Working from home has its perks. It also has its own unique set of challenges. One of the bigger points of friction is focus. With so many different distractions at arm’s reach, you can easily lose focus and squander precious time. But with a few investments, you can avoid common pitfalls and take hold of optimum productivity.
Making Productivity a Focal Point
Intuitively, you know productivity is important. But if we’re going to devote an entire article to the pursuit of increasing productivity in your home office, we should at least pause for a moment to discuss why productivity matters in a business setting. Here are a few of the top reasons:
- Increases profitability by allowing you to generate greater output in the same (or less) amount of time.
- Lowers operational costs by limiting the amount of time required to complete a task and making better use of the resources that you do use.
- Reduces waste and may actually have a positive impact on the environment.
- Reduces the risk of burnout and leads to greater job satisfaction over longer periods of time.
- Improves morale and makes you feel like you’re performing up to your standards.
- Bolsters your potential by showing others around you that you’re capable of performing at a high level
In moments of productivity, all of these factors collide to produce magnificent results. And one of the benefits of working out of a home office is that you have more control and direct influence over the mechanisms that impact productivity than you would in a traditional company office space.
4 Items You Need in Your Home Office
Regardless of your personal tastes, occupation, or limiting factors, you’ll discover that an investment in the following items will exponentially amplify your productivity. Take a look:
Sitting all day isn’t good for your back or neck. (And it’s certainly not good for your cardiovascular health.) But the effects are more than just physical. If you sit for six, eight, or 10-plus hours at a time, it eventually has a negative impact on your focus and productivity. By switching things up and sitting for half your work day and standing for the other half, you can enjoy a host of benefits.
A standing desk is, as the name suggests, a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working. It can be raised and lowered to accommodate multiple positions, heights, and styles of work. (You can sit in a standard desk chair, sit on an elevated stool, or stand.)
There are a variety of standing desk styles and formats. The most popular are:
- Sit-to-stand adapters. These are gadgets that sit on top of your desk. You can then place your computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse on the surface. It can be manually raised or lowered (while the rest of your desk stays stationary)
- Hand-cranked standup desks. These desks can be raised or lowered using a hand crank. They take a little bit of work to get up and down, but are cost-effective if you’re on a budget.
- Powered standing desks. These desks raise and lower with the push of a button. Certain ones even include programmed settings where you can adjust to a variety of heights for different people, tasks, etc.
Depending on the route you go, you can spend anywhere from $50 for a sit-to-stand adapter to upwards of $500 for the standing mechanism for a power desk.
Ergonomically Friendly Chair
Standing is nice, but you can’t do it all day. Sitting for at least half of your work day is healthy and will lead to better output and performance. And by investing in an ergonomically friendly chair, you can increase your productivity.
Searching YouTube for an ergonomically friendly chair is a good place to start. You want to look for one that can be fully customized to your body type and dimensions. Adjustable headrests, lumbar support, chair height, and armrest height are all important features to have.
Noise Canceling Headphones
One of the major challenges of working from home is consistently fighting through distractions and focusing on work. When you’re in such close proximity to family, neighbors, TV, household projects, hobbies, and chores, it’s easy to let your mind wander. One of the best ways to stay on track is to block out the outside noise – literally – with noise canceling headphones.
The term “noise canceling headphones” is sort of a catchall for a variety of products. Some common styles include wirefree earbuds, wired earbuds, wireless over-the-ear headphones, and wired over-the-ear headphones.
While everyone has their own preferred style, the absolute best option out there is the Sony WH-1000XM3. Aside from having an incredibly dull name, these headphones feature excellent noise cancelling that’s on par with leading brands like Bose. They also have really good sound and get up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge. And at $350 or less, they won’t break the bank.
Technology is often a huge distraction. (We’ve all wasted an hour scrolling through our Facebook feed or spent too much time reading headlines on our favorite news site.) But the very thing that distracts can actually be used as a tool for maximizing efficiency and productivity.
Here’s a look at some of the top productivity tools out there. (Some are free and others are paid.)
- Great for project management and team communication.
- Perfect for communicating with multiple team members in an environment that’s far less distracting than email.
- A simple and intuitive app that lets you make lists, delegate tasks, and keep track of all your daily responsibilities in one place.
Most of these tools have free versions that you can use on your own. Give them a try and see what you think.
Go Forth and Be Productive
Productivity isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it’s certainly one of the key factors in success (professionally, personally, or otherwise). Consider the four items discussed in this article and then brainstorm other things you can add to the list to supercharge your focus, efficiency, and output. With just a small investment, you can produce some powerful results!