With the remote working trend firmly outlasting the conditions of the pandemic, more and more people are finding themselves working from home. Working from home (or switching between home and an office) can improve work-life balance flexibility and more, but it can also take some getting used to.
While working from home can be very rewarding, it can have its challenges, too. Optimizing efficiency, self-imposing routine and discipline, and maintaining a sense of satisfaction both in your work and your relaxation time can be trickier when you’re having to do it all in one place. For this reason, it can really pay to focus on improving your Work From Home (WFM) space. Here are 5 ways to do it.
1. Dedicate a space for your work
It might be tempting to settle into the couch with your laptop while binge watching netflix, but chances are, this isn’t the most productive way to approach your work.
Wherever you choose to work, set the intention for optimal efficiency by dedicating the space to it. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a separate home office or you have to improvise and fit a desk into the lounge area … set yourself up for success. Make sure you have the following covered:
Comfort: Making do with a rickety table or an uncomfortable chair is a recipe for misery. Take the time to set your WFM space up for comfort - a comfortable, ergonomically sound chair, a desk or other surface area that can comfortably accommodate your work needs, and anything else that will increase your comfort (such as a monitor stand to get your screen at a comfortable height).
Efficiency: Arrange your space in accordance with the available space you need and the items you need to hand - if this means upgrading to a larger desk or investing in some free-standing drawers, do it. Declutter the office space area and have everything to hand for maximum productivity.
Concentration: When it comes to concentration, people have differing needs. For some, silence is golden, for others, it makes them feel anxious. Wherever possible, set your WFM space up in an area of the house that compliments the way you work best - for many that will mean getting away from the noise of the household, as well as distractions such as TVs, chores, pets, children and more. Depending on your setup, it might pay to invest in a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones!
2. Get the lighting right
The quality of light in your WFH space can make or break productivity and affect your wellbeing - working in inadequate lighting can lead to eye strain, headaches, and shifts in mood. Wherever possible, position yourself in proximity to a good source of natural light, such as next to a window or under a sky light.
If you have to set your workspace up in an area with little or no natural light, make sure you focus on making artificial light work well for you. Opting for softer, golden lighting tones are more calming than harsh bright white fluorescent bulbs. Go to the trouble of replacing any overhead bulbs and add frosted covers to any applicable fittings to diffuse the light more gently. Choosing lampshades that softly disperse the light (such as off-white shades) can also help to keep your WFH lighting calming and conducive to working comfortably.
3. De-mess for less stress
For most people at least, messy environments can create a surprising amount of stress. When we declutter and minimize a space, we tend to feel calmer; when it comes to our work environment, this greater level of calm tends to result in increased productivity. Keeping your workspace organized can also make your work a much more enjoyable process.
Once you’ve decluttered and arranged your WFH space in an efficient way, stand back and consider what else would add to the ambience - sometimes it’s the little things. For example, a bunch of messy, tangled cords in view could be enough to put you on edge without even realizing it - often, it’s not that the mess is consciously noticed, but once an area is clear, clean, tidy and minimal, we can really feel and benefit from the calm it induces.
4. Add a touch of luxury
While it’s important to set your WFM space up to resemble a work area as opposed to a home environment (for maximum productivity), it never hurts to add a few luxurious touches. What is luxury to one person might be a basic expectation to another; you will know best what is needed to make your functional, productive space that little bit extra special. Ideas could include:
Adding a comfy sofa with plush cushions for visitors or family members (space permitting)
Setting up a coffee station with your favorite blends
Adding inspirational quotes, images or vibrant art to the walls
Replacing drab stationary with items that feel more aesthetically pleasing
Adding a big rug - especially to compensate for an unattractive carpet or cold tiles
Installing a quality dry erase board
Adding an aromatherapy diffuser
5. Bring the space to life
Once you have the space decluttered, organized, well-lit and comfortable, the last thing to do is bring it to life with some color and plants. A splash of color here and there can be invigorating and cheerful and it needn’t be alot - a cushion, a mug, some vibrant art, whatever works for you.
Additionally, introduce some life into the mix with a plant or two. It doesn’t even have to be real if you don’t want the added stress of keeping an indoor plant thriving - either way, adding greenery to a workspace helps to lift your mood and maintain a connection to nature while you work. Adding plants is especially helpful to brighten up a WFH space that doesn’t have any natural light or windows - but in this case, make sure it’s not real!
Working from home can feel like a luxury in itself, but once the novelty wears off, many people realize it can be harder than it seems. Investing some time and money into improving your WFH space will be well worth it, making it easier to separate your work and home life, and improving productivity thanks to a dedicated, organized space that is a joy to be in.