As so many of us are still working from home, it’s time to transform the makeshift offices at our kitchen tables into more authentic workspaces that increase efficiency, creativity, productivity – and actually bring us joy.
We must admit, sitting crossed leg with the computer on our laps in the living room isn’t ideal for eight hour or longer work days.
While it was fine for a few weeks, as businesses are continuing to implement work-from-home policies as a mainstay, a real home office in your apartment is needed for success. Working at home (known as WFH) has advantages. It provides flexibility and the lack of commute saves us time and money – and has environmental benefits. It does, however, blur the line between your personal and professional life. The solution is space to separate both.
To do so, you most likely by now understand your basic needs for WFH. Do you need a work table as well as a computer desk? Would a standing desk space make you more energetic? Do you need file cabinets? Any additional equipment?
It is worthwhile to consider a desk table instead of, or in addition to, a chair so you can stand and work at times. This healthy option can improve fatigue and stiffness from sitting too long. Ergonomics is important in choosing furniture and setting up your office to ensure that you don’t end up with back, wrist or other issues. Yoga balls make great chairs! Many of us have learned now that hunching forward unnaturally over our workspace causes discomfort just hours into the day.
Now that you know what your home office should entail, you need to start working on your space to accommodate it. Ideally, it should provide privacy—such as a spare room with a door. This reduces noise, which is crucial if you are on the phone or Zoom chats. If you don’t have that much space to dedicate to an office, partition an area off from the rest of the room.
- Decorate. Adding plants or perhaps a framed certificate, to make it comfortable, alive and professional.
- Clear your new office from clutter. A desk surrounded by storage boxes, crafts and spare clothing will only cause stress.
- Natural light is important, so ensure your space is near enough a window. Natural light has been proven to boost moods and can also help with eyestrain and headaches.
- Feng Shui, which recommends arranging the room and placing objects in specific areas to ensure good energy is flowing, is a philosophy to research when finishing your space to make it more comfortable and productive.
- In Feng Shui, for example, most people will feel more relaxed with their desk facing a window or door, rather than with their back to a door. Facing a window is preferable because the natural light is energizing. If you cannot arrange your desk at an angle which allows you to see both the door and window, place a mirror on the wall in front of you so you can see what’s behind you. It boosts confidence and the feeling of security.
- Hang art on the wall for inspiration. Bare walls do not inspire.
- Sound is positive energy when it’s not over-bearing. Open a window and enjoy the singing of the birds nearby. Place a small water fountain in a corner (away from computers). Feel the fresh air.
- When your choosing color theme, think of the skills you need to succeed in your career. If your career is stressful, think monochrome muted tones. All Tan -Pantone Ash 16-3802. All White -Pantone Brilliant White 11-4001. All Blue -Pantone Mosaic Blue 14-4528. Click here to learn more.
- If you need an energizing color for your home office, Psychology Today recommends greens for creativity. Pantone Golden Lime 16-0543. Click here to learn more.
- End your day making sure your office is organized for the next. Remove coffee cups, mail, extra paper, clean off your desktop. It will make the following day easier and ready to seize the work day!
Once you are set up, keeping dedicated hours can help you from overworking or getting distracted from work. The benefit of WFH is flexibility, so of course there may be days that you work a little longer or mornings you sleep a little longer, but track your time.
Finally, when the day is over, have an end of day ritual. Shut down work equipment and do something to “call it a day”. Move to another room or outside with a cup of tea or a book; go for a run; walk around the block; or engage a friend or family member in non-work-related conversation.
By separating your work and personal spaces in your apartment, you achieve a better balance that will make working at home a benefit for your success and happiness.