Working from home can have a lot of perks – no commute, improved work-life balance and unlimited access to the kitchen fridge to help you through the day! Keeping your focus, however, can be a tough task. Sometimes your home office can turn into one of the least effective environments for getting things done. Considering you have the freedom to design and tailor your work environment at home to meet your every need, it’s essential to take full advantage of this.
At the home office, it’s easy for you to become your own worst enemy – by not being surrounded by co-workers, you have total freedom to drop your inhibitions as there’s not the same peer pressure or communal obligation to get tasks completed. It’s important therefore to arrange a working environment that maximises both motivation and productivity, while also establishing a stimulating and rewarding workspace.
It’s important to create both mental and physical boundaries to separate your work from your domestic life when working at home. Working from the kitchen table or in bed may sound like attractive advantages of working from home. However, working from these places in the home are not always beneficial, and a dedicated workspace is often needed to create a more motivating and productive environment. Ideally, this should be a separate room in the house which has been converted into a study room or an office. If you live in a small house with little space, then you can set up an area of a room as your dedicated workspace. For example, set up space in your sitting room and use it as your office.
According to Linda Varone, author of The Smarter Home Office, if you’re sitting down all day at work, the best thing you can do for your body is to ergonomically optimise your space. Ensure that your desk and chair are comfortable and ergonomic. An ergonomically designed chair is an investment and it ensures that you can concentrate on your work while avoiding future back problems. It’s recommended that your computer should be at eye level or a little below. In addition to this, your keyboard should be positioned in such a way that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Give yourself enough legroom and take regular breaks to stretch your legs.
A clean and tidy desk can help to promote an efficient approach to your daily work. Keeping an office organised depends on proper storage systems, but this can become costly. Why not look to your kitchen for some cheaper alternatives? For example, a wire kitchen rack can be a great substitute for shelving units. Another way to help keep your workspace clutter-free is to invest in some storage boxes to store important files and documents. After all, a clutter-free desk helps a clutter-free mind.
A second monitor can help to greatly increase productivity. Rather than having many windows open on the same screen (which can become quite confusing), it’s beneficial to have an extra monitor to keep related documents and websites open while your main monitor is used for real-time work.
Posters and paintings can help to inspire and motivate while working from home. It’s also good to place your computer near a window so that when your eyes tire of the computer monitor you can have a look at the sky to regain your thoughts.
This will involve a combination of both natural and artificial light. In terms of natural light, make a conscious effort to position your desk close to a window so that it is parallel to the panes. This helps you take full advantage of the natural light while also providing some visual relief from your computer screen from time to time.
When it comes to the evening time, a good table lamp is imperative. They offer a soft glow and are much more effective than overhead lighting when trying to work.
A whiteboard is a good way to write down tasks, jot own ideas while brainstorming or working out plans. While many people use digital calendars and organisers nowadays, a paper calendar is also beneficial to keep track of meetings and deadlines.
You can bring a little bit of nature to your workspace through the simplicity of a potted plant. Plants such as cacti are particularly popular for the office desk – not only do they bring positive Feng Shui but they also have strong productive energy.
Loud music may be distracting but listening to background music can influence your mood. Choose music to suit the project you are working on to heighten your creativity.
Taking breaks during work is a very important part of the day. It allows people to come back refreshed and more motivated. Set up a relaxation area or go to the couch during your break. Better yet, leave the house and get some fresh air so that when you return you feel appreciate of the inspiring and productive working environment you’ve created in your home.