Do you Workstation better and happier at home or in the office? Some adore working from home that brings opportunities to work on the laptop in your nightdress! Yet, probably everybody loves the office chats with office colleagues too. Not every job is possible through remote working from home. Now that working from home has become a new way of life amidst the pandemic get used to it. Love it or not, home duties are here to stay for quite some time, though nobody knows how long the nightmare will last. Hopefully, short.
Maybe some people are new to the work from home philosophy, though we realize the many advantages. Yet, some drawbacks may be found. Staying productive and serious about work in home surroundings amidst the chaos of family life and children may be challenging. Advice and tips are plenty regarding managing the workspace and routines at home. Pay heed to the body requirements. Besides, good food and rest, regular bathing and dressing are all needed.
If you find homework an encouraging and enjoyable experience, you need to sustain it. I wish to share a few ways to maximize productivity within the home office or corner. Work on them and perhaps the home would finally seem a more attractive workplace than the office!
1. Mind your physical needs adequately
I am reminded of Jean Armbrust’s book, ‘Proposals for the Feminine Economy,’ in which she states, ‘You have a body.’ Though that seems obvious, forgetting physical needs happens while very busy with work at home. Regarding office facilities, the well-equipped workstation and ergonomic chair may be lacking in the house. For those who do not regularly work at home, it may be only a little table and a basic chair that serve Workstation.
Setting up a home office infrastructure may not be required but consider the body requirements. How do you feel in your little workspace? Compared to the office situation, work at home allows a wide range of position changing! Go through many different postures like sitting on the sofa, and standing at the kitchen counter. Try sitting on the yoga block on the floor. Use the coffee table to work on. I laboured long and hard before I realized that sitting on a backless bench at the dining table suited me best. I could write for long sessions but had to tolerate severe shoulder pain along the way. Reaching physical comfort levels would require you trying out a range of positions and locations! Select the best.
2. Use the commuting time well
How much time and harassment got spent on commuting before the pandemic struck? Each day, maybe 30 minutes or even 2 hours were spent on the going and coming? What it means is that you have gained perhaps 3 hours to 8 hours each week? Wonderful indeed!
Put that saved slice of time to the best uses. Arrange it in the schedule on the calendar. Treat the saved time with respect as if in an office meeting.
Would you like to add that saved time to the free time? In over-busy lives, you don’t get to experience much of that. Yet, if so be it, heed the calendar alert and say goodbye to the tools. And stop working for a while.
3. Arrange a setting that appeals to the senses
Many office workplaces do not delight the senses. The administration thinks that workplaces should promote serenity and avoid anything that excites. Lacklustre shades and artificial surroundings amidst congested air-conditioned environments often feel miserable. The usual office is noisy and crowded from an open plan seating besides being too cold or warm. Can you work well in such a place?
Do you think the problem is overstimulation in the office? Probably, it is just the opposite. The idea of preventing disruption while you work in order to achieve the highest productivity leads to plain environments with no attractive features. The truth is what research findings prove that those plain spaces do not generate the best work. Instead, the exciting places decorated with artworks and living greenery that act as stimulation achieve so much more, 15% more by way of output. Allow workers to control what is placed where in the Workstation and you get 32% more output.
Working from home, you are able to do just that for yourself, like workers arranging the workplace on their own. You get a chance to create a sensory infrastructure geared to your intimate personal requirements. Get rid of whatever you consider monotonous. Would you like to use headphones that cancel noise to avoid distractions? Find the right temperature that facilitates your work best and maintain that.
Research ways to include excellent experiences amidst the work area. Would you like to display a picture or photograph to provide respite when you are not staring as usual at the screen? Audio systems soothe the mind, too like nature and forest sounds. Running water sounds? Ocean waves? Mugs, in vivid shades, make the morning coffee more stimulating.
Have you realized what happens during the long keyboard sessions, stuck to the screen? We neither touch nor smell anything. Why not cater to these sense faculties? I decided to cover my writing bench with sheepskin that is so different from the office scene with the soft touch. Perfume plays a role in my daily work too, with essential oils diffusing the air around my desk occasionally when I feel like it.
4. Don’t forget the sunshine exposure!
Most conventional offices have Workstation that do not allow sun exposure. It is a pity that all the light must come from bulbs and tubes. Daylight is minimal. Research reveals that exposure to daylight promotes better sleep among workers. They sleep 46 minutes more each night. Besides, they show less stress and are more active at work in the day. Light positively affects moods and immune systems. Light makes us alert and reduces stress. Light positively affects hormones and neurotransmitters.
While working at home, you can decide the conditions of work to suit yourself. Why not go for a workstation located near a window? Even if natural light is absent while you work, use lamps to increase brightness. Did you know that lots of blue light from screens keep us awake at night? The truth is that ample bright synthetic light during the day helps maintain the 24-hour internal clock.
While commuting to offices far away, some sunlight is attracted during the journey. At home, getting to work straight after sleep, washing and breakfast mean that the sun is lost. Since light affects the morning circadian rhythms, take a walk outdoors before commencing work.
5. May the Workstation be green
The little things sometimes have a significant impact. The potted plants in the work area not only purify the air but promote joy. It is a bitter struggle for plants to survive in congested offices, perhaps, but they will grow well in the home. Relax amidst work or after the project is done to gaze at the greenery. Plants reduce stress too, and enable concentration. A few will do, unlike Summer Rayne Oakes who had many in her Workstation.
6. Do you fancy work playlists?
I had difficulty with the changing roles at home. Going from dishwashing and folding laundry to work calls for quick transitions. The work itself may not be too much to your liking. Among writers’ jokes is the one about the feeling of the tidiest home when you work on a book.
Transitioning from chores to work has become a ritual. ‘Getting to work’ playlists is the answer. I have made a couple of them, one each for writing and email. If you begin with the same song each time, the playlists have become a catalyst that triggers my work focus.
You might benefit from other transition methods. A cup of tea or coffee, stretching exercises and a focus timer are alternatives. (I use the ORATARO app on my phone).
7. Enjoy the refreshing snacking breaks
Look through several guides that instruct you about working from home, and they mostly prescribe lunch breaks. Amidst my dynamic work session, I like to eat at the workstation. I do take occasional breaks too and enjoy the respite from work. I did say earlier that my most significant benefits from breaks are outings and activities.
I enjoy breaks for snacks also. While we mostly associate eating with energy alone, I consider them a delightful treat. Writer Gretchen Rubin thinks that treats motivate us and we feel cared for and full of energy. With your kitchen nearby, it is goodbye to fast foods and processed foods that are usually served in offices. Besides, I need not to eat from packets anymore!
I love the sight of cut fruit arranged in a circle on my plate. I also make sampler plates from whatever is stored in the fridge. Olives and pickles come in handy, among other edibles. Among further favourites at home are banana bread and energy balls. I freeze them for mid-week treats too. Being your office manager, think about personal choices to bring the caring theme into your life. Allot a space for treats in the daily schedule.
8. Get your dose of ‘play.’
Sure it is that the fundamental idea of offices is to motivate work. The majority view believes that work is just the opposite of play. According to play researcher Brian Sutton-Smith, depression is the opposite of work and not play. Working at home enables more of the play ideas. Start by arranging the workstation accordingly.
The creation of a playful workspace means that many opportunities for play will open up during the working day. These little things may be fundamental like the tiny spinning tops that interest me on my desk. I use them when I need ideas. You could go for something bigger and better. Do you fancy a trampoline to bounce up and down on? Would you like a hula hoop to motivate play? Why not exchange a desk chair for an exercise ball? When the mind is getting stressed with ideas, perhaps a giant Lego bowl or big puzzle could keep the hands busy?
Consider the ample spaces for decoration available on the walls. Relaxed pieces of decor like paintings done by children bring zest and innocent happiness to the environment. Charming little objects placed on the furniture, and that includes the work desk have similar exotic effects. My stapler looks cool with googly eyes! Productivity increases with the bits and pieces of beauty. Japanese research confirms that. These little things bring a sharper focus indeed.
Just imagine the office of your dreams if you never really visited one of them. Getting the home opportunity, let it be just what your idea feels and looks like.
9. Finish it positively when it is time
Unlike the office, it is going to be a mystery when to put the full stop to the working day. According to writer Kevin Roose, remote workers ask for less sick holidays and take smaller breaks. Doesn’t it indicate that the boundaries can be the question mark? In the absence of a sober home office designated area, working becomes a more significant challenge. What happens when you mix up the living and the working areas? The laptop on the dining table and the folders lying on the coffee table upset the balance. Work may be suffering in the absence of a separate workspace.
Thoughts like these prompted my decision to construct two small home offices when the time for the renovation came up. Maybe I will still find chances to work at the dining table. The difference is that all the work stuff can be put away safely in the home office at night. When I close the door, I will avoid being disturbed by the work that remains undone.
Do you need an additional room for successfully working at home? Not really. Find a space like a cupboard or even a basket to hold the laptop and documents at night. You need a physical boundary that enables you to rest mentally. It is home after all, undisturbed by thoughts of the office that represents a different complicated world. Get in touch with us!