Do you have a work from home office that you love? Many out there do not. During this difficult time where companies are taking steps to thwart the spread of COVID 19, more and more employees are being asked to work from home. If you aren’t used to working from home, this transition can absolutely present new challenges. We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you take advantage of this time and be as productive as possible.
For so many of us, working from home is new territory. This means you may not have a space already designated for work within your home. If you do have an empty or unused room, like a bedroom or space in the basement, that can be a great place to set up your new “office”. If space is tight though, you may need to get a little more creative. A lot of people use their kitchens but you may not want to pack everything up for each meal. Keep an eye out for unused corners in larger rooms, large, relatively empty closets, or places that already have existing table space. Don’t be afraid to shift furniture around to create your own space. With a little creativity, anyone can have an at home office.
Now that you’ve got an idea of where your office could fit, you’re ready to start building out your office space. Think about day-to-day activities and which tools you typically use throughout your work day. To work efficiently, you’ll want to have things close by and set up for your needs. If you use a printer everyday, make sure that’s handy and you’re not having to walk back and forth from room to room to access it. If you use a desktop rather than a laptop, you’ll need a bit more space and a table or desk that’s deep enough to allow enough distance between you and your screen. If you didn’t know, sitting too close to your screen can cause eye strain and we know that doesn’t make work any easier.
Even beyond making sure you have all the necessary tools, consider ways to create privacy within your office. Room dividers and curtains can be great temporary options. You can also make sure your desk faces away from open or heavily used areas so you’re less distracted.
A lot of people forget that working from home is still working and for most of us that means logging a solid 8 hours a day. Although it’s tempting to just grab a chair from the kitchen table you may consider purchasing an ergonomic chair for added support and comfort. There are a ton of options on Amazon. This is a bit of an investment but it’s an investment in you. Not ready to purchase your own office chair yet? No problem, an exercise ball is a tried and true alternative, just make sure you get the right size!
Most of us don’t know how long working from home will last but if you’re looking at working from home long term, we recommend focusing on creating an inspiring space in your work from home office. When it comes to color within an at home office, you definitely need to think about what your typical day entails. If you’re doing work that requires you to be creative and problem solve we recommend incorporating colors like yellow and orange. If your job is really stressful, using calming blues and greens can really make a difference in your day.
To bring color into your office consider painting, think about the furniture you use, as well as your accessories. Change your desktop background to something that inspires you, bring a plant in so there’s a bit of life (yes, artificial is 100% okay!), and think about little things that can make working from home a bit more special.
When your office and your home become one, this tip becomes incredibly important. A messy space leads to an unfocused mind. We want to be as productive as possible so doing a daily or regular clean up of your office space is really important for promoting that. Take five to ten minutes at the end of each day and put as much away as possible, give your desk a wipe down, and take care of any dishes. Do this and you’ll be all set for the next day and we think your other housemates will appreciate it too!
A lot of people think working from home means you can roll right out of bed and just work in your pajamas but we strongly recommend against this. Think about it, three or four days of never putting real clothing on is gonna get weird, fast. Getting dressed each morning in something that’s casual but would still be appropriate to wear out in public will help shift your mind into work mode. That little bit of effort can make a big difference in your productivity.
If you have a partner or roommate who is also using your work from home office, consider trying to designate separate work spaces. This can be challenging if space is tight so if you do end up utilizing the same area for work, it’s important to set boundaries. Observe the tidy up rule from above and keep both spaces neat and clean. If things get tense, consider creating an imaginary coworker that you can blame things on. All jokes aside, this is a unique opportunity to understand the people you live with and work together in a new way.
If you work from a laptop or have a somewhat mobile work station, consider taking advantage of these beautiful spring days. Whether it’s thirty minutes or a few hours, get yourself outside and soak up some vitamin D. Don’t have that flexible of a work space? No problem, we recommend taking a few brain breaks throughout the day and getting some fresh air. We can’t stay cooped up all day, just don’t forget the sunscreen!
This is definitely a very weird time and it can feel really isolating so take this as an opportunity to invest in yourself. Be intentional about your office space and do what you can to make the most of a crummy situation. We’re all in this together so stay safe and be kind.