The idea of working from home can be very different than the reality of it. Now that we are several weeks into the Stay-at-Home order, we know just how true that statement is from personal experience. 

Do we love the complete lack of traffic from the master bedroom to the kitchen? Absolutely. Did we imagine what a terrible co-worker our [insert pet, child or spouse name here] would be? Not so much. 

As many of us are working from home for the first time, we have been trying to find our rhythm. There are times we are underproductive, finding it difficult to stay focused among the distractions of home. Other times we are over productive and have trouble shutting off work mode now that our home and office are the same space. 

Here are our top 5 tips to refresh your home office to help boost your efficiency and establish a good workflow: 

1. Decorate your Desk 

Even if your home office is a makeshift space, creating an inspiring spot makes spending so much time there less of a chore. You don’t need to do a full renovation in order to liven up your space.  Consider putting up temporary peel-and-stick wallpaper to add a punch (this works great for the back of bookshelves too!) or hang a picture ledge to display artwork. It can be as simple as creating a corkboard filled with images and photos you love or adding some greenery in a beautiful vessel. Another sure-fire way to add a lot of personality for a little cost is to upgrade your standard office supplies. Boldly-colored staplers and pencil cups corralled on a fun display tray and patterned file folders can create a big impact. 

2. Get Comfortable 

A desk chair is truly the unsung hero of the home office. If it isn’t comfortable, you will never want to sit there so be sure to pick your chair thoughtfully. Following ergonomic rules also extend beyond your perch. Ensure your computer screen is at eye level or a little below to reduce eye fatigue. Position your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor and be sure your office set-up allows you to firmly rest your feet on the floor. 

3. Find the Light

Our biggest piece of advice: don’t recreate a corporate office cubicle at home. One of the easiest ways to achieve that is by positioning yourself near natural light. Don’t cram your desk in the darkest corner of the room. By setting up your desk by a window, it gives you more energy and a good reason to take a mini-break from your computer screen to take in the scenery. Even with great natural light, be sure to add some task lighting to your desk too. Most overhead lighting isn’t sufficient. Plus, a table lamp is another way to infuse more style into your space. 

4. Spring Clean Your Office Space

Having an overwhelming desk overrun with paper will only add to your stress level. Do a deep clean of your home office space. Take an inventory of what you have and need, then purge what you don’t. After your desk is back to tip-top shape, find a simple solution that works for you to keep the clutter at bay. We like to do a quick tidy every evening before logging off for the day by filing any loose papers, putting office supplies in their designated place, and organizing our computer desktop. It takes less than 5 minutes, but ensures that we walk into a harmonious space every morning. 

5. Get Creative with Storage

Another way to keep your office space clean is by implementing chic storage solutions. Ideally, you want to use your desk as a desk, so think of ways to move your storage off of it, but still keep things accessible. You could try wall storage, bookcases, or outfitting a nearby closet with a shelving system. Another key tip is to hide the items you don’t want to look at. Wrangle your cords by running a power strip behind your desk and use decorative bins and baskets to keep things organized and out of sight. 

It is important to be present at work and present at home. This is hard especially when the lines are blurred and the two reside under the same roof. We are here to help. Ask us a question about how to refresh your office in the comments. Or, if you have mastered your work-from-home routine, share your tips below.

Cover photo by Elms Interior Design.