Amidst all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and its immediate aftermath, one thing is for sure—we’re all spending a lot more time at home in 2020. For many of us, this has involved abruptly transitioning from the office to working from home. Not having a morning commute is nice, but being able to feel comfortable, stay focused, and be productive at home can be difficult when you’re not used to or set up for it. In this blog post, we’ll give you tips for creating a home office environment—quickly, and without breaking the bank.
1. Have a dedicated office space to cut down on distractions
Working from the couch on a laptop with Netflix playing in the background may sound nice, but isn’t really conducive to staying productive, and while we all love our kids, when they run into the room while you’re on a virtual meeting, it’s distracting for everyone. Having a dedicated room or space to work in will help you minimize distractions and stay focused. Try to find a quiet room or corner of your house that’s outside of the most heavily trafficked areas. If you don’t have a whole room available for office space, carve out a functional work environment from another room. You could set up a desk near the window in your bedroom, repurpose a formal dining room, or make a workspace in the basement.
2. Set up your essentials
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to work, you’ll want to set your space up with some home office essentials. You need a few pieces of furniture for a functional working space, including a desk with enough room for a computer and any other materials that you need to keep handy. You’ll want to get a desk chair with adjustable settings and good lumbar support so that you can work comfortably, a storage system to help you stay organized, and good lighting so that you’re not straining your eyes all day.
3. Stay Organized
Staying organized is a critical component to successfully working from home. Having space for files, supplies, and other necessities will make it easier to find and work with everything you need throughout the day. Wall shelves, filing cabinets, mail organizers, drawer dividers, folders, and binders work great for staying organized. If you don’t have much space to work with, consider installing floating shelves behind your desk to maximize storage space.
4. Troubleshoot your tech
If you’re working from home, chances are you’ve heard this at least once recently: “Can you hear me okay?” As meetings have migrated to a virtual environment, we’ve all had to adjust to using new technology to stay connected. You’ll want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with your company’s preferred communication platform. Before you jump on that important video conference, try setting up a practice meeting with one of your co-workers to make sure that your sound and video capabilities are all running smoothly.
5. Add some personality
Chances are, you’re going to be spending a good part of 2020 working from home, so you might as well enjoy the space you’re working in. Decorating your home office environment can create an atmosphere of inspiration in which you can do your best work. Adding artwork, photos, and fun desk accessories to your home office will help turn it in to a place that you want to be. If you’re on a budget, find some decorative accessories in other areas of your home that you can move to your office.
6. Let nature in
Just because we’re having to spend a lot more time indoors lately doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate nature into our daily routine. Consider situating your home office next to a window. It will give you something nice to look at when your eyes need a break from the computer screen, and the natural light will help keep you alert. Plants are also an invigorating addition. According to The Sill, studies have shown that indoor plants:
Boost mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity
Reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats, and colds
Clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen
Add life to a sterile office, give privacy, and reduce noise levels
“Working from home may come with challenges, but it’s important to remember that those of us who are able to do so are fortunate. Having job security and being able to work safely from home right now is a privileged position to be in, and while the recent disruptions have definitely presented some obstacles, none of them are impossible to overcome.