Whether you’re a business owner or an employee working from home, it’s important to establish a designated workspace. One of the reasons people have difficulty working from home is because we’re not wired to think of our homes as workspaces unless you’ve been working from home since before the pandemic struck.
Having a space for work will greatly help you accomplish your tasks because you’ll associate this space with productivity. Stop working from your bed or couch because these spaces are for resting, so your brain isn’t on full work mode when you’re there. And even if you are productive in these spaces, chances are that you have difficulty sleeping or relaxing on them now. Research shows that it might also help you dress up for work even if you’re at home since pajamas are for sleeping or lounging around.
Choose a room to renovate into your office
It’s best to choose a space that will allow you some quiet and privacy, especially if you plan on having a lot of virtual meetings over Zoom. As endearing as interrupted home conference calls such as the famous BBC Dad are, they can be quite embarrassing. He only got lucky because the interrupters were his adorable kids. But what if your interrupter isn’t your child and is instead a half-dressed roommate or family member? Cute kids or not, interrupters are still a distraction.
This is when choosing a closed space will help you. You wouldn’t want the other people under your roof to disrupt your work, and nor would you want to disrupt theirs. If you live in a house or an apartment with extra rooms, choose an area to make into your office. A spare bedroom, the attic, basement, or even the garage will work, depending on your budget and business needs. If you choose to work in your garage, you may want to consider garage floor epoxy coatings to give the flooring a smoother, more professional finish.
If you don’t have the luxury of big spaces at home, you can still set aside a corner to use as your work station. The space under the stairs or a corner of your bedroom can still serve you well — be sure to agree with your household members regarding your working hours and possible interruptions.
Consider the lighting
The lighting in your workspace impacts your mood and productivity. Unless you’re working the graveyard shift, it’s important to have ample natural lighting. Make use of the windows in the room to let the light in. Sunshine gives us some much-needed vitamin D and regulates our circadian rhythms.
For ergonomics, you also have to consider the angle at which the natural light will hit you. The best way to work would be to have the natural light shine on you on your side. Having the light come from behind you may produce a glare on your computer screen, and having it in front of you may be harsh on your eyes. Arrange your workspace accordingly to minimize eye strain. If you can’t, then have some blinds or drapes over the windows to diffuse the light, so it isn’t too bright, or cover your computer screen with a matte screen protector to reduce the glare.
For artificial lighting, invest in LED lights if you haven’t yet. They’re energy-efficient and have longer lifespans, so they’re easier on your wallet in the long run. The warmth or coolness of your artificial lighting is also important. Research shows that cooler, blue-ish lighting is best for productivity, while warmer lighting such as yellow-ish lighting is best for relaxing.
Invest in good furniture
Your desk and your chair are two of your most important working companions, so make sure they can serve you well. Get a chair that’s comfortable enough and offers support for your lower back. If not, a pillow on the backrest will do a sufficient job. The desk will depend on your preferred or required work station, but make sure to get one with enough space for your materials.
Have a plant or two to keep you company
Whether you’re working or relaxing, it’s always good to have some plants nearby. Not only does having some greenery in your surroundings benefit your physical health by cleaning the air, but they also lower your stress levels and help you focus. Plants in your office space can increase your productivity by as much as 15 percent.
Just because this space is meant for productivity doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it. Infuse some personality into your home office with decorative pieces and framed quotes that motivate and inspire you.
If you’re going to be attending plenty of virtual meetings, create a good backdrop for them. This is an effective way to make a good impression on clients and co-workers. Bookshelves are a classic backdrop for Zoom meetings. Showing off your book collection is a great way to look smarter and more professional. Adorn your shelves with decorative bookends* that are functional as well stylish. You can also opt for a more minimal backdrop and use plants and wall art to decorate instead.
Taking the time to set aside and create a good home office for yourself can boost your productivity levels. It can also keep you and your housemates from disrupting each other’s activities throughout the day.