Rethinking your personal workspace on a budget

It’s almost a year since we’ve shifted from traditional cubicles to the work-from-home (WFH) setup. And while some employees have returned to the office, many are still working in the comforts of their own home.

Working from home has its perks, but getting things done efficiently can be tricky. For some, it can be an “off” day or lack of motivation. But what if it’s your home office that affects your drive to work well?

A well-organized workspace helps you with your productivity and work ethic. Here are ways to customize your home office for the better even when you’re on a budget.

Desk space is the key

The desk is the focal point of your home office. After all, this is where you get your work done. The key is to focus on how your desk can help you become more productive, even when you’re not in the right mood to work.

Evaluate the type of work you do on a daily basis. This helps in figuring out how much space you need. If you prefer a spacious area to work in, clear out unnecessary items and keep only your essentials.

You can also add a desk mat to protect the surface or your workspace and to add a pop of color.

Follow where the light hits

Ever wonder why you lose focus when you’re working in a room with low lighting. It’s because our bodies react negatively to a poorly lit environment, affecting our mood and creativity.

Move your desk near the window to let the natural light in. You can also invest in a lamp that hits your face and work essentials at the right angle.

A room with good lighting helps you get things done, sharpens your focus, and can make you look good during those endless Zoom meetings.

Establish an ergonomic setup

Being over a desk makes you prone to back pain, stiff neck, numbness, headaches, to name a few. Having a poor workspace setup distracts you from your tasks and causes posture problems and several forms of pain. Because of this, setting up an ergonomic workspace is the right way to go.

To put it simply, an ergonomic workspace supports your body in a neutral position. This helps in reducing discomfort and pain.

Keep your body in tiptop condition by positioning your laptop or monitor within an arm’s length away to keep your head, neck and shoulders relaxed. You can also invest in an ergonomic chair to protect yourself from back pain.

Add easy transitions

Sitting for long periods of time can be tiring. It can also slow down your productivity level—especially during siesta hours—and cause health problems.

Your home office doesn’t have to focus on the workspace alone. It needs to have an element of movement to keep your body going (even when things are very stressful) and to maintain alertness.

The key is to tweak your workspace into an area where you can spend your personal life after signing out. You can add storage containers to keep your work essentials or purchase drawers that can be moved into the corner once work is done.

Set boundaries for work and home time

Working from home can be a source of comfort. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t have time for yourself.

The New York School of Interior Design professor Leyden Lewis recommends setting up physical and mental boundaries for your workspace. It helps you in scheduling which activities to do.

Add a rug or mat under your desk to add a “divider” between your home office and your bed. This helps create a dedicated spot for your work tasks and leisure time. If you’re not fond of rugs or mats, you can have a spare area to keep your work essentials to help your mind relax after your shift.

Have a dedicated area to settle into “work mode”

Settling into “work mode” can be tricky when you’re working from home. Sometimes, it’s not enough to wake up early and go through the motions of your routine since you might slip into your comfort zone.

You can fix this by creating a dedicated space in your room or choosing a specific area in your house to work. This helps in training your mind that you’re supposed to work in this particular space.

Your dedicated area can be a desk separated by a “divider,” study room, or even your parents’ bedroom. Having a place for work can boost your focus and get your tasks done during your shift.