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How to Create a More Productive Home Office

If you want to be an effective programmer, you’ll need to have a productive home office—especially now that employers all over the country are switching to a full-time remote work status. But what exactly does a productive home office look like? And how can you create one from scratch?

Choose the Right Home

Before you can plan out your home office, you need to have enough space to create one. If you’re currently living in a small apartment, your “home office” might just be a specific corner of your bed. These days, it’s easy to get approved for a home loan, so you should be able to find something affordable in your city. If you find your current area is too expensive, consider moving to a lower cost-of-living area—after all, you can work anywhere!

Your home doesn’t have to be huge, but it should have an extra room (or two) to spare. Additionally, it should be in a location that’s conducive to your work. For example, it shouldn’t be next to a noisy highway or close to potentially disruptive neighbors.

Pick the Right Room

Once you have the right home, your next task will be choosing the right room for your home office. Consider:

  • Positioning. First, think about where the room is situated compared to the rest of the home. The office should be somewhat accessible, enabling you to come and go easily if you need something from somewhere else in the house. But it should also be resistant to random walk-ins and other interruptions.
  • Size. Your home office doesn’t have to be grandiose, but it should give you plenty of room to set up your work station and still walk around a bit.
  • Noise and interruptions. Different rooms will have different exposure to noise and other interruptions. For example, you might not want to choose a home office that shares a thin wall with the kids’ playroom.
  • The view. Looking outside, even for just a few seconds, can boost your mood and help you become more productive. Consider choosing a room with a window to the outside, assuming one is available.

Invest in High-Quality Furniture

The furniture in your office can make or break your productivity—and have an impact on your health for years to come.

  • Desk. Get an office desk that gives you plenty of space to set up your workstation, which might include multiple monitors and other bulky items. You’ll also want to choose a desk that fits your workspace appropriately and is situated at the right height.
  • Chair. An ergonomic chair can make it much easier to maintain good posture, and keep you comfortable throughout the day. Don’t hesitate to spend a bit more on a chair that can support you adequately for the foreseeable future.
  • Shelves. Most of your work with be on the computer, with little to no reliance on physical books or other reference items. Still, it pays to have a bookshelf in the background—especially if you want to look good in your video meetings.

Get the Right Equipment

This should go without saying, but you shouldn’t hesitate to invest in better equipment for yourself. Getting a computer that runs a bit faster or more efficiently can instantly boost your productivity—not to mention your mood. And if you haven’t made the upgrade to multiple monitors, now’s the perfect time to do it; once you do, you’ll never want to go back.

Buy and Place Speakers

Most of us like to work with a bit of music in the background, and the right audio system can make that music even more enjoyable. Even if you typically like to work in silence, a good set of speakers can help you hear voices more clearly when you’re talking to your team. Consider investing in high-quality speakers and placing them equally throughout your workspace so you can fill it with sound.

Hang Art (and Other Sources of Inspiration)

Finally, spend some time considering what sources of inspiration you want to have throughout the office. For some people, the best investment is a piece of artwork (or multiple pieces) that can hang in a visible area of the office. For others, it’s better to have a few photos of friends and family members around. In any case, you should have something that makes you smile or sparks creativity whenever you choose to look up from your work.

Don’t expect your home office to be perfect on your first attempt to create it. You may need to spend some time making adjustments and tweaking your environment to better suit your programming. Pay attention to how your productivity and mood seem to change with each new adjustment, and continue experimenting until you find something that works.