As much as we hate to admit it, humans judge a book by its cover. This unfortunate truth has also extended itself to remote working. Today’s book covers have gone beyond what we wear to include how we live at home. Video calls via Zoom and Skype and increased focus on remote work have changed how we are viewed by others. Our success, or lack thereof, is on full display.
A well-designed workspace reassures clients that you are successful at what you do, but it also brings another handy benefit: it improves your productivity. And you can still have fun creating a space that shows your personality without sacrificing a professional vibe.
I have worked from home for five years. Here are some design tricks that helped me gain client trust and improve my productivity while creating a place that truly feels like home.
Why Have a Professional-Looking Home Office?
Here are some key ways a professional home office benefits your work life.
19 Ways to Create a Professional Home Office
Here are some home office ideas for creating a space both you and your clients will love. You can implement them with a home office remodel or simple decorating. You may not have to spend much to accomplish your goals. It’s all about the right choices.
1. Give Yourself Enough Room
Choose a space that best suits your work needs and gives you as much space as possible to accommodate your home office equipment and furniture.
That said, you won’t need an entire room. If space is limited, you can maximize storage with wall shelving, desk drawers, and even a corner desk. Just make sure you have enough space to accommodate your home office equipment, supplies and plenty of storage to store everything away before that next video call.
As I mentioned in my article on the best home office setup, nothing is more important than staying productive. Adequate storage is a crucial component.
2. Give Yourself Privacy
Choosing a space with privacy is one of the best home office ideas because you minimize distractions. Opt for a separate room if possible. If you don’t have an entire room to work with, you can choose a quiet corner away from high-traffic areas to minimize interruptions. Remember, the right space will help you create a productive and professional atmosphere for your home office. It helps maintain focus and concentration and safeguards sensitive information that may be a part of your work.
Your workspace could be a spare bedroom, a basement, or a converted attic space. If you don’t have the luxury of a separate room, you can still create privacy in a small home office inside a shared space, such as a master bedroom. Utilize room dividers, curtains, or even loose bookshelves or built-in shelving to create a visual boundary that separates your home office desk from the rest of the room. By physically sectioning off your workspace, you create a sense of separation and privacy.
3. Choose a Quiet Area of the Home
Another important aspect of privacy in a home office is minimizing noise. Working in quiet surroundings limits distractions to you and any callers and gives you more freedom to speak freely while not disturbing other people at home. A guest room is an ideal solution because it is a seldom-used space. Also, consider using soundproofing techniques to prevent noise interference from other parts of your home. Examples include acoustic panels, thick rugs or carpets, and noise-canceling headphones.
4. Establish Boundaries
Establish boundaries at home so that people stay away to aid further in privacy and quiet and improve your concentration. It also creates a more professional tone at home during work hours to limit noise anywhere in the house.
5. Keep It Clean and Bright
A clutter-free workspace shows you your clients and coworkers you are organized. It also helps improve focus and productivity by contributing to a sense of calm and clarity. Declutter your home office desk by removing any unnecessary items. Invest in products like filing cabinets or desk drawers to keep essential documents and supplies nearby but out of sight.
6. Have Adequate Internet for the Job
Of all the home office ideas, this could be the most important. A strong and reliable internet connection helps you maintain seamless communications and complete tasks efficiently. Here are some factors to consider:
- Consider upgrading your internet plan or investing in a high-quality router.
- Position the router in a place that maximizes coverage throughout your home office space.
- Minimize interference from neighboring devices by selecting the appropriate channel on your router settings.
- Test your internet speed to ensure it meets your needs, and consider using a wired connection for computers needing a more stable connection.
7. Create a Home Office Accent Wall
Creating a home office accent wall is one of the best home office ideas for staying organized and beautifying your office in ways you and your clients will love. The wall can be behind you for easy access to tools while creating attractive scenery for clients during any calls. You won’t even need a spacious home office to do it.
Shelving or a designer pegboard can show your interior design chops or create a gallery wall to display awards, leadership-based books, and motivational sayings. It has a professional and natural look, making it a go-to choice for japandi home offices.
You may prefer your accent wall to be on another wall on the side or across the room. Wherever you put it, the wall creates an engaging focal point that helps you stay focused, organized, and motivated.
To learn more about creating an effective home office accent wall, including design tips, see my article on home office accent wall ideas.
8. Display Awards and Certifications
Whether they sit on your accent wall or are hung by themselves, displaying awards and certifications in your home office is an excellent way to create a professional atmosphere, gain client trust, and give you an edge over any competition. The accolades are proof of your achievements and expertise that instill confidence in your abilities. You also feel more professional every time you glance at your wall. All those achievements come running back, giving you juice throughout your day.
9. Invest in a Professional Ergonomic Chair
An ergonomic desk chair brings comfort and improves productivity and well-being during long work hours. You will spend the bulk of your day in a desk chair. The right design will bring you enduring comfort and reduces issues like back and neck pain to keep your productivity up.
Consider features like:
- Adjustable height capability
- Lumbar support
- Cushioned seat
- Breathable fabric
- A sturdy frame
A quality office chair also works like other home office ideas by showing your level of success, and you can do it affordably by choosing a good-looking design. Even if you decide to pay more for it, you can taper off on other elements in the room to keep costs down. A desk chair is one of the only elements a client sees.
10. Buy a Quality Desk
This is another powerful item for improving your productivity and status with clients while also giving you a workspace you will love day in, day out. A desk isn’t always noticeable on a call unless you have reflections in the room, but a quality desk still puts you on a stronger foundation while you work to instill pride and improve your performance.
The right desk should house your computer and keyboard comfortably, store go-to items, and provide enough workspace to complete the job.
You can try using a quality dining table or kitchen table in the room, but home office ideas such as standup desk designs along with a walking pad improve your concentration and blood flow for a more productive day at work.
11. Keep It Organized
One key aspect of creating a home office is staying organized. A clutter-free and well-organized workspace enhances productivity and promotes a sense of professionalism.
Some tips include:
- Decluttering your space and getting rid of any unnecessary items.
- Investing in storage solutions such as filing cabinets, shelves, and desk drawers to keep important documents and supplies within reach.
- Using desk organizers and trays to separate and categorize your stationery, cables, and other smaller items.
- Labeling folders and using color-coding systems can make it easier to find what you need quickly.
- Regularly clean and tidy your office space to maintain a pleasant and productive environment.
12. Invest in Desk Accessories
Desk accessories keep necessary items like pens and paperclips close at hand and devices properly charged. They also help you display your monitors in ways that feel best for your neck to help you maintain a productive workday.
- Desk accessories also improve the look of your home office. Choose desk organizers in sleek designs and vibrant colors to keep your workspace clutter-free and visually appealing.
- A stylish pen holder and a unique desk clock can add a touch of sophistication to your work area.
- A smartphone charger that simultaneously provides ear pods and smartwatch charging capabilities keeps all the items within easy reach and fully charged.
A quality desk mat or pad helps create a more comfortable writing and typing experience while protecting your desk surface but also adds a pop of color or pattern. Whatever tools you use to organize your desk, there is a beautiful design for it.
13. Consider Your Keyboard Sound
One often overlooked aspect of a home office is the sound of your keyboard. The sound of typing can negatively impact the focus of you, your Zoom viewers, and other people in your home. Though comfort should always be a priority, the sound of the keys is something to keep in mind if you have flexibility in the type of keyboards you like. A silicone keyboard cover and desk pad can help dampen the sound of typing on a regular keyboard.
14. Rethink the Position of Your Camera
Your camera position is crucial when setting up a home office. Place your camera at eye level or slightly above eye level, and do your best to position it to ensure eye contact with the viewer during your call. Avoid placing it too low because it may look awkward and make you look less professional and authoritative.
Test the camera while you type to see if it wiggles the screen. You may need to reposition the camera or set it on a different surface for more stability. Also, make sure you have good lighting that illuminates your face and eliminates shadows. If you don’t have a bright home office, a ring light can do the trick, but utilize natural light as much as possible.
15. Consider a Second Monitor
A second monitor improves productivity and efficiency by letting you easily switch between tabs and windows during your workday. It helps you keep websites and documents easily viewable during a video call.
16. Create a Beautiful Workspace
You can design your home office in an endless range of ways. You can even follow basic styles as a guide in your searches (traditional, modern, minimalist, chic, etc.) Check out my article on home office accent wall ideas for a few tips on home office design styles.
17. Using Color to Your Advantage
When setting up your home office, consider utilizing neutral colors and natural materials for a clean and sophisticated aesthetic, such as whites, greys, tans, or soft tones. It will create a more calm workspace and an ideal backdrop for anything you put on it. If you like, add a few stronger colors to add vibrancy and energy to your home office, making it a more inspiring and inviting space to work in. Blue and green walls work especially well in home offices. You won’t need much color. Accessory items, accent walls, art, pillows, drapery, rugs, and desk organizers all work as effective sources for pop. A little touch of color goes a long way in creating a professional and enjoyable home office environment.
18. Add Plants
One way to create a professional office is to incorporate green plants into your workspace. I have also found that plants increase productivity and well-being.
Studies have shown that having plants in your workspace can reduce stress levels, increase focus and creativity, and improve indoor air quality. I found all of this to be true, and overall I felt more grounded during my day, which helped with productivity.
If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. You can make life easy by choosing low-maintenance plants that thrive in indoor environments and limited natural light, such as succulents and “mother-in-law’s tongue.” Place them near your desk or on an accent wall or plant stand to create a calm and refreshing atmosphere. The vibrant green color also adds a pop of color and visual interest to your workspace, and it works for any interior design style.
19. Make it Personal
Part of the benefits of a home office is simultaneously showing your achievements, taste, and personality, so have fun with it! Include items you love to show you are a human being while making your home office a place you love to be in.
Do you have interesting hobbies, artistic talent, book collections, or antiques? Then consider putting them up. Just keep in mind that not all items project professionalism. For instance, that stuffed animal or action figure collection may be better displayed on another wall.
Now Have Some Fun!
Use these home office ideas above to create a space that exudes productivity and feels fun and inviting. Browse my other bogs with home office ideas and tips to make this area of a home one of your favorite places to be.