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How to Set Up a Home Office With No Space

woman in small home office

Remote work has grown wildly over the last few years and many people are working from home for the first time in their lives. Although it’s wonderful to skip the commute and have constant access to snacks, working from home has its challenges too. For example, you may get distracted by chores or find it difficult to turn off your work thoughts at the end of the day. 

The biggest challenge most people face is finding the right setup for their home office. Most homeowners and renters don’t have an extra room where they can insert a desk, bright lighting and file cabinets. Just like a remote role, creating an ideal home office requires flexibility and creativity. Here’s how to create a dream home office even if you don’t have space. 

Define Your Problem

Start by asking yourself this question – what do you mean by “no space?” Sometimes, “no space” really means “no right space.” For example, “no space” could mean that you have no privacy, no way to block out distractions or there’s poor indoor lighting at home. Try finishing this statement to identify the core of your home office problem: 

I have no _____ space where I can work from home. 

Examples of adjectives you could insert here include “bright,” “quiet,” “peaceful” and “dedicated.” Once you know your ideal work environment, it will be much easier to organize a comfortable office space in your home. There are easy, cost-effective solutions for almost every challenge you may be facing. 

Two Types of Home Office

Most home offices fall into two distinct categories. Some people set aside a corner or a whole room for a dedicated, 24/7 office space. Other people choose to set up and tear down a mobile workspace each day. Both types of home office can work well, depending on your personality and the space you have available. 

For example, you can turn a spare bedroom or part of your finished basement or garage into a home office space. If you don’t want to dedicate part of your living space to a home office, you could install a floating desk or work at the kitchen table each day. Most remote workers prefer a dedicated office space, but mobile workstations often work better in small spaces.

Best Places for a Home Office

Many people work from their bedroom because that’s a private space where they can shut the door. However, combining your work and rest spaces isn’t always a good idea. If you decide to work from your bedroom, make sure your bed faces away from your desk area so you’re not thinking about work when you go to sleep. 

If you decide to work in your living area, make sure you define each space so there’s a sense of focus and separation. For example, your desk shouldn’t face distractions like the TV or the front door. You can use area rugs to separate the floor into multiple spaces. Defining different spaces throughout your home will help you intentionally use your space. 

Home Office How-to

Working from home gives you the freedom to create an office space that’s welcoming, peaceful and inspiring. Because you’re in control at home, you can make your office a place you truly love to be. There are a few important factors to consider when doing that. 

Physical Wellbeing

Working remotely can be hard on your body. Humans weren’t designed to sit still all day and squint at a bright screen. With a few adjustments, you can keep yourself feeling fresh and energized for life outside of work. Start by checking your lighting – if you don’t have access to natural light, add a bright lamp to keep you alert and protect your eyes. 

To reduce eye strain, optometrists recommend that you follow the 20-20-20 rule – look 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You can protect your back health by taking regular breaks and raising your monitor to eye level. A chair with proper back support is an important part of your home office. 

Internal Quiet

Focusing on work in your home environment can be incredibly challenging. You may hear strange noises from the other room, feel left out of family conversations or battle guilt because your sink is still full of dishes. Emotions and internal thoughts can be very distracting, but there are ways to block your triggers and improve your focus. 

Your desk should face toward a wall or window to narrow and enhance your focus. Wear noise-canceling headphones and create rituals for starting and ending work – like drinking a cup of tea or going for a walk. You can keep a note-pad nearby to write down anything you think about that’s not work-related.  

Personal Preferences

Think about your ideal work environment. What colors, sounds and textures would that include? Do you want your space to be cozy, minimal or bohemian? Even with very limited space, you can create a workspace where you love to spend time. Think about all five senses while creating this space. 

It may help you to designate some things for work and other things for personal time. For example, you may only drink a certain type of coffee when you’re working and then have tea when you’re relaxing. Scents, wall art and background noise can all help you create a peaceful work environment. 

Designing a Home Office When Options Are Limited

Your home office should support your goals for productivity, creativity and motivation. Use these tips to find the ideal location for your home office. Even in a tiny studio apartment, you can use design principles to designate a specific area for work. Being intentional with your space will help you be more present, productive and happy working from home.

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