Whether you absolutely love working from home or are chomping at the bit to get back to the office, having a dedicated space to work from can make all the difference between putting in a productive day or wondering where all the time went as your inbox fills up with emails.

Setting up a home office makes it easier to get yourself into a routine, to separate your work life from your home life, to stay on task and to focus on the job at hand.

When you’ve had enough with unplugging the food processor to plug in your laptop, here are five simple rules you should follow to make your new home office a place where things get done.

You need a desk

Sounds simple, right?

But surprisingly, most people who are new to working from home, work not from a desk, but from another piece of furniture they already own. The kitchen island. The dining room table. The sofa.

No. Nope. And not even close.

Your workspace needs a real desk, so if you don’t have one, get one.

  • If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room available, I highly recommend you float the desk in the center of the room (the side can be against the wall to access outlets). A floating desk creates more of that “corner office” atmosphere, whereas staring directly at the wall makes you feel like you’re stuck in a cubicle.
  • If you’re short on space, consider a wall-mounted flip-down desk.

Splurge on a comfortable chair

You don’t know how uncomfortable your current chair is until you sit in a great one. Whatever your total budget is for setting up your home office, be sure that the number one item you splurge on is a comfortable chair.

  • Alternatively, sitting on an exercise ball can be good for your posture – but if you give it a try and it doesn’t work out, buy a good chair.

The grand disappearing act

Storage is important. A very specific kind of storage, too.

The kind with drawers and doors that close – and hide all your work-related stuff away from view.

Clutter is a productivity killer and a messy workspace can put you in a bad mood.

A clear desk is a clear mind. Invest in cabinets or clear out room in the closet to make it happen.

Au naturel

Natural light and fresh air are imperative.

Study after study shows a strong correlation between sunlight in the office and happy, productive workers.

Whenever possible, situate your home office in a room bathed in natural light.

And fresh air? It’s not only loaded with oxygen to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, it’s got the power to perk you up and help keep you alert and energized throughout your workday.

Allocate space for beautiful things

Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Another way to put that is: Art is a must have for your home office.

You don’t need your spare bedroom to replicate the Louvre. You do need a few beautiful pieces that inspire you.

  • Pro Tip: Beautifully framed professional accomplishments can add extra motivational influence to the space.

Bonus tip

Consider setting business hours, just like you would at the office.

This way you can clock in and clock out, creating a clear delineation between your house and your home office. Set working hours can also be a polite cue to your children or partner to leave you in peace while you’re working. Results may vary 😊