Today, more and more individuals are taking advantage of the opportunity to work remotely.
And while there’s much to consider before you yourself make the decision to telecommute, once you’ve decided to take the leap, creating an ideal home office – one that’s constructive, comfortable, and free from distractions – is one of the crucial first steps.
So without further ado – here’s how you can create a home office that’s both productive and pleasant.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t get to have an office. Quite the contrary! Rather than struggling to focus from the couch or bedroom – spaces which are typically associated with leisure – designate an area of your house or apartment for work.
Dedicating a space for work not only helps put you in the right frame of mind during work hours, but it’ll save you the time and hassle of getting set up each day, and then cleaning up when it’s time for meals, or the workday has finished, for example.
While choosing your decor may seem like a cool perk – and, ok, it kind of is – it’s more than that. Carefully considering your home office environment can impact your attitude toward work.
When setting up your home office, give some thought to the:
Trying to mimic prior work routines – when you worked in an office, for example – helps you maintain the mental association between work and your home office.
Music is great for setting the tone of an environment. In fact, it has been proven to improve information processing and increase work output. Being productive at home, though, requires a mindset different from unwinding after work, gathering with friends, or even hanging out at your favorite cafe. So choose your playlist wisely.
Lyrics and complex musical structures have the power to distract. Nature sounds, on the other hand, can boost cognitive function and concentration, while classical music can enhance overall mood and focus.
Interestingly, video game soundtracks – specifically composed to enhance your gaming experience – can help you better fixate on the task at hand.
Social media is designed for you to check in for short and quick intervals. Checking in repeatedly during the course of a day, however, wrecks your productivity.
Unless you’re a social media marketer, or you’re handling customer success via social media chat tools, take steps to mitigate social media use during work hours:
Chaos takes many forms and, just like your social media use, adds up over the course of a day. Before you know it, you’ve spent the entire day organizing your workspace, doing laundry, making lunch, cleaning the house – you know, everything but your actual task list.
In the morning or, better yet, the night before, get all your supplies ready. Have your desk or workspace well-stocked with your essentials. Getting up to search for a document or a paper clip, for example, chip away at your productivity and could lead to other distractions. Moreover, prepare your snacks or lunch before starting work and save household chores for after hours.
Additionally, make sure to set boundaries with any roommates or houseguests – informing them of your workspace, work hours, and the peace and quiet you need during the workday.
The tools you need for your home office ultimately depend on your job and responsibilities.
Remember those days at the office when you dreamed of working from home? Eventually, though, the charm wears off and the home office brings about similar feelings of monotony.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your environment from time to time. Once or twice per week, on Fridays for instance, you could choose a new spot to work from – like a cafe, the library, or one of the popular co-working sites springing up in cities all over.
What’s more, you could choose a different spot for each task on your to-do list and, upon finishing a task, simply walk or bike to the next location; helping you gain not only a fresh perspective, but the added bonus of physical activity.
Working remotely is a major adjustment on many levels. Creating the ideal home office is no exception. With some careful preparation and strategic habits, your home office can suit your job and your personality – ensuring it’s not only a productive place to work, but a pleasant one, too.