Tips for Turning Any Room Into a Home Office
The COVID-19 pandemic has employees across the U.S. continuing to work from home. If you’re one of them, chances are you’ve had to deal with occasional distractions, such as kids and pets. The reality, though, is that staying at home reduces your risk of infection and eliminates the need for daily commuting, among other benefits.
But what if you’re still struggling with this transition? How do you improve your productivity without sacrificing invaluable family time?
It all starts with a well-organized, office-like environment at home. And while some homeowners may go over the top with this space, you can opt for something simple.
Here are three tips for creating the perfect home office.
Gather all necessary equipment
The ideal home office has more than a desk and a computer. Since you’ll be spending eight hours a day or more in this space, you’ll need a few other supplies. Let’s take a look at four pieces of equipment worth considering.
You don’t want just any chair for your home office. Do yourself a favor and invest in an ergonomic chair that provides support for your entire body. It’s also good to check that the material suits your posture.
A number of professionals rely on a second monitor for improved efficiency. If you’re tired of switching between tabs on one screen, an additional monitor can make an immediate difference. This especially holds true for those who must juggle multiple tasks at once while still being responsive to emails and chats.
Perhaps you’re thinking about getting an ergonomic desk instead of an ergonomic chair. In either case, you’ll be glad you made such a purchase. Research shows that sitting for an extended period of time can be harmful to your health. Pro tip: Have a conversation with your doctor to see what kind of standing desk makes the most sense for you.
Strong internet connection
An unstable internet connection ruins any chance of getting work done at home. Save yourself the potential headache and install a router before moving forward with your efforts. Otherwise, you could find yourself working longer hours and losing the work-life balance you previously achieved.
Here are some best practices for maintaining a strong internet connection:
Place the Wi-Fi router at the center of your house.
Ensure there’s no barrier between your workspace and the router.
Verify the strength of the connection by downloading any relevant software application from a reliable source.
Prepare your workspace
By this point, you have the necessary components for a daily home office. But the space isn’t complete quite yet. Here’s how to go about decorating this room and transforming it into the home office environment you’ve always wanted.
Set your priorities
Decide what matters most when it comes to this space. Will you be reaching out to clients or attending conference calls on a regular basis? Then you’ll definitely want a quiet, well-ventilated room for handling business.
Let there be light
The last thing you want is to end up working in a dark room. That’s why we suggest opening up the blinds and allowing natural light to boost your productivity. If you absolutely have to work at night, consider LED lights to give your eyes a break.
Make it yours
This is a rare opportunity to decorate your workspace however you want. Break out the bright colors, display some of your favorite picture frames, and customize your home office in a way that will make you more enthusiastic about your job. With as much time as you’re going to spend in this room, why leave it plain and boring?
Keep it clean
We often forget that a home office, just like a cubicle, becomes dirty from time to time. So once you’re settled into your new work area, determine how frequently you’ll clean it. Whether it’s once a week or a few times per month, you’ll need to stock up on sprays, wipes, and sanitizers.
You’ll likely have distractions every day while working from home. Yes, your dog might bark during a conference call. Or maybe you’ll have to tend to a crying child every now and again. In any case, it’s imperative to focus on your work to the best of your ability.
Separate your workspace from living areas
Some professionals find it tempting to work in their bed or while watching their favorite show. However, this kind of multitasking is sure to hinder job performance and motivation. Make it a point to isolate yourself during your shift and leave the office once you’re done for the day.
This means sticking to a schedule, even if you have the flexibility to work from home. You should feel comfortable turning off notifications after office hours. And if you’re concerned about burnout, reach out to your manager.
Take it easy on yourself
You may never have the home office of your dreams. But you can set yourself up for success. Remember that everyone is adapting to their “new normal” these days.
Do the best you can with what you have, and be satisfied with that.