It’s true for all of us when we say that, “2020 has been an odd year…” Many of us now find ourselves navigating a new normal that heavily consists of working from home. Or at least a bigger influence of flexible working. Creating a productive home office environment is paramount to the effectiveness of the work we now do. Even if you are now being reintroduced back into the office, it’s vital to have a productive home office space to work from if you need it.
About six months ago, a lot of us were working from our dining tables, dressing tables, or even the sofa trying to juggle Zoom meetings and the kids at home with us. Now though, it seems that we have settled into a new way of working and living through this uncertain year. That still includes remote working, with the occasional day in the office.
When working within an office environment it is easy to shift into a “working” mindset and way of going about the day. But by working from home, it can be extremely difficult to differentiate between home life and work-life as they are both so heavily interconnected and overlapping.
Today, we wanted to cover some of the best ways you can create a productive office environment at home.
A Designated Space
The first step is trying to find a designated space at home to work from. This may not be straightforward if you’re navigating between children or someone else that’s working from home too. It may also be difficult if you don’t have a spare room that can easily be converted into a temporary workspace or home office.
At the least, having one end of the dining room table can prove to be great for creating your own little working environment. You can personalize this with different accessories, desk organizers, and new stationery to make it feel more like a proper working space and not just at the end of the dining table!
Finding a designated workspace at home will help you to adjust to working in a different environment than what you’re used to. If you can, it is really helpful to work within a space that is full of soothing and relaxing colors. This will help you to stay focused and not be distracted by any over the top design features. Think pale hues of color instead of bold and bright. Soft pastels or neutral colors are great for creating a calm environment.
The key aspect of productively working from home is keeping not only your working space organized but your schedule too. Try to work through the day in a similar way to how you would normally work within the office environment.
A great tip on how to be productive is to write down a to-do list in the morning and determine which one to three things you should do, and focus on those for the day ahead. Always try and plan your day around Zoom meetings and deadlines, and look ahead to the next few days or even a week ahead to determine what needs attention first. Put time in your calendar to work on these key to-dos. Scheduling time in 30 minute or hour blocks is key for working through tasks and different projects.
Alongside scheduling time for each project or client you’re working on, it’s important to schedule a time for breaks too. It’s too easy to work through your lunch hour when you’re at home as your colleagues aren’t there to socialize with or pop out to the coffee shop for a lunch break. You should still take your lunch hour even if you are working from home, and don’t feel guilty for doing so! Make sure to get up from your workspace regularly for a quick stroll around the house or stretch.
To keep your workspace organized at home, you may find it beneficial to have some form of desk organizer where you can keep any notebooks, pens, paper, and other stationery needed for your normal working day. If these items can be stored away within an organizer, the space you work in will look clean and clear come the evenings and weekends. Alternatively, if you’re switching from working upstairs, to downstairs or between rooms, keeping your documents and items within one condensed area or organizer will make the transition much easier.
Make your workspace work harder for you, and not the other way around!
When using a computer for extended periods of time, always remember to block glare from the screens. This can hugely affect the health of your eyes; too much glare from screens without breaks or measures in place can be harmful.
Make sure your computer or laptop is relatively clear of sunlight to avoid excessive glare. A light fixture directly above your workspace can also produce glare, so be aware of where you choose to work at home. You could take it one step further and invest in some blue light glasses. If you’re already a glasses wearer ensure they have a specialized computer glare film as part of the lenses.
If you haven’t already done so it may be a good time to invest in a good desk chair that has good ergonomics. It’s important to look for something that has an adjustable backrest so it can follow the shape of your spine. Armrests are helpful to allow your shoulders to relax and they should be adjustable so they can match the height of your desk or work surface. Having lumbar support is good for keeping your back healthy and in a good position. Above all, adjustability is paramount when choosing a new office or desk chair so you have full flexibility depending on you and your environment.
Zoom calls are a popular way of staying connected with other colleagues so it’s important to keep a pair of good headphones close-by in case of any ad-hoc meetings. Using headphones for Zoom calls ensures that you can concentrate fully on what is being discussed without interrupting anyone else who may be at home too.
We hope this post has provided some ideas and helpful tips on how to create a productive home office environment so you can continue working from home effectively! Do you have any other tips that could help others? Drop them below in the comments section, we’d love to hear from you!