For those of us who previously worked in offices or retail spaces outside the home, the coronavirus pandemic has radically altered the way we interact with our home spaces. Suddenly, our cozy family time, relaxing evening hours, and focused working hours are all taking place in the same building- and even the same rooms.
While this may seem to create a more difficult working atmosphere, research studies have shown that in fact, work from home employees tend to be up to 20% more productive during working hours than when they worked non-remotely. But how you design your home office can have a huge effect on your ability to thrive in a WFH lifestyle.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources and tips available to help you create an amazing work from home office, even with kids around. In this article we will take a look at some helpful hints for crafting a great space that you will want to work from.
Designate a Space
The space you choose to work in most days will be one of the key factors in your new remote working lifestyle. Adapting to a more independent way of working can be greatly aided by following a few simple rules: separate your space, be consistent, and stick to a schedule.
If you have an entirely separate room to use as your home office, that is the ideal option. Look for a room that is naturally isolated from the rest of the house, so that you are not constantly being drawn into family life while you attempt to focus on work. A corner room with windows that let in plenty of natural light is ideal- studies have shown that exposure to natural light can increase your productivity, decrease headaches and eye fatigue, and improve your mood while you work.
If you don’t have a dedicated room to use as your home office, carve out a dedicated workspace instead. Use partitions to cordon off a space that looks and feels separate. Particular partitions can even help you control the light flow and block some of the sound from the rest of the room.
To further help your concentration, you may want to consider soundproofing your office space. Quality soundproofing panels or insulation can help keep the background sounds of your noisy home life from overlapping with your quiet work atmosphere. And soundproofing will prevent your important professional business interactions- phone calls and video chats- from being interrupted by crying, screaming, whining, or playing.
Check Your Tech
With your kids now at home taking online courses, your socializing taking place via remote video calls, and your entertainment coming from streaming videos and music, your home internet is going to be taking on a lot more demand than usual.
So, you will want to check your tech specs at home to make sure the Wi-fi is fast enough to meet all of these different- and simultaneous- needs. Research the best internet providers in your area to find an internet service that can handle the heightened demand. You will want to make sure that your important virtual business meeting or online retail transaction is not interrupted by a glitchy, overburdened Wi-Fi connection.
Consider changing to a new provider or install a new Wi-Fi router near your working space. The internet is the new office building of remote work- with online file storage and virtual file sharing and collaborative workspaces, it is vital that you have a strong connection. By upgrading your tech specs right at the start, you can rest assured that an unreliable connection won’t get in the way of your working day.
Make Your Space Your Own
Take advantage of the opportunity to work from home to design your space in a way that perfectly suits your needs. Customize the aesthetics and design of your home office. Choose a wall color that helps you feel relaxed and focused. Carefully select personal items to hang on the walls, photos or objects that will keep you feeling productive and happy throughout your workday.
You will want to keep your space clear of clutter. Minimize the items present on your work desk to the bare essentials. Eliminating clutter will help you maintain a clear and focused mind while at work. Set the stage for professional video conference calls by choosing a blank wall that reveals only what you would like to share with work colleagues and clients.
Customize your office furniture, keeping in mind comfort and appearance. Look into which type of ergonomic chair best suits you. Would you feel more energized working at a standup desk? What office supplies and gadgets will you need? You will be using these items every day, so it’s worth taking your time to plan out what objects you would like to have around you. If possible, invest in a separate computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse that you use for work purposes only, so that even your gadgets help you stay on task.
Keep it Consistent
Try to show up at the same time each day, sticking to regular office hours. Be consistent- while it may be tempting to work in bed or on the couch, showing up for work each day in your own amazing home office space will help you stay on task and focused.
Sharing these boundaries with your family will help create a more harmonious home atmosphere- so your kids know that even when you are at home, you are not “at home at home” until after the working day. Entering your separated workspace will help signal to your family that you are ready to work- and thus not available for playtime. And it will help you easily switch into “work mode”.
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