Does changing a few things around your work environment really do anything?
Our home is a sanctuary for everything we do when we are ready to hang our hats for the end of a workday or possibly just enjoy some time off to relax on a weekend. We want our home to be a safe place from all the things out there that can cause us stress. With the last few years of COVID being an unfortunate stall in most of our lives, many of us have had to adapt to some changes. One of these changes is having to work from home in order to help with social distancing and a way to help prevent the spread of the Corona Virus.
Some of us have to take a spare bedroom or even just a space that will allow us some desk space to work and set up what we need in order to be successful with our jobs. When most of us trying to quickly assemble a make-shift office, we start to get comfortable and forget that over time that WFH office may end up getting cluttered or even need an upgrade to help you be more efficient. Whether you just started working from home, or have been for a while, sometimes a mid-year change to your WFH office may be needed.
Changing your environment while you work can do many things for your efficiency while you work more than you think. Per Bon Secours: “After initially enjoying the benefits of remote work, such as no commute and the option to work in sweatpants, it is normal over time to start feeling like you are stuck in a rut. To help you stay productive as well as healthy, try to make a few of the following changes to your daily work-from-home routine.
Designating a space for work
Setting up an at-home workspace is important for your mental health as well as your daily productivity levels. Find a room in your house that fits your work-from-home needs. You might be lucky enough to have a private room for your home office. Just make sure you have proper lighting by choosing a space near a window or purchasing a floor or table lamp.
Don’t have an enclosed space in your home or apartment to work from? No worries! There are many ways to make a semi-private work zone that suits your purposes. Choose a space that is out of the way, such as a corner or a nook. To block off a workspace from other parts of a room, use room dividers, bookcases, or curtains.
Setting up your desk for work
To create the best home office setup, start with the right desk and chair. For the proper height, sit at your desk and check your elbows. They should be resting at a 90-degree angle when your palms are flat. If your budget allows, choose a desk that alternates from sitting to standing position. This is the best setup for your health and to avoid back pain.
To make your workspace comfortable, try more home office upgrades like:
A monitor with plug-and-play connections for other devices
A widescreen computer monitor or two computer monitors
An office chair that supports your spine
Lamps with ambient lighting
To create a more pleasing space to work from, add a few pops of personality. Ideas for decorations include:
A colorful painting
A leafy houseplant
A wall hanging
Tips for staying productive when working from home
Working from home requires discipline, patience, and a sense of humor. Here are a few tips that will help keep you on track and save your sanity while you’re working remotely.
Create a schedule and stick to it. It’s important to plan your workday just like you would in your office across town. Set aside work time in the morning, take an hour off for lunch, and enjoy a small break in the mid-afternoon. Or, if you’re more productive in the evening, set your schedule around those hours. Just make sure that you follow it.
Set boundaries for housemates or family members. Have a conversation with all the people you live with about your work schedule. Explain to them that during your work time, you shouldn’t be interrupted except for an emergency. You may have to clarify more than once what constitutes an emergency.
Continue to practice self-care. Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you should skip brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Make sure to practice all the types of self-care that you did when you were working away from home.
Wrap up your day with a ritual. You may like to finish your day by checking your emails one last time or by tidying up your desk. Either way, it’s a good idea to wrap up your work the same way every day. A ritual tells your mind that it’s time to be done with work for the day.”
All this information makes you think about why you haven’t taken the time to think this over before. The thing is we get caught up in our work that we sometimes forget to take a step back and reevaluate things or realize that we may end up doing more harm than good. Just as often as things happen in the office, stress can affect you while you work from home. You may start to feel burnout, stress from high work demands and etc. Doing something as simple as changing the organization of your WFH office or just doing something like switching some things on your work desk could help you focus. Taking away things such as distractions like your phone, or an iPad for example could help your focus. We all want a bit of a distraction while we work but having too much can do more harm than good.
Doing something as simple as taking away a visual component of entertainment while you work can do wonders. We all don’t realize how much time could pass just by taking a glance on your phone to see a social media notification, or just scroll a bit on some apps that you have. Try finding some enjoyment with an audiobook, or podcast. Being able to listen rather than watch something will help your subconscious be able to enjoy the entertainment without breaking focus on your work. Staying focused on your job more may be a great way to prove to your employers that you are capable of working from home, while at the same time you could possibly be for more responsibilities. Change is always needed, especially when those mid-year blues hit us. Remember that you can do this and remind yourself that even just a small change could do great things for you.