Switching from a work office to a home office can be an awkward transition, to say the least.
Now you’ve got a slew of new distractions to deal with while you try to work. The kids are yelling, the laundry needs to be done, and you can’t help but wonder what you’ll make for dinner.
How do you focus on work when you’re working out of your own home?
A lot of your success has to do with how your office is set up. Keep the below tips in mind when setting up your home office:
Pick the best room.
You want to be selective about where to set up your home office. When you’re looking for the best office area, consider the following:
- Is it quiet? Noise will be one of the greatest distractions that you’ll be dealing with. Whether it’s your roommate, your kids, or your partner, it’s hard to ignore the bustle outside your door as you try to work. Look for the quietest room in the home—one that has a door will be the best fit.
- Is it private? You can expect to be in a lot of Zoom calls when you’re working from home, whether that’s with clients or your co-workers. Privacy is important. If you’re setting up your office in the corner of a busy room, purchase a divider to create a barrier.
- Does it have natural light? Setting up your desk by a window can be beneficial to your workflow. One study showed that natural light decreases drowsiness and increases productivity. When your office is flooded with sunlight, you’ll have an easier time feeling awake and staying focused.
Buy ergonomic supplies.
If you’re employed full-time, you spend 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, and roughly 2080 hours a year at your desk. An investment in your physical health is one that will pay off. Don’t pick the least expensive option—pick the most comfortable one.
When you’re shopping for the best home office chair and desk, look for ones that will support your body. This extends to your mouse, keyboard, and footrest, as well. If you notice that your back is sore at the end of your workday, then your body needs more support. This is just one of many self-care tips to practice at home while social distancing.
Our bodies are with us for the duration of our lives. If we are distracted by aches or fatigue, we won’t be able to produce quality work. The success of your home office depends on how well you support yourself.
Make it your own.
This isn’t just any office—it’s your office. Even though you’re at home, you’re still dealing with the same stress that you experienced at work. With everything that’s happened this year, personal touches can make a difference in how you feel day-to-day. Customize your office with some special things, like:
- Plants. Nothing rivals the smell of fresh and floral houseplants. Adding a touch of green to your desk can encourage you to stay focused and keep going.
- Family photos. Having to stay home for the holidays this year isn’t easy for anyone. If you have family members who live abroad, keep photos of them on your desk. It’s nice to see a familiar face when you’re working alone all day.
- Knick knacks. Your desk can be more than a stack of papers and a laptop. Mementos of past trips, hobbies, or events you’ve attended can make your office truly feel like it’s yours.
How we feel impacts the way we work. When going to all this trouble, you might ask yourself: does your mindset matter? The answer is a resounding yes. A bland, generic room might bore you and lead to easy distractions. Center yourself with reminders of who you are and where you’ve been. You might find that it helps you stay focused.
Use your office for work only.
Have you ever heard of sleep hygiene? To get the best quality of sleep, it’s recommended that you only use your bedroom for resting. This allows you to associate your bed with sleep rather than watching TV, browsing your phone, or other stimulating activities.
You can apply that same concept to your home office. Keep your work separate from the rest of your household, and you’ll find it easier to focus when you’re in the office. Take out the gaming system, ironing board, and chess set. Dedicate your office to work only. This has another benefit: it allows you to separate home from work. If you designate just one room (or one part of a room) for your job, you will be able to leave it behind once you close the door at the end of your day.
Your home office might not be perfect, but with the above tips, you can improve it in various ways. Even if you miss your cubicle at the workplace, you know that you can return there someday. In the meantime, take the time to set up a home office that’s optimized, personalized, and tailored to your needs.