Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a lot of us have made the shift to remote working. Naturally, this means that since 2020, a lot of makeshift home offices have sprung into being. On a temporary scale, some were using their kitchen tables, kids bedrooms, couches and even their beds as their daily place of work. Whether you’re still stuck in one of those awkward spaces or have graduated to some kind of home office Setup or desk area, there are a few things you can do to make it work more in your favour, boost your productivity and help you focus.
When you’re actually working from home long-term, and spending a good couple of hours each day in that office space, it’s important that you feel comfortable. The first and most important aspect of this comfort is your back health. Sitting in front of a screen for hours on end is bad enough for our backs and the rest of our bodies, but when you’re sitting on a slouchy couch or an uncomfortable seat, you could be doing serious long term damage. Investing in a good desk chair is the least you owe yourself if you’re going to be working from home.
Some other comfort-related aspects of your home office Setup to consider are lighting, fresh air and space. Try to pick an area that gets a good amount of natural light to boost your energy and mood and remember that an open window for fresh air never hurt anybody. Finally, having enough space for the type of work you do is important so that you don’t feel cluttered and flustered. For example, if you’re working from loads of hard copies, make sure that your desk is big enough to have them spread out as necessary, or at least have an extra chair, table, box (or anything really) to spread them out on.
Finally, you need to make it look and feel nice to whatever extent you can. A space that your spend the majority of your day in needs to be appealing to you in some way or you might lose your mind. Think of adding some colour and some stylish furniture in the form of storage shelves and a desk you love. Decorating your office space is easier when you have an actual room dedicated to it, but small tweaks can be made to wherever your designated work space happens to be. A simple vase of flowers on your desk, some décor or a painting above your workspace can make the world of difference, lift your mood and make your office hours feel a little less painful.
Create a Distraction Free Zone
We all know how easy it is to get distracted by our phones when we’re sitting in the office. Now, take that distraction and multiply it by the 500 things that exist to distract you in your own home. The TV, the kids, the dog, the laundry, your husband using the microwave, the overflowing snack cupboard… You get the idea. Focusing hard on what’s important when there’s so much going on around you can be nearly impossible, especially when everything else seems more interesting (and let’s be honest, more important) than your work emails and Zoom meetings.
Unfortunately, these things are important and you’re going to need to implement some focus if you ever want to get them done. First of all, choosing a space where you can have some privacy and reprieve from household noise is important. It might not always be possible in every household, but consider what you have to work with and try to make the decision that best fits your work needs.
Next, set some ground rules with any other family members or housemates who might be home due to the pandemic or for any other reason. Try to set office hours in which you aren’t working on household chores or taking part in socialising, but be sure to give yourself breaks (like the hour lunch break you deserve) where you can spend time with those around you. It can be easy to isolate yourself completely when working from home, which can be damaging to your mental health.
Invest in Some Gear
Your average office will typically have some tools to help your work along, keep everybody organised and boost productivity. Your home office Setup should really be no different. Someone that’s working from home long term should consider investing in a few tools or pieces of equipment that will aid them in their work.
The kinds of tools your choose to add to your Home office Setup will depend entirely on your own work and personal needs but they can include things like a printer or scanner, a good quality headset, a smart assistant like Alexa, an extra screen or a power bank to keep your technology charged while you’re at work. Other, less gadgety things to consider include a whiteboard or a corkboard, a wall or desk calendar and some notebooks and good quality stationery.
Working from home can be tough in many ways, but it also has its benefits. Having the freedom to make your space your own, eat your lunch on your own terms and work in your pyjama bottoms is a dream come true to many people. Balancing both your space and the way your work in it however, is key. It’s important to set up your Home office Setup to be a place of productivity and then also remember to separate yourself from it at the end of the work day.
Being able to leave your workspace to relax one of entire purposes of having a designated workspace in your home. Don’t forget to close the office doors and wind down after work in a space that is designed for rest, like your comfy couch or your bed. Try to avoid bringing your laptop to these spaces, so that your mind and body can develop a healthy distinction between where and when you work and rest.