With advances in digital technology, more and more people are now working from home. But while working from home provides a lot of opportunities and conveniences, it also brings some challenges. With limited socialization, fluid work hours, the presence of pets, roommates, and/or children, and no requirement to get dressed in “real” clothes each day, it can be easy to work all the time and/or allow work to regularly bleed into leisure time. However, there are things you can do to your work space to up your productivity and create better work/life boundaries. If the distance between your office and your bed measures in feet rather than miles, try these tips for setting yourself up for work-from-home success. Need even more advice? Here are great tips for setting up your home office!

Assign a Dedicated Space

No matter how spacious your apartment is or isn’t, make it a priority to carve out a dedicated space to be your home office. Look past the kitchen table or your favorite spot on the couch, and instead , find a place that can be dedicated to only. Ideally, this space would be a spare room with doors that close. Such an arrangement would enable you to effectively shut out distractions during work hours, but also allow you to “close up shop” and return “home” to the rest of your apartment. Unfortunately, most rentals don’t afford such extra space; so if an entire room isn’t possible, look for closets, built-ins, nooks, or corners where you can place a desk and other work-related necessities. Try to avoid your bedroom and high-traffic areas; and when possible, place your work space near the natural light to keep you from feeling boxed in all day long.

Use Pretty Storage

If your home office is part of another room or has to blend in with the rest of your apartment, use storage that is both functional and pretty to hold all of your work-related essentials. No one wants to settle down on the couch to relax at the end of the day only to see work piled up on a desk nearby. Decorative boxes, file cabinets, baskets, shelving, and other pretty accessories can help conceal supplies, electronic equipment, files, and other essentials in a way that keeps items easily accessible during work hours yet also allows them to be put away when the workday is done. Keep in mind that having pretty storage systems is only half of keeping a tidy work/living space. So that you actually use the storage you have in place, make putting items away part of your daily routine.

Let There Be Light

Light is essential in any workspace, so fill your office with a combination of light sources. Good overhead lighting can create a light and bright space to work in. If you don’t have overhead lights installed, try mounting some plug-in versions yourself or use upward pointing floor lamps to illuminate the entire room. Even with the good overhead light, still, place a task light at your workstation to limit eye strain. Look for a lamp that is both functional and decorative. Finally, whenever possible, try to expose yourself to natural light a few times a day. If your home office has a window, spend some time near it or looking out it. If that isn’t possible, take a 10-minute walk once or twice a day or take your snack break on your front porch or balcony. Research has shown that regular access to natural light during the workday can lead to better sleep and improved quality of life (source).

Add Personal Touches

Although it probably doesn’t top the perk list, one of the best things about working from home is that you can surround yourself with the things (and people!) you love the most. As such, don’t hesitate to add in decorative items that bring you joy and make you want to be at work. Inspiring artwork, photographs of friends and family, a pretty office chair, a footrest or ottoman, a speaker to play your favorite playlists, fresh plants, and even a snack cabinet filled with your favorite munchies can all help you create a home office that you truly want to work in.

Working from home has enormous benefits, but it can also prove challenging. It may be great that your commute is 30 seconds down the hall, but it might also mean that shutting down at the end of the day is practically impossible. Thankfully, some simple changes to your surroundings can help you achieve a better work/life balance. By creating a dedicated workspace, filling it with functional items you love, and finding the right lighting for all your various tasks, you are sure to create a truly effective workspace right at home!

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