Working from home may become a permanent part of our societies work culture. Many entrepreneurs have become accustomed to working from home for at least part of their work day. But now, workers of all types have experience the ups and downs of working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is a difference between working from home and working from home well.
In order for your home to become a truly functional, long-term office replacement, you should put some thought into designing your work from home office setup. And here comes the fun part — it absolutely doesn’t have to look like a traditional office space. Let your imagination roam free and take a look at these tried-and-tested tips that can help you along the way.
First, you need to decide where your home office will be located. Obviously, a spare room would be ideal, but if you don’t have extra space think about using a guest room, laundry room, garden shed, or even a closet under the stairs. If none of those are an option, then choose a quiet corner away from TV, pets and children playing, and dedicate it to your work desk.
What’s more important than the space itself is the dedication of a space — once you define where your home office is, the rest of the house becomes a work-free zone. This is incredibly important to maintain some level of work-life balance.
When you first start working from home, it usually entails sitting at the dining room table or lounging on the couch. But very quickly you will become painfully aware of your back notifying you this will not do in the long run.
Consider investing in equipment that puts your body into an ideal position while working: a high enough table, ergonomic chair, monitor (or two) set up at eye level, etc. You can experiment with this before cashing out — try standing at your kitchen counter for a period of time or sitting on a Pilates ball. Your body will quickly let you know what works well.
Proper lighting is a big factor in your work-from-home setup. Not only will it affect your energy levels (straining your eyes due to dimmed light will quickly make you tired), but exposure to sunlight can also alter your mood.
If possible, place your desk next to a window. If there isn’t much natural light in your WFH office, make sure that the light bulbs you use are bright enough in a warm, soothing tone. If the space you are working in is small and dark, a large mirror can give you a sense of spaciousness and brightness.
A good pair of noise-canceling headphones can be extremely helpful in tuning out barking dogs or chattering kids. However, sometimes silence can be just as distracting as loud noises. If you find it difficult to focus in dead silence, play some instrumental music or use Noisli for other kinds of background white noise.
Studies show that our productivity rises if we can enrich our working space with stimulating decorations. Use this to your advantage: decorate your home office with artwork or personal photos, your children’s drawings or birthday cards, memories from fun trips or meaningful souvenirs.
If you are into scents, think about incorporating some aromatherapy into your setup. There are thousands of choices out there, including candles, oils and burning incense. Some scents can give you an energy boost and sharpen your focus, such as peppermint, rosemary and citrus, while others like lavender can help you relax at the end of the working day.
Play With It
Working from home allows you not only to completely personalize your working space but also introduce some play into your day.
Choose a fun notebook or colorful post-its for to-do lists, get a coffee mug with a funny quote or even bring some toys in, such as a rubber ball to bounce off the wall. Puzzles can be a great trick to help you renew your focus.
However funny or weird it might look, don’t worry about it — the good thing about your work-from-home setup is that you don’t have to justify your choices to your manager or your coworkers. Just do what suits you best and enjoy your fun and productive working space.