Do you have a productive home office?
Transitioning from working in an office to working at home can be challenging. The initial transition when COVID-19 closed down the world, caused businesses to quickly adjust to working from home. We’ve probably spent the last few months camping out in our houses with our company-owned laptops trying to stay on top of work. We used to sit in a cubicle every day typing on a computer and staying in constant connection with our coworkers. Now, we are propped up on pillows in bed video calling our coworkers to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Over the past few months, we’ve all learned a few tips and tricks to create a healthy work environment at home. Some companies may be choosing to adopt a lifestyle where employees can spend more time working from home while things start to open back up. Creating a productive home office is both easy to do and essential to working from home.
1. Boundaries with personal life
One of the more common barriers to working from home is “bringing your work home”. When you are home, you want to enjoy being home. Work should stay at work. Working at home can be a challenge at first when boundaries are not set. Dedicating a specific office space, or area, allows you to create those work and home boundaries. This could simply be the kitchen table or a spare room in the house. When you sit down in that area, your mind and body will know that it is time to work.
Moreover, set boundaries and times when you are expected and not expected to work. Having your phone and computer connected to you all the time can cause burnout. If you work with a team, set times on when a response is expected and when it is not expected. You should never feel obligated to respond to a work email when you’re lying in bed at night!
2. Find a Space for You
Everyone works differently. Some people need a highly trafficked place, like a coffee shop, while others need silence. Finding where you are able to work the most efficiently is the key to working from home. If you are more likely to work better in a busier setting, an area like the kitchen table may be ideal. You will be able to still interact to an extent with others in the household and furry coworkers! If the slightest bit of noise is distracting, a spare room and noise-canceling headphones are perfect.
3. Dual Monitors
When using our laptops at home, we are limited to one screen. We find ourselves flipping between 50 tabs on our one screen, or splitting the screen. Flipping between tabs on one screen, or splitting the screen doesn’t allow us to be as efficient as possible. Setting up dual monitors allows us to be more efficient. We have more screen space with two monitors. The different screens can be set up with different applications. So, one screen can be used to view emails and the other screen to browse the internet. The limits the number of times you have to flip between applications, which allows you to be more productive.
4. Declutter the area
Having clutter on the desk or table might be distracting for some workers. Swimming through endless papers can cause you to feel overwhelmed. For the OCD, neat freak, a paper that is misplaced can be highly distracting and cause their mind to run wild for hours. Having loose papers filed away can make working from home more productive. You should only have the essentials, and the items you are currently working on out in your workspace.
5. Add some plants
You want to make the area you are working in inviting. Create a vibe that you will feel productive in. Adding a couple of plants to your workspace can add a little variety for you to look at. Plants offer a visually meditative experience, which can lead to more productive and happier workers. Moreover, are also known to reduce the amount of stress in a work environment. This can help keep your mood stable throughout the day, and blood pressure down!
Creating a work environment that you feel engaged in is ideal for a productive home office. Experiment with different areas of the house to find one that works for you. Moreover, creating work boundaries for yourself is vital for your mental health. You will have an easier time separating work and home when boundaries are set. Keeping the space clean and adding a few plants are other ways to keep yourself engaged with work and stress levels down.