Anyone who’s ever worked from home knows that, while convenient, it can also be a struggle. Working from home can impact your efficiency, focus, and your general health—not to mention how hectic it is if your kids are in the next room! Luckily, there are always new techniques, tasks, and routines to show you how to be efficient at home, even if your home office is speckled with cereal dust and pancake syrup.
There are a lot of perks that come with the work-from-home lifestyle. The first one, of course, is that there’s no commute time—you just need to shuffle your way to your computer and you’re ready to go!
Another benefit, however, is that your workspace is yours. If you want a super sweet setup to work from (and, after hours, to game from, video chat your family from, and more), that’s something that’s in your control. You can create a comfortable space that makes your screen time a little bit more enjoyable, and put together something so seamless that it’ll actually make you more efficient.
How to prepare for extra screen time at your desk
When I assemble my home offices (as a twenty-something who moves rather a lot), I focus first on ergonomics, which you can read more about at the end of this post. Once those are settled, you get to do the fun stuff: decorations, cushions, and tech accessories. A great Epson Supertank printer that works seamlessly with your computer will make work and homework easier, cutting out all of the troubleshooting time that often comes hand in hand with wrangling the office copy machine. And the supertank feature means you won’t be regularly replacing cartridges; refilling the tanks quickly and cleanly with ink removes the worry of running out of ink just before a paper is due. (Read Shelly’s review on the Best Buy Blog of the Best Buy exclusive Epson ET-8550 shown above.)
From there, I like to focus my energy on finding the right accessories for my desk. As someone who does a lot of video work, I like to have a drawing tablet and microphone in my office as soon as I move. These are great within work hours, but do double time for hobby projects and family Zoom calls!
Similarly, a top-of-the-line webcam can be an excellent way to stand out from your peers in meetings and video chats. This MS Teams-compatible Microsoft Modern 1080p HD Webcam has a privacy shutter and indicator light, plus built-in settings that should essentially eliminate your pre-meeting setup time. (Hello, fixed focus and exposure compensation!) Paired with a wireless or wired Microsoft Modern headset, you’ll be ready to tackle every meeting in an instant.
Create mindful patterns that help you be more efficient in the office
So, how can you be more efficient through pattern-building and mindfulness?
To up your productivity in your home office, it’s important to minimize distractions. Some of the ways that we do that are physical, like having a monitor that’s at the right height or a chair with a great cushion on it. Others are routines, such as setting your Fitbit Move Alert to remind you sip some water and stretch at your desk, work to prevent future aches from distracting you.
Others still are environmental, or wellness-based. That might include using an after-work meditation session to keep you from bringing work problems to your dinner table, or taking a social break over lunch with a few colleagues on a video chat.
Be ready to make some small changes to your daily patterns and home office environment while working from home until they feel like they fit your needs—and make sure you’re open to changing them for others, too. Busy households might need more than one work-from-home setup, and tools like sound machines can help minimize distractions between them throughout the day.
Up your ergonomics for long-term home office efficiency
My work-from-home secrets are my adjustable sit-stand desk and comfortable task chair . One of the most effective ways to maintain your efficiency as the day wears on is to move around regularly, and sit-stand desks are perfect for making that transition easy and achievable.
Most of us make the mistake of splurging on a nice chair, setting it just right, and forgetting about it for years—which can actually decrease your ability to focus over time. Instead, I like to recommend that everyone working from home starts by buying an office chair with a lot of different settings and then actually using them. Try to follow the guideline of changing your position very slightly every hour or so to lessen stationary pressure points, which will hopefully increase your efficiency within just a few days. Tilt your chair seat a little further back the next time you use it, or adjust your lumbar support to be just a bit higher or lower.
Once you’ve mastered that technique, you can level up by transitioning from sitting to standing. But I don’t just mean investing in a high-quality standing desk and making the same mistake. No: to really get the most out of your day, some experts recommend that you change your seated position hourly, then switch to standing right before you think you’re going to get a sore spot.
Make your office experience seamless for the ultimate level of efficiency
My personal experiences with a sit-stand desk have been fantastic. I held out on buying one for a while because of the price tag, but I’ve been thrilled to have my desk every single day since I purchased it.
I picked out a motorized sit-stand desk, which made a big difference for me. It means that there’s enough room on my desk top to fit everything I need—from my laptop and drawing tablet to a monitor stand. The sleek design fits in well with the rest of my office, and I love that I can set different heights with memory-function buttons. Having a desk that adjusts at the touch of a button means that I can move around with every Fitbit Move Alert, every chair adjustment, and every desk height option.
Plus, with memorized heights and a hearty motor, I don’t have to interrupt my workflow in order to move around. If I feel like I need an adjustment, I can continue to read, video chat, or type as my desk moves with me. With products like sit-stand desks or MS Teams-compatible accessories, I keep more of those “transition moments” in my day on track—which helps me stay in the flow whenever I find it.
Like many things in life, a great stay-at-home office is all about routine. Be it physical ergonomics, technical smoothness, or mindful moments of meditation and movement, the trick to optimizing your workflow at home is maintaining that perfect balance.
If you’re ready to get productive in your home office, begin your search by browsing the complete home office at Best Buy.