There are an estimated five million employees — 3.6% of the entire U.S. workforce — that work from home at least half of the time. Undoubtedly, due to the current state of things, this number is only going to rise in the coming years, with more and more work being conducted remotely. While working from home can offer many benefits, it can also present some unique challenges if you are not accustomed to operating in your own home workspace. In fact, you may even begin looking at houses for sale in your area that have additional space for a bigger and better home office. If you’re struggling with your current home office, here are some ways you can create a more inviting space that you’ll actually enjoy working in.
Creating Your Office Space
When it comes to working from home, the last thing anyone wants is to be stuck at the dining room table. Not only does this make it difficult to stay organized, but it can make it hard to get into a ‘work’ frame of mind. Creating your own designated office space is essential for helping remove you from “home mode” and get you ready to start the workday.
If you have a spare room that’s currently only being used for storage, it’s worth considering renting out a personal storage locker to help free up the space to be used for work. This will give you a clean slate on which you can create your own office space to help separate your work from your home life. Once you have cleared a designated space, you can start adding in more comfortable amenities.
If the room you’re considering using is currently carpeted you may want to consider adding in custom ceramic tile to help give it a clean, chic, and easier to maintain finish. Since you won’t have a janitor to maintain your office space when working from home, investing in an easy to clean floor can be a real boon. Similarly, the tile can help give you a more business-like feel to help your brain get into work mode.
Tilted floors can also make it easier to use office chairs, which aren’t designed to easily roll on thick carpets. If your job requires you to be in front of the computer for long hours, a chair like this will be essential and it’s not something you want to skimp on. Consider investing in one with ample support, that is designed to be comfortable for long periods of time. Trying to sit for long hours in an uncomfortable chair can create back pains that will only worsen the longer you continue to use the chair. In the long run, a quality chair can work wonders when it comes to making your home office as comfortable as possible.
Window shutters are another thing to consider investing in for your office space, especially if your computer is set up where the sun can shine directly on it. This can create harsh glares that make it harder to see and concentrate on what you’re doing. Being able to shut out this harsh light can help make the space easier to work in and more comfortable during the summer months. For optimal lighting, consider adding a soft desk lamp that can instead create a cozy and less stressful environment. Lamps like this will also be necessary if you’re working from home late into the night or for when it gets dark out before the workday is done.
For optimizing your online workspace, you may wish to consider dedicated server hosting which can give you optimal control over your online environment. This can include multiple cloud storage options, customized virtual environments, dedicated servers with high security and performance optimizations, and access to professional help for any questions you may have. Having dedicated server hosting is another way to ensure all of your work is protected and consolidated in an easy to manage way. Depending on the type of work you will be doing, this can help make your workday easier and much more secure.
Another addition you should consider is the addition of quality speakers so you can play some productive tunes during the workday. Sitting in silence can get old really fast, and having additional noise can help you tune out the outside world while allowing you to focus on your tasks. Speakers like this can also be used for playing ambient sounds that mimic different places such as coffee shops, office buildings, beaches, or even rain and thunderstorms. Some people find that listening to sounds like this can help boost their productivity and it can help set the mood for whatever you’re trying to accomplish for the day.
Speaking of tuning out distractions, if you have kids in the house while working from home this can be a tricky thing to accomplish. While older kids will be able to manage fairly well and understand that you need to work, younger children may have a more difficult time. Parenting support is essential for being able to work from home without having the kids running in during your next Zoom meeting. If you live with someone who can watch the kids during this time, you’ll have an easier time; however, if you’re on your own you may wish to consider hiring outside help. For kids older than five, you may be able to keep them placated with activities like books, toys, games, or movies and shows on a streaming service. Most of the time, kids will be more than happy to sit and watch their favorite shows on repeat, although you may wish to incorporate some alternative activities to help break up their screentime. Having a babysitter around, for even a couple of hours during the workday, can help ensure that your kids are looked after and aren’t spending too much time in front of the TV.
Full Home Changes
While creating your optimal office space is something that (usually) won’t involve making large changes throughout the home, there are some broader changes that you should keep in mind. For instance, if your HVAC system isn’t working as it should, you’ll not only be facing an uncomfortable workday, but you won’t even be able to find relief once the day is over.
Having working heating and air conditioning is essential for working from home comfortably throughout the year. An HVAC service will be able to address any problems with your current system and allow you to create a temperate and comfortable home and workspace. If you’re only having problems in your office, you may also consider speaking with an HVAC professional to see if you have any ventilation blockages that might be hindering the hot or cold air from being correctly vented into that space. Addressing this sooner rather than later can make a huge difference when it comes to having an enjoyable workday.
Similarly, you may want to look at the energy companies near you and see what suppliers offer the best deals. Since you’ll inevitably be using more energy than usual while working from home, you don’t want to run the risk of paying a sky-high electric bill every month. Switching suppliers can often provide deals and price breaks that your current supplier doesn’t offer. Additionally, you may want to consider switching to energy-saving light bulbs and turning off all appliances you’re not currently using. For instance, if you know you won’t be using your printer for the day, simply keep it off until it’s needed next.
Another broader change is fixing any plumbing issues you may currently have in your home. It’s bad enough when the toilets are out of order in the office, but when it happens in your own home it just makes for a terrible experience overall. Instead of waiting for an unfixable clog to occur in the middle of your workday, consider getting all necessary plumbing repair completed as soon as possible.
In addition to the electric and plumbing, you may also wish to speak with your trash removal company if you know you’re going to have more trash than usual. Many a trash removal service will charge extra for additional cans, so you’ll want to know your options before putting everything out on the curb.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your office space you may also wish to have a professional come and check it out to make sure it can be safely used. Build up inside of a fireplace can be dangerous; however, fireplace services can easily take care of any problems and give you an excellent amenity to enjoy on cold winter workdays.
Making the Most Out of Your Space
If you’re new to working from home, sometimes even with an optimized office space it can be difficult to get into the right frame of mind for work. This is completely normal, especially since it’s so easy to think of how close your bed is and how nice it would be to get just five more minutes of sleep. Fortunately, there are great some ways to help you get you in the right headspace for work.
- Create a Morning Routine: Just as you would if you needed to drive to the office, make sure to create a morning routine to help get you out of bed and ready for the day. This can include taking a shower, getting dressed, making coffee, or even taking a quick jog. Some people may also drive to a coffee shop for their favorite drinks before heading to the ‘office’. If you’re having a hard time getting your mind in ‘work mode’ leaving your home to pick up breakfast or a cup of coffee can help trick your brain into thinking you’re ‘going to work’. Regardless of which type of routine you choose to set, remember that it can take a bit of time for it to stick. If you continue your routine and stick with it, eventually your brain will begin to associate it with getting ready for the workday.
- Schedule Breaks: When working from home it can be tempting to just plow through everything in a single go. However, just like you would have in a traditional office, consider scheduling breaks to help get you away from the computer screen or phone. An hour for lunch and a couple of 15-minute breaks spread throughout the day can help reduce monotony and give you a chance to stretch your legs. When taking these breaks, also remember to take them in their entirety. Set a timer on your phone to make sure you get enough time away from your workstation.
- Set Regular Hours: While sometimes your work will specify the times you need to start and finish, if you have no such guidelines it’s important to set them for yourself. This, coupled with your morning routine, will help make your workday go much smoother. For instance, if you’re not a nine to five type of person, consider setting your hours to be 11 to 7, giving you more time in the morning to wake up and get everything set up before starting work. Regardless of the hours you set, it’s important to make sure that you stick with them and resist the urge to keep setting your start time back so that you can get those five extra minutes every morning. (No matter how tempting it is.)
- Create an End of Day Routine: Just as you need to trigger your brain into work mode, it’s helpful to set an end of day routine to help you transition back into home mode. This can be something as simple as logging out and shutting down your computer or heading out for an evening walk. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to continue the routine consistently to help mark the end of the day.
Working From Home Successfully
If you’re new to having to work from home, the transition can be difficult at first. However, by creating your own designated office space and taking care to keep the space as comfortable as possible, you can begin to successfully take advantage of all the perks working from home can provide. While it may be difficult at first, with enough persistence you can begin to easily slip between work and home mode without any hassle. Remember to take the time needed to create the space that’s best for you as well as the routines and schedules that you need to help get you through the workday with as little stress as possible.