Most of us thought the temporary setup of home-working in 2020 would be far gone by now, but as we can see, that turned into the way we’ll be working for the foreseeable future. Some experts suggest that even when the COVID-19 pandemic as far forgotten, we will still be splitting our time between home and office for work. Some, or most, may never even go back.
As we enter year three of the work-from-home era, it’s time to upgrade our home workspaces to Here’s how to make your workspace work for you. As we enter year three of working from home, that makeshift office doesn't cut it anymore. Here's how to upgrade your WFH space to make it feel productive — and more permanent.
We are going on three years of home-work life, and it’s about time to upgrade our home workspaces to make them more functional, more professional and more comfortable. Here's how to upgrade your work-from-home space to make it feel productive — and more permanent.
1. Claim Your Work Space
We get it, not everyone has the luxury of having an extra room they can turn into an office space. If you’re in this camp, select an area of your home and declare it your work area. Write it down on that family chalkboard if you must. Set your brain up for success by telling yourself and others that this is where you do your work. Wherever you choose, commit to it. Work there every day. (No hopping from spot to spot!) Then, set up your workspace to create an environment for you to succeed in, and pay attention to everything from lighting to accessories.
2. More Light, More Life
Humans are creatures of light, and having the proper lighting in your home work-space is crucial. Lighting has loads of affects on our mood, energy, and focus throughout the day. Don’t settle for the default overhead light that was already in this spot of your house. You want to set up an array of lighting for all different purposes. Consider a lamp that is adjustable so you can point it in the direction you need it during calls. Add ambient light with a desktop or floor lamp that diffuses light through a shade or bounces it off a wall or ceiling. The goal: To bathe the entire space in soft light.
Ring lights are pretty popular for zoom calls. It’s not about vanity, but professionalism. If you rely on many conference calls a day, the people you are talking to need to see your face clearly on screen.If you’re lucky enough to have natural light in your home workspace, great! Not only does natural light help your Zoom lighting (just be sure to sit facing a window), but it also can improve your mood and work accuracy and reduces drowsiness, headaches and eyestrain.
3. Declutter ASAP
When was the last time you actually took the time to organize and clean your workspace? Now is the time. Toss anything that needs to be thrown out, put those stray pens in one decorative container and file the piles of paper. Make sure you have all your workday essentials close at hand, and move all non-essentials elsewhere. Clutter is a major distraction, and any clutter in the background of your workspace will look poor on zoom meetings. Cleaning up your workspace isn’t just about appearance, either. Research has shown that cluttered spaces can negatively affect our stress levels and hinder our ability to focus.
4. Background Check
You know the drill, keep the background of your home workspace tidy and uncluttered. If you have a designated room or enough area behind your desk, get creative and show off your style. Hang some of your favorite art pieces, a snowboard, or a collection of interesting books and objects on your bookshelves. If you’re unable to change your backdrop, consider adding a filter to create a virtual one instead, or blur out your background so it’s not a distraction.
5. Upgrade Your Home Office Furniture
It’s important to always make sure you have what you need to stay healthy and comfortable while working from home. Instead of hunching over on a desk stool over your phone or laptop, choose an office chair that supports your back and a desk that’s the right height for your frame. Try a standing desk, so you’re not sitting all day, and consider getting a monitor stand to elevate your screen for the most comfortable viewing. If you’re looking for a DIY solution, create your own monitor stand by using a few large hardcover books to raise your monitor. Investing in ergonomic furniture can keep you healthy by preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strains and lower back injury.
6. Divide and Conquer
Consider a room divider if you do not have a separate room in your home that you can dedicate to your office. Folding-style dividers can easily be stashed at the end of a work day, and help create privacy during the day. Bookshelves also work as a more permanent divider. Dividers will screen out distractions, block some background noise and even provide a backdrop for Zoom calls. Consider adding a white noise machine or using noise canceling headphones to help block out even more background distractions.
7. Your Space, Your Vibe
Your boss doesn’t have to approve of your facilities that reflect your personality. Hang up some art that you like or surround yourself with a bunch of plants. Have your dog right next to you. Set up an aromatherapy diffuser, and paint the walls your favorite color. Create an inspiration board and fill it with things that make you happy, like images of your family, friends and pets or pictures of your dream vacation spot. This is your space. If an object makes you happy, calm and productive, put it in your line of sight.