Is it possible to work, rest, and play under one roof? The onset of Covid-19 has put this to the test and many of us have found ourselves at home doing a once unimaginable balancing act.
While some may have already created a new perfect work-from-home atmosphere, others are still trying to figure out how to get the job done without being distracted by the looming TV, the endless request for snacks by the kids, or the temptation to sleep in just a little bit longer in the morning because, well, there’s nowhere to go!
But the world cannot stop turning and work we must. So, if you’re one in the crowd who still needs to create a zen-like home working environment during lockdown, then this article’s for you.
It all starts with your workspace.
It's important to create a calm environment that encourages productivity. If you have a workspace that you’re happy with, then you’re more likely to sit and get the job done.
Perfect your working-from-home-space with these useful tips:
1. First and foremost, define your workspace.
Whether it’s the kitchen, your bedroom, or a dark designated study, it’s important that you create a workspace in a room that’s going to work best for you.
If possible, try to physically separate work from the rest of your home life. Even if you don’t have enough rooms in your home to completely isolate your working area, you can still separate your set-up by say, using the kitchen table for eating and relaxing and the dining room table for work only. It goes without saying that you should pick a room that your broadband will have no trouble reaching.
Once you have a designated workspace, then you can move on to optimally perfecting it.
2. Setting Up a Creative Space
Home environments are typically more readily equipped to accommodate creative work. This is because we tend to add things to our spaces that inspire us. We also decorate our rooms to feel cosy and relaxing, and a cosy ambience tends to evoke a desire for achievement as we relax and feel secure within our own walls.
However, just because your work falls into a genre of creativity, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing extra you can do to improve your workspace overall. There are several ways to make a room even cosier. For example, you can use warm colours such as yellow, orange, or red to warm up a room. Or you can use plants to freshen up the air and give you comfort.
And then there’s the lighting.
A study conducted by Loughborough University  found that participants who were in an agreeable room accentuated by blue and red coloured lights, showed higher creative performance than students who worked on the creative tasks in a room with white light.
Previous research also shows that darkness or dim light can boost creative performance.
So, adjusting your lighting is one way to perfect your workspace if you are a creative.
3. Setting Up a Space for Concentration
If your work requires a high demand of concentration, then your focus needs to be on creating a workspace that has as few distractions as possible. You may even want to find a room where you can box yourself in without any distractions. If you don’t have a room you can use, you can set up a screen divider of sorts (better than nothing). Other aspects that might are bright light and no noise or quiet music.
So, for those accountants, coders, and other workers who have a job description that entails a high level of concentration, we advise you to choose a room at home that has bright lighting and a quiet atmosphere.
At the same time, it’s also important that you experiment to find what feels right for you, e.g. best level of light brightness, earplugs or no earplugs, soft music or no music, etc.
4. Set the Mood
Don’t expect to instantly slip into your new work-from-home routine. Even perfecting your workspace my take some trial and error at first – so, if you feel frustrated, just give it some time while you work on creating the ideal setting.
Set up a desk for yourself (or consider investing in a laptop stand if you have to resort to working from the sofa). Make sure you have access to all of the stationery or technology you need and – in general - create an area that mimics the setting you thrived in when you went into work. Invest in a mini water cooler, perhaps?
If you will be involved in many video call meetings, then you may also want to pay attention to your backdrop. For example, wall posters of your favourite thrash metal band may not impress your CFO.
5. Make Sure You Are Comfortable
This is important. If you are not comfortable where you are working, then you’re not going to be anywhere near as productive as you should be. Make sure you have a comfortable seat that gives you good back support (maybe ask your boss if you can bring your work chair home for the time being)? And you may also want to set your work surface up so that it sits at a height that won’t cause unnecessary strain.
If you are comfortable in your works space, then you are less likely to want to leave it (which is always more tempting when you are not supervised)!
6. Take Your Breaks Away from Your Workspace
Last, but not least, you need to make sure you take your breaks away from your working area. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and this rings true when it comes to work. Make a “no food rule” where you do not eat at your designated workspace. This will force you to eat your meals and take a break in a new room. If you can, spend your lunch break outdoors to get fresh air and some new inspiration. If you have kids, take breaks to play with them and set up a snack station so that they can feed themselves. Walk your dog, do some stretches, and water your plants. These small acts make working from home bearable and, you guessed it, possible!