There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when we talk about how to be productive at work. Office productivity can be affected by the tools you use, the communication channels you employ. It can be your health and it can also be the office environment where you do your work.
Most freelancers, including me, never really started as a freelancer. I worked as a call center agent and eventually became a freelancer, and therefore an office environment in the home is non-existent. I worked in a cramped space where the bed, my office table, computers and the kids' stuff are packed in a small room. My computer and monitors are placed on a used table with very little space in between them. I used a monobloc chair for seating and a fluorescent lamp for lighting.
It's your familiar home with the common furnishing fit for household use. Here's my old office setup:
We're not really looking into a fancy office setting. Just a comfortable place, where you can do your work efficiently and productively. So here are a few Office productivity tips:
The Ideal Room for your office needs to have ample space to accommodate all the stuff that you would like to setup. Personally, I prefer one that has access to a window with a scene and not just an empty space. This helps me take a few minutes to relax my eyes from the monotonous view of the computer screen. If you have a garden that can be seen from a window, you may want to consider that. The sight of green is really soothing to the eyes.
A room with huge windows that can let natural light and fresh air is a big plus.
Office chairs don't come cheap. It's one of the office furniture you have to invest in. And not just any office chair, but make sure that it's an ergonomically designed chair. Ergonomic chairs are specialized chairs that helps prevent injury and stress. Always look for an office chair with lumbar support and preferably a high back so you can rest your head when you lean back. Here's an interesting video.
Proper ventilation and air conditioning of your office has a two pronged effect on productivity. First, it gives you a more comfortable environment to work in by ensuring that it's not too hot nor too cold. And therefore, it reduces irritation from too much heat or cold. It's true that it can add additional expenses for you, but as always, prevention is better than cure. The second thing, good ventilation also helps ensure that your computers can work in their optimum performance. If you've worked in the call center, you will agree with me. Building administrators won't even budge if you request to increase the temperature, even if you are freezing, it's because of the computers and servers needs to have a well-maintained temperature.
If you've taken care of the above mentioned items, now it's time to look at your office lighting. Again, moderation is the best, so you have to make sure that your office is neither too dark nor too bright. This goes the same way with the monitor screens. You can tone down the brightness to make sure your screen doesn't cause any irritation when you read. A curtain or blinds may also be helpful to ensure that natural light is controlled. For more informative articles about lighting ergonomics, you can check out the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website.
If you want to maximize your productivity, start looking at your office setup and see how your office impacts the work you do. If you need to invest in some office equipment, do it. It doesn't have to be expensive to be comfortable. But always keep in mind the durability vs price of what you're investing in. If you can work comfortably, productivity will follow.