Working remotely is growing in popularity all over the world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data in 2015 showed that 24% of employees reported doing some of their work remotely, up from 19% in 2003. Personally, I love it and can’t imagine going back into an office setting. I’ve made my home office into my own little oasis, a place I feel comfortable being in for hours at a time.
Curious how others have set up their home office, I asked my colleagues at InVision to submit a photo of their workspace with a few words on why it works for them. Since we are now over 300 team members strong in 19 countries around the world, the responses varied but provided a fun peek into the lives of my amazing team. “Design makes everything possible” – Brandon Wolf, VP, User Enablement
There are three things I find important when setting up a home office: the lighting, your chair and your desk. As you’ll see below, lighting can be done in many ways while chairs and desks are not as simple as they used to be.
“I am on the road a lot for work so when I finally get to be home, I like my home office to be as peaceful and comfortable as possible. I rarely start my day without a candle lit and a hot cup of coffee.” – Michaela Alexander, Marketing Events Manager “I’m a big fan of my office. It’s connected to my bedroom so the commute is wonderful. It also has a ton of sunlight, so it really helps me enjoy the day and weather, even if I don’t step outside. Not pictured: the cat tree, where my three cats hang with me all day and look adorable.” – Lindsey Redinger (Campbell), Product Manager
Let there be light
If your office has windows, natural light is always the best way to go. According to a 2014 study at Northwest University, office workers with natural light exposure experienced better sleep, more physical activity and better quality of life. In addition, natural light keeps you alert and the sunlight helps warm your office, which makes it a more comfortable space. Beware the glare, though. Make sure your desk is situated so the light enhances your work area and doesn’t distract from it.
“I couldn’t live without the daylight or my Bluetooth speaker! My Homer Simpson Buddha on my desk reminds me to remain calm and keep a clear head, especially on intense or stressful days.” – Emily Flannery, Front-End Marketing Developer
“Working remotely gave me the ability to surround myself with windows and loads of natural light. I alternate between sitting at my dining table and standing at a desk to keep my back strong. Keeping the space clean helps me clear my head and stay focused on tasks for the day. The less distractions, the better!” – Andrew Mattock, Senior Marketing Automation Manager
“For me, an ideal work station is all about being a safe distance from the snacks in the pantry and having tons of natural light.” – Beth Vanderkolk, Support Documentation If your office has no windows, take steps to ensure the light bulbs you use are the right ones. Poor lighting can affect your mood, your quality of work, and can cause headaches if you’re straining your eyes. LED’s are far superior to the unhealthy fluorescent lights in most offices today, plus they are inexpensive to use and can last for years, meaning less landfill.
“I live in a studio apartment so space is limited. This space doubles as a desk during the day and entertainment station at night. My puppy Sis sits near my feet when she isn’t playing outside.” – Jessi Thorp, Event Program Manager
“My Colorado home office is the perfect place where chaos meets OCD organization. It’s the place that keeps me sane during the constant crazy production and planning between traveling to InVision events. I can hear the creek babbling in my backyard and my dog Grendel Pants shadows me throughout the day.” – Sadie Short, Events & Sponsorship Manager
Home office desks and chairs
When you spend 9+ hours a day working in the same space, your desk and chair matter. It’s easy to just throw a laptop on your dining table and work from there, but your productivity may suffer. Sitting on a kitchen chair isn’t so bad during dinner but after six or seven hours, your bum may protest. Having a designated area to work, and designated tools, make for a more successful experience.
“My battle station with way too many devices, gadgets, and toys.” – Jonathan Rowny, Engineer
Sitting desks are by far the most commonly used at InVision. They’re easy to find and inexpensive. There’s some debate as to if they’re the healthiest choice, as sitting for long periods of time lowers your heart rate and can lead to weight gain. Users of sitting desks tend to hunch over without knowing it, putting a terrible strain on the neck, shoulders and spine. A good chair helps with that, but it’s something to consider when deciding on what desk works for you.
“That’s my bed on the right. I wake up, roll up 90 degrees to the side, and boom, there I am in Zoom having meetings with my team.” – Steven Fabre, Product Designer “I use this office during the week with my assistant, Harley. On the weekends my partner uses it to play games. We couldn’t find a desk large enough, so we settled on an Ikea dining table.” – Sam Raphael, Customer Advocate
In recent years, the popularity of standing or stand-up desks has soared, particularly for those of us in tech. They allow you to raise or lower your workspace so you can switch between sitting and standing during your day. Studies have shown that a standing desk can reduce upper back pain by over 50%. If you already suffer from back pain and will be working from home, a standing desk may be your best bet. Studies have also shown that you are more focused and productive if you move around throughout the day, as it helps to expend energy and maintain focus.
“After years of chronic shoulder pain from working in a cube, ergonomics became top priority when building my home office. Having the option to switch between sitting and standing has alleviated my shoulder issues. I also try to surround myself with non-work things for wee breaks to help maintain focus: racing wheel for a few hot laps, my bass for jamming, and seating for my two cats who insist on being collaborators.” – Mike Waecker, Project Manager “A desk so high the cat gives up!” – Dana Lawson, VP of Engineering “This “office” is a little nook in my bedroom. It’s nice as it’s right next to the backyard, so it gets lots of light. This way I get a beautiful view (lots of hummingbirds!) and I show up well-lit on calls. I bought a beautiful desk that I love, but sadly after one week I was hit with awful lower back pain. I then decided to buy a standing desk add-on.” – Aliisa Rosenthal, Director of Enterprise Accounts
There are many types of office chairs and it can be hard to select the right one. The most important part? That it’s the correct height for the desk you’re using. Not sure what works best for you? Try this desk height calculator to determine what height will work for your desk and your home space.
“The benefit of working remote #24: feeling your music thumping in your chest instead of in your earbuds.” – Payam Rajabi, Product Designer
“I like to keep it neat and simple!” – Leslie Carillo, Support
Options for an office chair range from some that look like bicycle seats to others that are literally large exercise balls. They also range in price from $50 to well over $1,000. While it’s easy to grab whatever Costco happens to have, I encourage you to do your research. Read reviews on Amazon and Google, sit in lots of different chairs, swivel around, and adjust the height and arm rests until you find the one that suits you perfectly.
“When I joined InVision, I wanted to work as comfortably as possible. I can’t sit all day without some pain so I alternate between sitting and standing. I’m starting to stand more and more, and find it helps me to prioritize stretching throughout the day. When transitioning to a sit/stand desk, I highly recommend getting an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. I also love being able to have the dogs with me all day keeping me company.” – Sara Dunnack, Cyber Security
“For me, ergonomics is very important, which is why I have a sit stand desk along with my Wobble Stool. Lots of direct light, Wyatt the dog and all the monitors I can fit on my desk keep me happy. Sometimes I peddle on my spin bike, which gives me time to think.” – Vicky Couturier, IT Director “There isn’t much I don’t like about my home office. If I could change one thing, it would be to have more wall space. I’ve run out :)” – Matt Vickers, Engineer
Below are additional work space photos submitted by my fellow InVisioneers. Let them inspire you! One of the best things about working from home is you’re in charge of everything in it. You aren’t forced to endure uncomfortable, non-adjustable chairs, florescent lights, or your cubemate’s smelly microwaved leftovers. If you take the time to do your lighting right, and with your comfy desk and chair, you may not want to leave your home office at all.
“I’m lucky I had an extra room to transform into my in-home office. It’s so convenient that it’s just a step away from my bedroom and more importantly, it gives Louie a perfect seat to watch people as they walk past our window.” – Ali Copriviza, Sales Development Representative
“Your workspace is an extension of you, so always make sure to have a little piece of sunshine nearby.” – Erica Simmons, Team Lead, Support Engineering “(Overly) Well-Lit business in the front.” – Jonathon Wilson, Engineer “Party in the back.” – Jonathon Wilson, Engineer “After our third child was born, we needed more room in the house, so I decided to purchase a 2005 Carson Fun Runner and convert it into a full-time office. I’m using a Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk with Topo Mat, which I love. I stand 2⁄3 of my day and sit on a Herman Miller Aeron for the other 1⁄3. I painted the back wall with chalkboard paint and use these lovely clocks as a decorative element to quickly reference teammate time zones. This has been a fun adventure thus far!” – Stephen Olmstead - VP of Design Partnerships