Home offices used to be seen as a nice “bonus” for those who just couldn't leave their work at work. Now, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic it’s a necessity for a lot of homeowners who are now working their “9 to 5” within the confines of their own homes.
Having a dedicated room for work can prove to be immensely helpful, especially for anyone with a house full of people at this time. If you are utilizing your home office space regularly for the first time you may be seeing a bit of disconnect between your working from home productivity level and your office productivity level.
A lot of the times that can be due to your surroundings (your actual office space). There are many home office organization tips that can help ease your mind and systemize your space. But, is that all you need? Let us help you figure out how to make your home office more productive:
Separate from high traffic areas
A lot of homes start out with a home office that is later transformed into other rooms such as a nursery, workout room, or simply a bonus room. If your home office has been taken over by a whole new space that can’t be converted back into an office easily that can be a little stressful. Especially if you find yourself working completely from home. If this is the case, try to find a small corner to stick your work desk in.
Whether it be in the living room, the loft, or even the bedroom - look for a quiet nook in the home to set up shop in. Try to avoid the high traffic areas. For example, while your bedroom may not be ideal it will probably be more suffice than the family room where the kids or other people you live with are likely to congregate.
Once you’ve designated your office corner try to separate it from the room it’s in and create a home office layout. Invest in a room divider or place your desk away from the wall and make the front of your desk the dividing factor. Utilize your homemade cubicle to the best of your abilities! We’ll show you how a little later.
Declutter on the Daily
Nothing adds to work stress more than a cluttered desk. Try to remember that your desk sets the tone for your work day and the more organized your desk the more organized your day will go. Let us help with some declutter your home office tips.
Try ending each day with some light decluttering: throw away any trash/snack wrappers, take any plates, mugs, or cups to the kitchen, organize any papers that were printed, and remove anything on your desk that is not work related. Once you’ve decluttered your desk don’t forget to wipe it down with clorox wipes to ensure a clean / sanitized workspace.
Decluttering doesn’t end at your desk though. Before you leave the office for the day take a look around and tidy up: take out the trash, fold any blankets, and pick up anything on the floor. This will all secure a fresh start to your next morning.
Dress for Work
No, we don’t mean you need to throw on a suit and tie or your best blouse just for your one Zoom meeting today. Instead, we encourage you to use daily hygiene which will boost your energy and ensure a productive workday. So, start with the basics: brush your teeth, brush your hair, and at the very least step into something other than your PJs from the night before.
This won’t just help with your hygiene and productivity it will also help your mental health as it will encourage daily motivation.
Make sure you’re properly equipped
It’s a hard transition from office building that’s stocked with every office supply you could ever need to your work desk that doesn’t even have a pen in sight. In order to have a more productive workday make sure your home office is fully stocked with your everyday work essentials.
Try to dedicate some time on the weekend to stocking your home office. Gather some pens, pencils, sticky notes, paper clips, highlighters, staples and stapler, and even some hand sanitizer. Keeping small things like this in your desk can help you remain focused during the day and stop you from running all over the house looking for a sticky note when you’re on a call.
Additionally, make sure your office includes all the equipment your work office has such as a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. You can’t be expected to highly function without the proper tools.
From there, keep an eye out for any additional equipment you might want to invest in for your home office. Maybe you’ve realized you have a lot of neck pain. Certain smaller tools such as a monitor stand and laptop stand can do wonders for your neck and back. You may also want to invest in a height-adjustable standing desk to help reduce back pain and improve your overall health.
Create your own decor
One added benefit of a home office is that you can make the space completely your own (and you should) by creating your own home office design. Surround yourself with objects, art, design, and trinkets that inspire you.
While yes, we realize that work is oftentimes very serious, it’s important to surround yourself with items that bring you joy. These items aren’t just there to make you happy though. Instead, they will continue to inspire you in your work and keep your mind from wandering off aimlessly throughout the day.
Utilize your wall space
Oftentimes office work spaces have white boards for you to create / draw out your ideas while most home offices don’t include any such things. Try investing in a bulletin board or maybe your own white board for your home office.
A bulletin board or white board can help you set reminders, organize your workflow, or even plan a multi-layer project. Sometimes you need to see your work to fully grasp and tackle the workload and what better way to use your wall space than that!
Limit your distractions
No, we don’t mean the office decor we mean outside distractions. A lot of times people think that working from home means “working” from home. You need to make it clear that your job is still important and you aren’t available 24/7 just because you are no longer in an office setting.
For instance, set boundaries with the people you live with. Let them know that while you are working from home they should continue on as if you aren’t even there unless you’re taking a break. We know this isn’t always possible to implement but if you can set these boundaries, you should.
Plan your breaks
Oftentimes when switching from working in an office to working at home you can find yourself feeling overworked. That’s because of the negative outlook some employers have about the “work from home culture.” Some employers believe that if they can’t see you working, you’re obviously not working.
Whether you feel this pressure or not, it’s important that you still get short breaks throughout the day. If you find that you're not taking these necessary breaks you may need to start scheduling them.
Try picking three (fifteen minute) time slots that will work for you every single day of the week and dedicating them as your planned breaks. Write these times out on a sticky note and place them on the edge of your monitor so you don’t forget. Double down and put them in your Google Calendar so that your computer will notify you when your breaks are coming up.
Short breaks can be invaluable to your mental health and productivity.
Leave the office when you’re done
The added pressure to prove to your boss that not only can you work from home, but you can thrive while working from your home office can also lead to longer work hours.
In order to ensure that you aren’t burning out mid-week try to stick to the same office hours you kept before COVID-19.