The Way We Work

Full disclosure: my workspace can often be a whirlwind of sticky notes, client materials and good intentions. But I fully understand that when it gets out of control, it also gets in the way of productivity.

How can you create a home office that helps you be more productive? Here are five great tips to get you started.

1. Color

Did you know that color can affect your mood? Red has been found to stimulate eating while yellow can stimulate anxiety. To reduce stress and boost productivity, try a coat of blue — like this room from Benjamin Moore.

Blue home office - via Benjamin Moore

via Benjamin Moore

2. Comfort

Having a comfortable place to sit isn’t just great for productivity, it’s also important for your health. Bad posture due to a poor setup can lead to back, neck and shoulder problems in the future. Look for ergonomically correct furniture to help prevent injury; this diagram from Creative Space Furnishings can help.

Home office posture - via Creative Space Furnishings

via Creative Space Furnishings

3. Quiet

If you share your home with friends or family members, it’s best to pick a location that’s not in a high traffic area. This could be a forgotten corner of the basement, under the stairs or in an attic. Preferably, it should have a door that can be closed when you really need to focus — but you can also lay down some ground rules with your housemates so they understand that when you’re in your office area, you’re not to be disturbed.

A quiet space - via Calfinder

via Calfinder

4. Lighting

Ideally, locate your desk in an area that has lots of natural light. In reality, this can be difficult as the brightest places may also be the busiest. To supplement, get nonfluorescent natural light lamps at a low wattage; position them to the side — not in front of or behind — your monitor to reduce glare and help prevent eye strain. Check out this PCWorld article for some other great options.

Home office screen and lamp placement - via PCWorld

via PCWorld

5. Organization

Keep everything you need for your work within reaching distance. You shouldn’t have to get up every time you need a pen, pencil, the telephone or a file. For great storage that is also space saving, build vertically above and/or around your workstation, using shelving and containers that hide clutter.

Home office organization - via Homedit

via Homedit

Do you have a home office productivity idea to add to this this? Tell us in the comments — and make sure you follow oDesk on Pinterest for more ideas to inspire your home office space.

feature image by David Martyn Hunt (CC BY 2.0)

Melanie Feltham

Contributing Author

As the Social Media Community Manager at Upwork, Melanie Feltham works closely with the social team to engage Upwork's active social audience. Her spare time is spent walking the lakeshore near her home office in Toronto, drawing and painting wildlife, and working on passion projects–the latest, a book about misconceptions spread by popular media. Connect with her on Twitter @MelanieFeltham to find out more about… read more