Working from home was predominantly restricted to tupperware parties and artists only a generation ago. The rise of the internet has enabled more industries and employees to work from home, either full or part-time, and take advantage of the increased flexibility this offers. However, there would be little argument that 2020 has seen the most significant overhaul in how people work since the industrial revolution.
The world over, adults and children have become telecommuters with little time to prepare, practice, or get to grips with the new dynamic. Spouses need to share office space, and parents need to schedule Zoom meetings with clients around their children’s online math lessons. While this new working arrangement might not be for everyone, many companies see the benefits of affording their employees more flexible working conditions.
Meshing your home life with your professional life can be challenging in itself. Still, if your home-office set-up isn’t practical, you will inevitably increase your stress. Below we have offered some top tips when you start working from home to improve your living space.
Assess your space
Before considering home office furniture or buying pens and paper clips online, it is prudent to determine where you will be working in your home. For the occasional email or video conference, your kitchen table or couch might suffice. However, this is not a long term solution for productivity or your health. Below we have included some of the factors to consider when you start working from home.
Room size – If you intend to buy new office furniture, make sure you have the space for it. Take measurements or consider using an online app to map out your room and give you a customized mock-up.
The room’s other purpose – Few of us have the luxury of a room solely for a home office. More than likely, you will need to share your space with a guest bedroom, living room, or even a laundry room. Whichever it is, think about the room’s functionality as a whole and how you can make it more conducive to your new work-life balance. This becomes more challenging, though even more essential when you have several people living in the same home.
Privacy – By now, we have all seen videos of children interrupting their parents in comical situations, and though it has been amusing, there are times when privacy is essential to your clients and for your professional reputation. Having a space with a door that can be shut is likely necessary if you have little ones in the house.
Access to natural light – It might be tempting to lock yourself away in a closet to feel more productive, but natural light provides a number of productivity benefits. Moreover, it can reduce your stress and anxiety levels and help you sleep more soundly. All of this will go far to make you feel more relaxed and focused.
Start with the essentials – A decent coffee maker certainly tops our list. After that, think about what you need to get your job done and start there. While it might be tempting to put your laptop on any flat surface in your home, this will likely be terrible for your productivity and cause you to pain in the long run. Look for a worktop and chair that are at the correct height for the best ergonomic set-up. You want your knees to be level with your hips while you sit and your wrists to be straight. Your monitor should be approximately an arm’s length away from your eyes.
In order to be focused and productive, it is essential to get in the right frame of mind. Sticking to a daily schedule will have you set up for success, much more so than jumping on your computer in your pajamas, regardless of who can see you. Hold yourself accountable to ensuring that both your work and home life are kept in check while taking periodic breaks to get up, stretch, and interact with the world.