Building a home office

If you are choosing to work from home, here is how to make it a more comfortable space

04 May 2021 / 10:26 H.

MOST of the world have been forced to work from home for the better part of a year due to the pandemic, and while almost everyone have returned to the office, a number of people have decided they want to continue working from home, either full-time or under a more flexible work schedule.

The results of a survey released last August by The UNDP Accelerator Lab Malaysia found that most Malaysian employees enjoyed the experience of working from home, with 42% of respondents claiming they saved time commuting to and from the office, and 54% reporting a better quality of life.

If you have decided that working from home is also what you want to do and have been able to make plans to do so, you may be tempted to jump online and immediately start ordering brand new furniture and office supplies. However, you should take a day or two to plan the layout and style of your new workspace.

After all, you might be spending a lot of time in this new home office and it should be a comfortable space that you enjoy working in.

Setting it up

Most people do not have an elaborate budget to furnish an entire room, so it might be better to keep things simple and just focus on the basics. You will need a room that has enough space, receives plenty of sunlight and is separate from ‘high-traffic areas’, such as the living room or kitchen, especially if you have young children at home.

Use what you have. Try to repurpose furniture or other items around the house for your new home office. Just make sure that your monitor or screen is at least an arm’s length away, and that your chair is comfortable and does not strain your back or shoulders.

Keep things organised. The key to setting up a functional home office is to add plenty of storage space. Shelves and cabinets are a must-have for files or books you need to keep handy. You should also set up containers, drawer dividers and folders to sort papers and supplies.

Personalise your space. Look around other rooms in your home to see if there are any accessories you can bring into the office to save on buying new decor. In addition, placing a few plants on shelves or tables will add brightness to the room. Succulents are a popular, low-maintenance choice for offices, although you cannot go wrong with zero-maintenance fake flowers either.

Master your time. Treat your home office like a real office. Dress up a little to help yourself get into the right mindset. Create a separation between activities that are work-related and those that are not. As much as possible, make your dedicated workspace free from distractions, leisurely activities and household responsibilities.

To reduce adding stress to your home office experience, be careful to manage your expectations, especially when it comes to productivity. The hardest part is getting into the ‘work mindset’, but once you have developed it based on a set schedule, it will be easy to maintain.

Develop a hierarchy of work tasks, target the most necessary first then work down your list. If you are unable to complete all of the work, be kind to yourself, and take a break. And then tackle it later on when you are back on the clock.

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