Barnett's 7 Essential Tips to Help Make your Home Office Comfortable, Productive and Efficient

According to recent studies from furniture companies and the Washington Post, more than 60% of employees working from home don’t have a dedicated home office. Instead, most have reclaimed the dining table or kitchen table; many are working from kitchen counters, sofas, and beds; and some have wedged a student desk into a hallway or closet.

Whether your work from home workspace is a kitchen table or dining room table, that desk behind the couch, a corner of the garage, a hideaway in the attic, or a spot in the bedroom, it's important that your work from home space be comfortable and productive  --which is still true if you’re one of the lucky ones that has a dedicated home office.


Barnett Home Decor Guide to Working From Home

Remember when work from home started for everyone? It was supposed to be two weeks, then back to the office. The pandemic stretched the two-weeks into months and then almost two years. Offices closed. Downsized. Staff moved to other places. Soon we became an economy with a mobile workforce and many of us decided to just stay home and enjoy the advantages and efficiencies of working from home.

Work from Home Advantages

  • We all gained time and reduced stress when we eliminated our commute, crowds, traffic, and train schedules. According to Airtasker we save an average of 8.5 hours a week! 
  • Eliminating commutes also reduces impact on the environment.
  • Our dry-cleaning bills almost disappeared and cozy clothes became the norm.  
  • We spend less money, especially on meals during the workday since  we’re eating out less
  • We increased productivity and performance with fewer in-office distractions. A Prodoscore report showed people are 47% more productive working from home.
  • We gained more independence with a more flexible schedule
  • Between Zoom meeting and naps (shhh…don’t tell the boss), we can literally live anywhere
  • We have more time to spend with loved ones
  • We have the freedom to customize our environment (more on this below)

Of course, there is no perfect work scenario, and working from home, despite all its advantages, comes with a few drawbacks that you need to know about to avoid the problems associated with them. To make it work you need a good routine, a comfortable space, and a great seat cushion.

Work from Home Disadvantages

  • No face time with colleagues and work-friends can contribute to feelings of isolation
  • Kids can be distracting
  • Overworking is actually more common in work from home jobs
  • Establishing a routine and off-hours boundaries can be more difficult
  • Non-stop screen exposure -no commute means no break from the screen for many
  • Bad work habits like procrastination may be harder to overcome
  • Managers are calling for more Zoom meetings and teleconferencing to make up for lack of in-office oversight
  • Lack of dedicated space for working contributes to disorganization, poor ergonomics, and blurred work/life balance

Now that we’re fairly in the clear from the absolute need to stay home and work, and have the freedom to return to the office, socialize and travel again, the fact is the world of work has shifted permanently. A Gallup poll taken in 2022 indicated that more than 50% of workforce will have a hybrid work arrangement, and almost a full quarter of the working population will continue to work from home on a permanent basis.  

So, what that means for those of us whose commute is from bedroom to dining room, or kitchen table, or makeshift office is that we need to take our mental and physical comfort seriously.

That’s where Barnett Home Decor comes in. 

1. Find the right cushion so you can sit on a hard chair for eight hours.

It's difficult to concentrate on your work if your bum or your back is aching, and squirming in your seat during a zoom meeting, constantly trying to find a more comfortable position, is embarrassing and unprofessional. A good chair pad is essential for working from home, especially since most of us are working from chairs that were never intended for an eight hour shift. Many will schlock through Amazon's zillion Made in China office chair cushions, you know the ones, they're covered in thin black fabric, they're made with potentially unhealthy polyurethane foam or memory foam, and having one out strongly suggests to your guests that you may suffer from hemorrhoids. But what if there was a better alternative?


2. Use a footrest to fix the ergonomics of a chair that doesn’t have adjustable seat height

Sit in your work-from-home chair with your feet flat on the floor. Do your feet even touch the floor? Are your thighs parallel to the floor? If you answered no to either of these, or if you’re noticing pain or fatigue in the lower half of your body after working from home, you may need to add a footrest to your WFH set up. There are a variety of styles available from plastic adjustable wedges, to nice wooden steps, to inflatables, and even under-desk hammocks.  This is an investment you’ll want to take with you on your hybrid days back in the office. And if you wear high heels, you may find that you can take enough strain off your feet that you don’t need to change into slippers or discreetly take your shoes off in the middle of the day.

3. Prevent neck strain with a monitor riser

Whether you’re using a laptop or a monitor, one problem many workers have at home is neck pain or headaches from viewing their screen or monitor from the wrong angle. The top of your screen should be at eye level so you don’t have to tilt your head up or down while you’re working. You may be able to get away with a stack of thick books to bring your monitor up to eye level, but consider getting an adjustable monitor arm or riser to improve both your monitor  ergonomics and the available desk space on your work surface. Low budget options include sustainable bamboo shelves, mid-range budget opens up chic metal or glass risers, and in the $70-$120 range you can find fully adjustable monitor arm mounts that allow you to control height, angle, and even swivel from landscape to portrait orientation.

4. Reduce eye strain by giving your eyes something distant to focus on

You want to not only be comfortable, but you also want to thrive. Working from home allows a certain amount of freedom in your workspace self-expression. First, we suggest sitting in a space with some kind of view. Whether that’s facing a window or open space in your home, you’ll feel better if you can glimpse some of the world instead of a wall. And, to prevent eye strain, it’s important to occasionally shift your gaze from close-up objects like your monitor or keyboard to distant objects. To give your eyes a rest, set your home office up with a view of your backyard, or if you can't set up near a window, select an inspiring piece of art to hang on the other side of the room.

5. Prevent stress with an organized space

Once you’re comfortable, set up your space for success. Keep a tidy space and all the things you need nearby. Spend a few bucks on a phone stand, it may seem superfluous, but trust us, once you have one you'll wonder why you held out so long. Invest in an extra monitor. You and your overlords at HQ will be amazed how much a second monitor boosts your productivity. Another great stress reliever is to surround yourself with a few special functional items that make you smile, a fun coffee mug, a stapler shaped like a dragon, a watercolor memo cube, splurge on a few items that speak to your aesthetic and brighten your mood -bonus points if they double as figet gadgets to sooth ennui during frustrating phone calls or stimulate creativity during brainstorming sessions.

6. Take regular breaks

Resist the impulse to skip breaks that you would have taken if you had been in the office. Just because you're working in your sweatpants and listening to your favorite music, doesn't mean you don't need those breaks. Get up. Load the dishwasher. Take the trash out. Pet the dog. Fold the laundry. Meditate. There’s no need to feel guilty about any of this. It helps to step away from the focus of the work to allow creativity space to grow. It’s like a reboot for the brain. Many of us will think about skipping our lunch breaks since we eat whenever we're hungry while working at home. Studies from WebMD have shown that a 20-minute walk on your lunch break reduces stress, clears brain fog, improves self esteem, and makes it easier to solve problems. All things that will make your boss much happier, which of course, also has added benefits.

7. Separate your work-from-home life from your off-work life

Some things to avoid when working from home: TV, PlayStation, Alcohol. We know, it’s easy to pretend that you can catch up on a show by binging it in the background while still concentrating on your work, but be honest with yourself about how much these distractions affect your work focus. Having clear parameters for your workday are, well, paramount to WFH success. Mingling your work from home routine with your leisure activities can lead to feelings of fatigue and malaise by blurring the lines between “on-duty” and “off-duty”. Saving the entertainment and drinks for your “after work” hours will not only help you keep your work performance on point, it will also help to prevent burn-out. 

Creating a Comfortable WFH Space

An essential work from home choice. You sit all day, so this is undeniably an area that you do not want to skimp on. Typical kitchen chairs are flat and hard and relentless on the derriere. You want a chair pad that is durable, maintains its integrity and fluff, and sets a great mood in your environment with a design that reflects your sense of style. And, since you’re reducing your impact on the environment with a lack of commute, you should make choices that enhance that positive result of working from home. Barnett Home Décor’s chair pads are Made in the USA with your choice of imported or American-made fabrics, are renowned for their quality, are made with sustainable materials, superior craftmanship, and are renowned for being pretty darn comfortable.

Start with the style of chair and the size of the seat. Kitchen chairs, dining room chairs, and studen desk chairs don’t come in standard sizes, so it’s important to measure your chair first, and take into consideration the shape of the seat. Our Size Guide will show you how to measure, and you browse different style cushions for dining chairs, round bistro chairs, small tolix chairs and other styles of chairs being used in home office spaces.

Then give some thought to what kind of fabric you want to be sitting on all day. Our Brisbane Collection cushions are made with Greenguard Gold Certified fabrics for clean air quality, plus the cushions are stain resistant, are filled with long lasting latex foam fill, and will hold up to any all day, all week, or all year test and still retain its shape and fluff and comfort. Our Americana Collection has the same all day, all year quality in American-made 100% cotton fabrics.

The next choice is color and texture. From crisp Farmhouse Check printed on cotton canvas, to soft and fuzzy Chenille Rib, from vegan suede to brocade tapestry, we carry a variety of textures to help you define your space and your style. If you’re working from home in shorts, or even your underwear, be sure to request free fabric samples so you can experience how the fabric feels against your skin -Afterall, you’re going to be sitting here your whole shift. Use color to set the mood for enhanced productivity, are you motivated by invigorating reds or soothing deep blues and greens? Brisk black and grey get your headspace back in the tech sphere or sultry earth tones to fire up your chakras for creativity?

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