For about a year now, most of us have been stuck at home, trying to cope with the pandemic—and it hasn’t been easy. But technology has helped us stay connected. It has turned our living spaces into virtual classrooms and our bedrooms into cycling studios. It’s also made working remotely much less stressful—that is, if you have enough space and know how to set up a home office.
Remote work can be especially difficult for people who are living in small apartments or sharing them with roommates or family members. Here at Asurion, we started working from home this year too, so we get it. Many of us struggled to set up makeshift desks and find a place for all our favorite devices.
Every day, Asurion Experts help millions of customers get the most out of their tech. Here are our tips for how to make a small-space home office work for you.
How to set up a home office with limited space
Find the perfect location
The easiest way to decide where to set up your workspace is to take a look around your apartment. No spare room? Find an area that’s quiet, well lit, and away from others—like a nook or even a walk-in closet. You’ll be surprised how quickly these hidden spaces in your home can turn into small offices. If you have a studio apartment, look for spots where you can add a partition, plants, or a room divider to your open floorplan. That way, you can still set boundaries—both physical and mental—when working from home.
Choose a comfortable, versatile desk chair
It’s not easy to squeeze a big, bulky office chair into a studio apartment, nor is it easy to match one with an apartment’s aesthetic. But it is important to find a chair that is ergonomic, especially if you’re going to be sitting in it for long periods of time. Look for options that have a tall backrest that will help you maintain your posture and provide support for your lower back. And to maintain the look of your apartment and save space, you might invest in a chair that tucks away easily under the desk or one you can also use sitting at the dining table. They don’t all have to roll or swivel.
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Invest in a desk that saves space
Not every apartment or home comes with a built-in desk, but there are several options you can choose from that won’t take up too much square footage.
What type of desk should I buy?
L-shaped desks are perfect for tight spaces, whether you set it up in a kitchen corner or next to the bed.
Other options for a small home office desk include writing desks, dining room tables, or even floating desks that you can mount to the wall. Just make sure your double-duty workstation is wide enough to fit your devices and the other items you use.
Work from home tips for a small office space
Add vertical storage
You may not have a ton of floor space in your apartment, but if you have bare walls, you can put them to work for your home office. Apart from using a wall-mounted desk, installing shelves above your workspace or in different parts of your home can provide much needed storage for notebooks, folders, printers, or personal shredders. You can also use floating shelves to set your laptop on when you want to stand and work.
De-clutter and hide cords
When working in a smaller space, it can be hard to keep things organized. But limiting the items in your home office to just the essentials—computer, keyboard, mouse pad—might help you be more productive. You’ll have less to worry about and more desk space to work with.
You can also simplify your workstation by hiding computer cords and electrical cables. Use a power strip to safely connect your devices and still keep things neat and tidy.
Don’t forget the printer
The copy room is no longer down the hall. And while you may not have needed a printer much when you were working at the office, that’s not always the case when you work from home. From shipping labels to pay stubs, having a wireless printer is a worthy investment. Need a place to put it? Just store it on those vertical shelves.
Best home office monitors: Should I buy one?
Do I need two monitors? If you’ve been asking yourself that question, the answer is probably yes. Depending on the size of your apartment and the desk setup you choose, a second monitor could be a welcome addition to your home office. Always have a million tabs open? An extra monitor not only provides more screen space for multiple browser windows and tabs but also makes completing tasks easier than working solely on your laptop. Another perk: It will give your home office the same feel as your traditional one.
If your employer doesn’t supply you with equipment, it may be useful to purchase the same model you were provided with in the office. If you don’t want to buy it yourself, you can easily turn your TV into a monitor by connecting an HDMI cable to it from your laptop or by broadcasting your computer display using Chromecast™ or AirPlay®.
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