The times they are a’changin… Now that we’re all starting to adapt to our new normal, it’s important to try and set goals and routines for ourselves at home. Here are a few tips on just how to ensure you’re really getting work done while still doing your part to follow the shelter-in-place guidelines.
Here is how to set up your home office for maximum productivity:
Find whatever place works best for you
Be it by a wall or a window, firstly find a place that works best for you. Everyone works differently. Some people work best at their kitchen table, some work best in their bedroom and some set up shop at their coffee table in their living room. If you’re lucky enough to have space for your own home office you can convert it into a space that will both motivate and inspire you while keeping you on track. If not you can manipulate the room you set up in into the perfect office space.
Make sure you’re near a power outlet
Today we all work from our laptops and phones. We all rely on a full battery to work. Ensure your phones and laptops are fully charged by making sure your desk is near a power outlet. If not you can get yourself an extension cord to ensure a dead battery doesn’t stop your work flow when you’re in the middle of a roll.
Make sure your office is well lit
Nobody wants to work in the dark. Make sure your home office is in a well-lit room filled with natural light. As well as your morning coffee this will help wake you up in the morning. Have a desk lamp. Offices are usually very well lit and when working from home you have to be careful not to strain your eyes. Pro tip: during Zoom meetings, try and face a window. The natural light facing you will ensure the best lighting for your video conference.
Add motivating touches
A fantastic benefit of working from home means you get to decorate your workspace however you want. You want to plaster the wall you face in pictures of your family on vacation to motivate you to work harder? You got it. Personally I love green plants, they just make me happy so my desk and room are filled with them. Whether green plants or prints with motivational quotes get you working then feel free to decorate whatever way you choose.
Yes, TVs are good for relaxing in front of and background noise when you clean. However, they do not make for a productive working environment. Even working near your living room where you can hear a TV can distract you, especially if your favorite show is playing. It’s so easy to get sucked into a TV show and they’re an easy way to unwind but not during time you’re supposed to be working. However, you can record your favorite half an hour show or switch on Netflix at your lunch break and curl up on the couch, an added benefit of working from home.
You’re going to be on your butt for 90% of your workday so might as well make sure you’re sitting comfortably. While we’re at it increase you’re productivity and comfort by sitting right too. Raise your laptop to eye level if necessary. Working from home gives you the added benefit of being able to control your comfort.
Do some desk workouts and take a walk every now and then so you’re not hunched over a screen for most of the day. You’ll notice that some workplaces encourage standing desks and raise their computers to eye level. Whether you try out a standing desk for the day or buy yourself a new cushion for your desk chair, do whatever makes you most comfortable.
You’ll know a place is working for you by the amount of work you can get done there. Try out a few locations in your house and you’ll see what suits you. Yes, looking out at your garden might seem really romantic, but if at the end of the day you find yourself spending more time wondering where your cat is going when he jumps over the wall than working, then it might be better to face away.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be bothered or disturbed. Make sure your family knows not to disturb you in your office space when you’re working. Whether that means they don’t come into your home office or your bedroom till 4, make sure they understand that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you aren’t working and providing for your family. If you get easily distracted by your phone and don’t need it for work then leave it in another room. You will be surprised at just how much extra you’ll get done when your office space is a phone-free zone.
Now that you’ve set-up your new office, enjoy it! Organize a Zoom call with your co-workers to show off your new space and then get that work DONE!
-Info provided by Kevin Bhagat, The Writing Cooperative