Until recently, regular work from home wasn’t an option for many employees. However, in these uncertain times, more employers are seeing the value of having a workforce that can easily transition to remote work with little disruption to operations.
If you’ve transitioned to working from home on a regular or semi-permanent basis, you might consider upgrading your home office or work area to help you maintain productivity. Though working from home can come with a different set of distractions than going into the office, there are a few things you can do to help you remain focused and efficient.
Here are a few tips to consider when designing or refreshing your home office space.
Convert a Space into Your Home Office
If you will be working from home for the foreseeable future, you might consider converting a space into your home office. Choose a space away from noise, family members, or other distractions, and with ample lighting and electrical outlets. Spare bedrooms, sunrooms, basement areas, dining rooms (consider a room divider), and even walk-in closets or other unused nooks can all be converted into home office spaces.
Choose the Right Window Coverings
When choosing a location for your workspace, the amount and quality of light is important to consider. While natural light is preferable and can boost productivity, too little or too much natural light can make working uncomfortable. If your home office space has windows, invest in blinds or shades that diffuse light and enable you to adjust the amount of light entering the space (much like the commercial window coverings at your place of work). Here are a few examples to consider:
Commercial Motorized Window Shades
Adjusting the amount of light that enters your space throughout the day is easier with commercial motorized window shades that can be programmed to raise and lower on a schedule, or via a remote control or smartphone application (depending on the product).
Glare and light intensity can certainly make a workspace less comfortable, but so can an office that’s too hot or too cold. Window treatments designed to help moderate the room’s temperature will make you less reliant on your cooling system. Cellular shades, for example, have honeycomb-shaped air pockets that trap warm summer air and cold winter air. In addition to keeping you comfortable, this can also help lower your energy bills.
Light-Filtering or Blackout Shades
If your office space has large windows facing a busy street, construction or another visually stimulating view that makes concentrating difficult, installing blackout shades may help keep you focused. Alternately, a light-filtering solar shade can achieve a similar effect, without completely blocking out natural light.
Consider Computer Monitor Setup
To further help eliminate glare, you’ll want to ensure your computer is positioned in a way that the light source is in front of you. Or, you might consider positioning your monitor so that it faces north or south, to prevent shadows from casting across your screen.
Incorporate Natural Elements
An office with a minimal, clutter-free design that includes natural materials will reduce stress and help you maintain focus and productivity. For example, furniture or window blinds made of wood or other natural materials in earthy tones are a popular choice for home offices, because of their calming effect.
Add Personal Touches
One benefit of working from home is that you have complete freedom over the design of your workspace. Make sure that the design reflects who you are, and contains items that bring you joy. That doesn’t mean filling your space with distracting nicnacs, but instead, thoughtfully choosing pieces that motivate, calm, uplift or inspire. This can include plants, motivational posters, art work, or pictures of your family, friends, pets or travels.
Communicate Your Needs
When you’re in your home office, you’re working; this should be communicated to all members of your household. They need to understand and respect that even though you are home, you are still working. Establishing a schedule with set visiting times can help you and your family or roommates achieve balance.
Limit Distracting Devices
If you are easily distracted by your smartphone or other electronic devices, consider leaving it in another room. Schedule breaks to check devices, or wait until the end of the workday. This strategy can be applied to anything else in your home that distracts you.
Undoubtedly, working from home comes with its perks. And with the right home office setup, you can find your work-from-home groove, and maintain productivity and efficiency.