Selecting and Building your Workplace
Working from home can be a major adjustment and can be extremely difficult if you do not have a dedicated workspace. The kitchen table and chairs may seem appealing but after sitting there for 8 hours a day, five days a week you may find that it is not all that comfortable.
Here are 5 tips for setting up your perfect work area while you work from home.
1. Selecting the right area for your workplace
Not everyone will have a spare room to turn into an office. With so many people now working from home, it is important to have a dedicated place to work. Regardless of the space or location, establish an area of your home where you will work and commit to working in this space every day. Be sure your workspace is quiet so you can focus on the tasks you have to complete. The right space will give you enough room to move comfortably and not feel cramped or closed off. The kitchen table may seem like a perfect place to work from during this time. However after you spend a full week working there, your body will not thank you. The kitchen table and chairs are not designed for office work and is often uncomfortable for long periods of time. To help you maintain your productivity working from home, you want to be as comfortable as possible so it is wise to invest in a quality desk and chair.
2. Proper storage and the right equipment
Depending on your job, you may have a lot of documents and files that can be difficult to manage and keep organised. Also, if you are living with flatmates or children, there may be documents that you don’t want them to see or damage. A bookcase, smaller locker or storage unit can be the perfect solution to allow you to stay organised throughout your work day. When working in the office, if you require anything then you can usually go to the supply room or one of you work colleagues to borrow a stapler or paper punch. However, working from home does not usually allow for this convenience. At the start of working from home, make a list of the items and equipment that you would normally use every day or at least every week. Then have a discussion with your boss to retrieve them from the office.
3. Create the right office ambience
Most offices make use of large windows to keep the office bright along with sufficient internal lighting. Your workspace should make use of natural light where possible. Try to set yourself up close to a window or a doorway. This can help with your mental and physical health but it can also be a nice little distraction during the day. If you are unable to work in natural light, invest in a natural light lamp. One of the most contentious issues in the office is the temperature – no matter what time of year it is. Some people get too warm or too cold which then leads to friction. Now however, you can manage this aspect to suit yourself. Your productivity can decrease if you are either too hot or cold so make sure you are comfortable when you work. As we approach summer it may require some air conditioning to get you through the day.
4. Minimise noise and distraction
This may be quite difficult depending on who you live with or whether you have kids who are not in school. Loud noises are not what you want when you are trying to work so try to set some ground rules regarding your work especially if living with flatmates. It will be near impossible to avoid all distractions during the day so get yourself a good set of headphones so you can listen to your favourite podcasts and music throughout the day. A clean work area is often a huge distraction so ensuring your workspace is clean is critical especially if you don’t have a dedicated room to make your new workspace. If you are working from the kitchen table, the last thing you want is to have last night’s dinner spilt on your files or documents. Keeping your new desk tidy will allow you to know where everything but it can also allow you to separate work time from home time. At the end of each day, tidy away your files and laptop to signify the end of the day.
5. Personalise the area but be careful
Working from home has led to a lot of changes in the workday. One of the biggest changes has been the increase in the use of video meetings with a dispersed workforce. Communication has become key and employees are spending more time in these meetings. So it is important to have a nice clean area on the video call. Your poster collection might look good but it’s probably not a good background for a video meeting with your boss or colleagues. To make your home office feel like a more traditional office space try decorating your home space to match your personality. Add some nice pictures to your desk and maybe some souvenirs that you have collected through your travels. Make your workspace smell beautiful with some scented candles and add some greenery to freshen up the area. The nicer you can make your workspace, the happier and more productive you will be.
The sudden change to working of home for so many people is a major transition for both employer and employees. There are going to be challenges along the way but these need to be attacked in a positive way. Working from home is going to be a reality for a lot of people so they best way to prepare for it is to create a dedicate work area that allows you to be as productive as possible.