Set Up Your Home Office To Inspire Productivity
The emergence of COVID-19 and the advent of a digital transformation era has encouraged many companies to move to a work-from-home model for their employees, not by choice but by necessity. Many of us now have to bring the office home and learn to share it with the rest of the family. Many people think working from home is kind of awesome because your daily commute is eliminated, you can now snooze your alarm for an extra hour because getting to work doesn’t take a lot of time than simply getting out of bed. While this may seem like a delight, remote work also comes with its challenges. More often than not, working from home without any preparation can be very hard especially when it’s your first time adapting to your new habits. You find yourself in a working environment where there are no bosses or co-workers, no direct supervision and you get to make every decision. This new reality can make it very hard to stay focused on tasks and avoid temptations. For instance sneaking in to watch a movie or your favourite program on TV, having long calls with your friends, procrastinating tasks, staying in bed during work hours and going out to do other things. It can be very overwhelming at first because you are used to having part of your work schedule set by someone
Here are some things to consider if you want to set up your home office to be productive and organized.
1. Have a designated workspace
Having a place solely for working helps to establish boundaries between work and personal life and also helps you to stay focused. All you need is a desk or a home office. Often it is difficult to switch between home and office mode when there are no boundaries, set working area or when your home office is not separated from your bedroom or living area. When it comes to setting up your home office, there are no strict rules to it but there are some general guidelines that can help you maintain productivity. When setting up your home office, be sure to have a workspace designated for the single purpose of working. This place should be different from your place of relaxation to help switch between home and work mode. The environment we put ourselves in has so much influence on our motivation and attitude to work therefore it’s important to have a working area that puts you in that working environment. In case there isn’t enough space in your home to set aside a permanent place for your remote work, you can make do with what you have. You can get creative and set up a temporary workspace each day. For example, after having your breakfast in the morning, you can clear your dining or kitchen table and set it up for work. The most important thing is to set it up and remove all distractions when working. This brings us to the next point.
2. Avoid distractions
This is one of the major issues when it comes to working remotely from home; Dealing with all manner of distractions. At home, you have everything at your disposal and that’s a temptation you need to overcome. Get rid of all elements that cause distractions like, putting your phone on airplane or ‘do not disturb mode’, moving away from the television especially when someone is watching it, hiding the TV remote and video games. In general, move away and don’t face anything that will cause you to lose focus. There are also distractions from people who live in the same space as you. In this instance, the best way is effective communication. You should let them know when you are busy with work and don’t need any disturbances. You can even go ahead and set a schedule together with your family for them to know that during that period, you are working and need some privacy. Also, make sure to set your workplace area away from the general play area for you not to be affected when they are also having their time.
3. Maintain a strict routine
Even more than in a regular office, maintaining a strict routine is essential when you’re working from home. As much as possible, try and maintain the same routine as you would in the office. Start work on time every day, stick to the same time for your lunch break and close at the same time every day. The key here is consistency. Maintaining the same routine everyday programs your body and mind to it. Most of the time because of the freedom in remote working, you might end up doing things as and when you feel like it. You snooze the alarm and wake up on your terms, hence, starting work at irregular and inconsistent times. Maintaining a strict routine also means waking up at almost the same time every day for work. This also means putting on your work ready clothes to take you away from that relaxation mood into office mood. As much as it is comfortable to work in your pyjamas, please don’t. If you want to work effectively from home, optimizing your daily routine will help you get a great start to your day and help you stay more productive.
4. Make a priority list
Having a to-do list right next to you acts as a physical reminder of your priorities for the day. You should detail out everything you are going to do for the day, in the order that you are going to do them. It is easy to do anything that comes to mind when you are working remotely from home. You might be working and suddenly remember you need to do some house chores then you get right on it. These things are usual interruptions when working from home. To combat this, make a priority list, follow your plan and check off your work task list as you complete them. This helps give you a sense of accomplishment.
Another reason why you might want to have a priority list is that you might want to avoid finding yourself in a multitasking situation. Whilst this may seem like getting a lot done in a small amount of time, it is rather counterproductive. It’s either you lose focus on one task, make errors in the execution of another task or even spend more time on tasks than would normally require if you completed them one after the other. Focus on one task at a time, complete each task within a set timeframe before you move on to the next task
5. Have all your work tools at hand
You don’t want to be getting up all the time to go look for things when working. It can make you lose concentration and slow you down. There is also the possibility that in the process of getting something from another place in the house, you might stumble on something and your attention will be redirected into performing that activity. For productivity, efficiency and focus purposes, keep all essential items you need for your work at arm’s reach.
6. Make your home office feel alive
In the office, you may have people and other things that make your work office feel alive. You can incorporate that same idea in your home office. Experiment with colour, lighting and ambience to figure out which one helps you stay focused, concentrated and inspired. If your home office desk looks bare or empty, you can make it more inspiring like introducing some mini plant life on your office desk. Aside from the fact that the plant adds some visual interest to your office space and helps brighten the place, it also plays a major role in heal improvement. According to a study by NASA of interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement, they found that plant play a major role in removing organic chemicals from indoor air, making the air around us cleaner. Other things you can incorporate to break the sterility of the room may include a framed mini art paint to add a pop-up colour, a mesh desk organizer and some sticky notes.
7. Have a good rest.
There is no rush in the morning to commute to work, there is no traffic to deal with in the morning, there is no superior to question you when you are late to work so you are tempted to stay up very late and binge-watch your favourite movie series. Your work performance gets affected when you don’t have enough rest. Your mind needs to have sufficient rest to stay sharp the following day so make it a point to sleep early and at a consistent time. During work hours, have some rest periods in-between to stretch yourself and refresh yourself to stay productive throughout.
As a bonus tip, maintain an open line of communication with your colleagues and managers. Discuss things with your colleagues as you would if you were in the office, communicate with your superior often with the progress of tasks and other work-related issues. The open line of communication help put you in work mode and also sends a signal to your managers and colleagues that you are working effectively.
Working remotely can produce the same level of productivity as working from the office or even more. It is just a matter of putting things in place to accommodate your new working environment and style. Use these six tips as guidelines to set up your home office to inspire productivity.