How to set up a home office you’ll want to work from

A neat home office set up. Image: Unsplash

Sarah Marinos

Posted March 18, 2020

The key elements of an organised and efficient home office, work space or study nook.

Thanks to technology like cloud-based software, higher speed internet, video conferencing, laptops and mobiles, many people can now be at the office, without being at the office.

Around two in three Australians spend part of their working week at home, getting the job done remotely and avoiding the trials of a daily commute to the office. Australia also has many home-based businesses, with nearly a million people operating from their house or apartment, according to government figures.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing more Aussies working from home, having a space you want to work from is more important than ever. Whether you've got a dedicated office or you're setting up at the kitchen bench, here are our top tips for creating a home office that works for you.

So, what are the essentials of an efficient home office?

Find the right space

If you can, set up your office in a dedicated room – not in a corner of your lounge or bedroom. Organise a space that you associate with work so when you enter that room you switch into work mode and avoid distractions. Then you can also shut the door and leave work behind at the end of the day. If you can’t have a separate room, look for a nook or corner of your home that isn’t too busy once everyone arrives home from work or school.

Start with the basics when buying furniture

You don’t necessarily need a big desk – there can be a lot of unused space on a big desk, or it becomes a dumping ground for your mail and things that you will file… eventually. A standing desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing while you work is ideal. If you have a standing desk you will spend around an hour less sitting down, according to the Heart Foundation. Why does that matter? Well, a growing body of evidence links prolonged sitting to greater risk of health issues like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke.

Your office chair should be ergonomically designed to reduce the risk of back injuries

Choose one that allows you to adjust the angle and height of the backrest, the seating position or tilt, and the armrests. Many office furniture suppliers advertise chairs suitable for casual, moderate or all-day use.

A neat desk with laptop and phone

Keep your desktop clutter-free with storage trays or racks to stay focused for around 50 per cent longer.


Let there be light

Natural light is great but a desk lamp is useful outside daylight hours or for focused tasks like writing and reading. Choose a lamp with a clear, bright light, such as an LED lamp. Look for LEDs with a high colour rendering index of 85 to 100 – this defines how realistic colours look beneath the light. Choose a lamp with a focused beam and it should be adjustable so you can direct the beam to where you need it.

Choose clever storage

A filing cabinet will keep important paperwork organised and in one place. Keep your desktop clutter-free with storage trays or racks so everything has its place and you can prioritise what needs to be dealt with first. Harvard Business Review research has found that if you work in an uncluttered space you can stay focused for around 50 per cent longer.

Decorate your home office in colours that evoke a sense of calm

Colour psychologists say soft blues encourage clear thinking, while green suggests harmony and balance because of its links to nature. All white is clean but clinical – try it combined with darker blues or greens.

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