Working from home has consistently grown in popularity over the past decade. The COVID-19 quarantine, however, moved many more office workers to join the remote party. For some, it was a permanent change. Although there are many benefits to working from home, including a flexible schedule and zero commute, there are also some cons, such as interruptions, a more difficult work/life separation, and lack of space for an actual office.
If working from home is more of a struggle due to a less than perfect workspace, we can help. There are a few key components that make for a great workspace. Let’s dive in.
If you’re going to create a great home office, you need the right equipment. This means furniture, electronics, and more.
Let’s start with where you sit: your chair. Because you may find yourself sitting a lot, it is important to find a chair that supports your body. Adjustable armrests, a height-adjustable backrest, and lower-back support are vital in allowing you to do your work pain free.
One benefit of working from home is the chance to move around during the day. You may want to set up multiple workstations, such as one standing, one seated, and maybe even one on the floor. An adjustable desk can be a huge help. The more you allow your body to change positions, the better it is for your physical health as well as your focus.
Getting the right electronics is another important equipment set for working from home. Strong internet that allows you to do what you need, noise-canceling headphones, external monitors, laptop risers, and other technological aids are indispensable in a proper work-from-home scenario. Invest in yourself and your comfort so you can rock this remote gig.
The actual space you work in is also important to your productivity. Since you are going to be spending a lot of time in your home office, creating a welcoming and beautiful environment is even more important. If you can, choose a workspace with plenty of natural light. This will boost your mood, increase your overall sense of well-being and reduce eye strain. Another natural helper for your workday is plants. Having some greenery around also contributes to a better mood and increased sense of focus and makes the space more inviting.
If you have the budget and the know-how, remodel your home office to incorporate colors, extra light and an overall aesthetic that makes you happy. Think about it: Many professional office complexes hire interior designers to ensure an aesthetically pleasing work environment because they understand it improves employee morale and helps their people stay focused, leading naturally to more productivity. So, if you find yourself feeling a bit drab because your home office isn’t all that, incorporate a few small changes at a time to remake your space until you have the environment that motivates you to thrive while working at home.
One of the more difficult parts of working from home is the less than desirable work-life balance. It can be hard to separate your workday from the rest of your life when your workspace is surrounded by home life. But, there are ways to create a healthy separation.
First, physically separate the space if possible. Use room dividers, screens, plant stands and bookcases to isolate your desk if you don’t have a door to close. Sometimes household noise affects your concentration, especially with little ones present. If you find this to be a challenge, invest, as mentioned previously, in quality noise-canceling headphones. If the distractions persist, look into renovating the space or installing a retractable door for more separation.
Working from home usually means your hours are flexible, which is a perk. If you aren’t careful, though, flexibility can lead to working into the wee hours of the night because you spent your day caretaking instead of working. Set regular hours and make sure your family understands that during those times, you are only to be interrupted in an emergency. If you have children at home, define “emergency” to be more than “I can’t reach the cookie jar” but definitely includes “we gave the cat a bath, and he escaped.” This will take a while to become routine, so be patient. It may be helpful to hire a caregiver during certain times of the day as well.
Your day doesn’t have to be a straight eight hours, though. Play around with what works best for you. If you discover you’re more productive working two shorter chunks of time, do so. Take a longer lunch break if that helps your focus and stress level. Take a small break to walk outside to revive your focus during the inevitable afternoon slump.
Working from home certainly isn’t for everyone, but even with challenges, a proper workspace will target your focus, keep you sane, and harness your productivity. Invest in the proper equipment, find the right rhythm and, quite literally, set yourself up for success in your workspace. Before you know it, you will be reaping the benefits of a truly enjoyable way to work and live.