Designing a Minimalist Home Office in 6 Easy Steps (Updated)

April 1, 2020 11 Min Read

Are you among the millions of employees adopting remote work due to COVID-19? If so, chances are navigating your newly established home office still feels like sailing in uncharted waters.

We don’t know how long this situation will last or how many businesses will embrace remote work for longer. What we do know, however, is that organizing a productive space at home is no mean feat.

To get work done, you’ll need a clean and simple⁠ workspace that’ll help you cut down on distractions and filter out the noise. Not sure where to start? Just follow these 6 easy steps and create your home-office setup today.

🛏️ Don’t Make Your Home Office Too Cozy

The most common mistake many people make when going remote is spending too much time and energy on details.

Remember: You’re not building an all-in-one command center! You don’t need a minibar, coffee maker and workout equipment to get *real* work done. When it comes to at-home productivity, less is always more.

Sure, you might want to put together an ergonomic desk&chair combo, stock up on some snacks and hook up to a solid ISP. But your workspace should be just that: a workspace. Plain and simple.

🏃 Make Your Home Office Mobile-Friendly!

One of the cool benefits of working remotely is the ability to move around whenever (and wherever) you please.

This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a “digital nomad” and typing reports somewhere on a beach in Thailand (although, that’s always an option). It simply means you no longer have to type those reports sitting in a cramped cubicle all day.

You can introduce healthy movement into your routine by:

  • ⏲️ Setting a timer or reminder and taking short walks every 30-45 minutes
  • 🏋️ Doing a couple of sit-ups and push-ups every time you take a longer break or go to fetch some snacks from the fridge
  • 🤸🏻 Performing simple stretching exercises to keep your back in good shape

While a conventional office environment would make this difficult, your home office can successfully double as your own gym. No membership required!

🪑 Invest in a Good Chair

You can do without a fancy standing desk or a mechanical keyboard. You also don’t need smart lighting that automatically adapts to the environment. But there is one thing that no remote worker should ever compromise on: a comfortable chair.

The biggest health risk of remote work (or any kind of desk work) is back pain. Working out of an uncomfortable or unergonomic chair will not only lead to aches and pains that’ll hinder your focus, but it can also cause chronic health issues. 🙇‍♂️

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet here. Varying work setups and physical proportions make the “right chair” different for everybody. To find the one that’s right for you, you’ll have to take a few models for a spin (pun not intended).

When the quarantine’s over, be sure to pop over IKEA and see what works best for you. Remember, you’ll be spending a great chunk of your day sitting so it makes sense to be picky. Your back will thank you for it. 👍🏻

🎨 Home Office Colors Matter

Have you ever noticed how hospitals tend to have more whites, coffee shops greens and gyms reds? Well, it’s not an accident. There’s a strong correlation between colors and human psychology.

The psychological effects of different colors were established several decades ago by color psychologist Angela Wright. She broke her findings down into a commonly cited “Wright Theory” which states that:

  1. Specific hues can influence mood and behavior
  2. The psychological effects of colors are universal (culture, gender, race)
  3. Response to color schemes is influenced by personality type

“The four psychological primaries are: red, blue, yellow, and green. And they affect the body (red), the mind (blue), the emotions, the ego, and self-confidence (yellow), and the essential balance between the mind, the body, and the emotions (green).” 

So, what color should you choose for your office?

It depends on your personality type and the effect you want to achieve. For instance, hues of blue 💙 can encourage good organization and improve focus while greens 💚 are easy on the eyes and have a calming effect. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to find the perfect match fo your character.

🌿 Plants. Seriously. Plants.

With all the buzz around meditation, mindfulness and unplugging, people often overlook the simplest way to make their environment more “zen”: a friendly little plant (or several of those).

Multiple studies have found that surrounding yourself with plants has a number of health benefits like:

  • 😤 Lower blood pressure
  • 🤨 Better focus and productivity
  • 🤩 Increased job satisfaction
  • 😁 Improved mood

Still not convinced?

A well-placed plant helps filter out background noise, a common concern for all those with kids at home, and effectively cleans the air in its immediate environment. Congratulations, you just replaced a soundproofed walls, studio-quality microphone and humidifier with a single $20 purchase.

🔗 Digital Minimalism

Your home office isn’t just your desk, chair or keyboard. Even when you manage to organize your physical environment, you’ll still wrap workdays frustrated if your digital workspace is in shambles.

Many remote workers wake up to workflows that take forever to get into gear. 20 minutes of Slack followed by tinkering with Trello, scribbling down notes in Evernote and putting it all together on a Zoom call.

Sounds familiar?

No matter how minimalist your home office is, this level of chaos in your workflow can effectively kill your productivity. For that reason, you need to simplify your system as much as possible:

  • 🧩 Never use multiple tools where one would do
  • 🗂 Regularly go through your work files and organize them into appropriate folders. Trash anything that’s no longer needed
  • 💽 Two is one, and one is none. Backup your files to the cloud and keep another copy on a physical drive

💡 Final Words

‘We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.’

Sir Richard Branson

When we’re writing these words, borders around the world are closing in an effort to cope with the current situation. Whoever you are, wherever you are, please stay safe, and if possible, stay home.

⁠— Team Taskade 🐑

Before you go…here’s a handy checklist you can use to stay on track throughout the day. It comes with some extra nuggets of wisdom that’ll make your stay at home a touch more organized. 👇