Both my husband and I are full-time telecommuters. While I work on a freelance basis, my husband is a salaried employee with a major international technology company. Since we work from home, we both have home offices. When we first moved into this house in 2011, I set up my ‘office’ in a corner in our master bedroom. A few weeks ago that changed, though, when we converted our den into my own dedicated office space. Although I’ve worked from home for more than a decade, moving into a new space helped me realize that I was missing out on a few productivity-boosting home office must-haves.
1. All-in-one printer – We’ve always had a printer, but it used to be in a centralized location. When I moved into my own space, I moved the printer onto my desk. Not only is it more convenient, I actually am more productive now that it is here. I try to run a paperless office but I still receive print copies of contracts, receipts and other items. With the printer located right on my desk, I scan these documents on a regular basis instead of letting them stack up.
2. Computer with speakers – This may be an odd choice for a productivity-boosting home office must-have list but hear me out. In early July I heard about a website called Coffitivity. The creators of the site recorded coffeehouse sounds that website visitors can stream. The quiet mumble of the coffeehouse is known to boost productivity. Since I discovered the site, I use it everyday while I write. It helps drown out neighborhood noises without being as distracting as the news or a radio station. Coffitivity recently upgraded and now features new audio streams as well as apps for MacOS, iPhones and iPads.
3. Comfortable chair – If you’re going to be sitting in a chair for hours while you work, you might as well splurge on a comfortable chair. Think about it – if your chair is uncomfortable and your back begins to ache, are you going to focus on your work or your aching back? At the very least, the backache is going to be a distraction. In addition to my comfortable office chair, I also have a DIY treadmill desk set up in my office. I can only walk about 3 miles per hour while working and while it doesn’t replace my workout, it helps. I’ve found that I can get a lot accomplished in an hour using the treadmill desk.
4. Plants – Research proves that plants can boost productivity. Research conducted by psychologist Dr. Craig Knight reveals that plants can increase productivity by up to 32 percent when employees are given control over where the plant is placed (16 percent when they don’t get the choice). Since you’re the master of your own home office domain, you get to choose where to place your plants. In addition to boosting productivity, plants also improve air quality and can be used as a design element in your home office.
If you work-from-home, what is your favorite productivity boosting must-have?