renovation. But, it can give you the same kind of joy and satisfaction.

You can do a full makeover without breaking the bank. It could even be free if your company allows you to expense some purchases too.

The key to a successful home office setup is to follow the mantra of “form following function” and then add some personality to it all.

Start With A Clean Slate

The first thing that you should do is to simply clean and organize your workspace. It doesn’t cost a single penny.

Remove everything from your desk and set it aside. This is quite literally starting from a clean blank space. Wipe down your desk to get rid of those coffee ring stains, dust bunnies, random hairs, snack crumbs, nail clippings and whatever gross shit that has built up there.

This could be one of the chores to do while you’re working and on the clock.

Next, go through your desk drawers, shelves and file cabinets and get rid of all the shit you don’t need anymore. If you haven’t used that thing for the past two or three years, it’s time to pitch it. This is the time to unload useless shit taking up space.

Whatever is left should be stored away in the desk drawer and taken out only when needed. And you’re when done using it, it should be put back in the same place.

Get An Extra Monitor (or two)

Your laptop and phone are the baseline for your working setup. It’s everything you need to work remotely from any place. But, this is the bare minimum and not the ideal.

We recommend adding a few items to really improve your productivity.

Working off of your laptop screen only is doable, but it can get really tedious when you have to constantly flip between programs and use keyboard shortcuts as workarounds.

This is where having an extra auxiliary monitor really pays off. When you can have two programs up and running at the same time on two different screens, you can work more easily between the two.

This is like when you’re creating a Powerpoint presentation and pulling figures from the excel spreadsheet to use in the deck. You can easily see both at the same time and then copy and paste or drag and drop things.

Check with your manager and if they’re not an asshole boss, there’s a good chance that you might be able to request an auxiliary monitor or expense one.

Be sure to set the monitor at the right distance to minimize digital eye strain.

Eliminate Desktop Cables & Go Wireless

Cables are so yesterday. You need to get a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Not only will this eliminate wire clutter, but it will also allow you to move your laptop further away and use it next to your auxiliary monitor at the same distance. This opens up the space on your desk.

Not having to see or deal with wires on your active desk working area makes a huge difference. Without wires, you can easily move your wireless mouse and keyboard out of the way for instant space for speedwriting during a conference call or meeting.

Just having more visual open space makes for a more calm desk environment. You can also apply this philosophy to your computer desktop too via digital decluttering.

Even though we know that the open space only lasts for so long before the clutter creeps in again, it’s good to have it as your baseline reference to go back to when things get out of hand.

Improve Video Calls With Headset Or Webcam

This is optional and you may not need to do this.

If your laptop has decent built-in webcam, speakers and microphone, then you’re all set. However, if any of those are lacking, you might want to upgrade for better performance because it will take the stress out of Webex and Zoom meetings.

This doesn’t mean that you need to spend boatloads of money.

You can get a basic webcam that outperforms the one that came with your laptop. The same can be said for the speakers and mic by using a basic headset with a microphone boom - kinda like the ones you see sportscasters use, only much simpler and cheaper.

With the above combo, your web meetings will be so much better, not only for you, but also for others.

Get The Lighting Right

Working from home means that you’ll be on video conference calls all the time.

You’ve seen tons of examples where you just couldn’t see the other person clearly because of shitty lighting. Maybe it was too dark or too much glare.

You need to get your lighting right so that you look good. After all, you have a professional image to maintain and uphold.

You don’t need to buy expensive or fancy lighting. A simple desk lamp that you already have can work. You just need to experiment with the placement.

Just start a video meeting with your work BFF and do a real-time lighting test to see what works best.

Alternatively, you can also think about repositioning your desk to take advantage of natural lighting. Mother nature provides the best lighting around.

Create An Office Zone

A lot of our home office setups don’t have dedicated rooms. If you’re in the position of having a spare room to use as a dedicated home office, that is the best deal.

If you’re part of the masses where your home office desk is in a shared space, then it can sometimes feel like less than a true working space.

A very simple and cost effective way to create a sense of a dedicated office space is to paint the wall where your desk is facing. Having an accent wall color that is different than the other three walls gives a sense of a dedicated office zone.

Find a color and tone that makes you smile and works for the space.

If painting isn’t an option, you can create pseudo boundaries using a file cabinet, desk extension, low maintenance plants or an area rug.

The aim here is to create a sense of separation and purpose for that space.

Add Some Happiness & Joy

Adding some little sentimental things to your desk is a great way to give yourself some positive vibes throughout the day. The rule here is that it shouldn’t take up a lot of space. Keep it to one or two small items.

If you can, use digital versions of those sentimental items and display them as your rotating desktop wallpaper. This is a great little hack to save space and trigger happiness while working.

Or, if you have the wall space, you can hang stuff up on the wall.

Or, maybe add a bookshelf or two for more storage and space for fun stuff.

Just don’t let it get out of hand. Keep it to only the things that really matter.

You can also try moving your desk to another room or area with a view outside. Just being able to see something besides the four walls can really help.

In fact, if you can have a view of some nature, it can really help offset mental stresses from work. This study from the University of Essex in the UK shows that viewing nature helps you recover from stressors faster.

Take Your Home Office To The Next Level

When you’re spending more time working from home, you need to have a home office setup that can work with you, not against you. It needs to be a workspace that is functional and has the flexibility to serve both your work and personal life.

Your current setup may have been okay up until now, but you know that it’s not gonna cut it for the long term.

It’s time to do a full reset of your workspace and set it up so that it will make your work life easier and more productive - that’s the killer combination.

When you’ve got your home office dialed in just right, you’ll never be caught off-guard trying to find a notepad or having to dig through piles of clutter to get what you need. It’ll definitely make managing work stress much easier too.

It’s time to ditch your WFH v1.0 and step up to v2.0.

You’ll be glad you did.

Feel Better,

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