Your phone is ringing off the hook and emails keep piling up in your inbox. You mean to get work done, but your couch looks especially tempting. You sit down-intent on answering phone calls and emails-and immediately fall asleep.
That’s it. You need to find a solution so you don’t mistake at-home working with at-home lounging.
You may work in the comfort of your own home, but that doesn’t mean you should blur the lines between your home life and your work life. As mentioned in an earlier post, thousands of at-home workers struggle with productivity and get distracted by household chores and other interruptions. One of the best ways to distance yourself from the distractions of home is to set up a separate office.
Choose the Space
Find a space that will allow you to zone out from outside interruptions and focus on your work. Some at-home workers choose to set up shop in a dining room or formal living room. If possible, avoid these spaces. Your spouse, children, or roommates will be more tempted to stop in for a chat (and distract you) while you work.
Look for a space in a quieter part of your home. Consider a spare bedroom or your basement. Make sure you choose a space with multiple phone line access and a strong Wi-Fi connection.
According to Merriam-Webster, ergonomics is “concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that people and things interact efficiently.” It’s important to follow the rules of ergonomics if you want to feel comfortable working in your home office.
- Find a desk that allows your forearms to rest firmly on it while sitting.
- Spoil yourself with a chair that allows your behind to rest on something comfortable and your feet to gently rest on the floor.
- Adjust your computer screen so the top is just below eye level (when sitting down).
The position of your desk and chair will help you feel comfortable in your new space. Keeping your computer screen at the right level will allow your eyes to close (as they scan through documents) and obtain the necessary moisture they need. Understanding and following ergonomic basics will help you adjust to your new space and work as efficiently as possible.
Reduce the Noise
The best thing you can do to reduce the noise in your home office is to choose a space in the back of your home. Try to find a room that doesn’t share a wall with a noisy street or noisy neighbors. If moving away from a loud space isn’t an option, try insulation. A contractor may be able to insulate your home office for a reasonable rate. You might also consider wearing earplugs or blocking windows with heavy curtains.
Introduce Natural Light
You need natural light in your workspace. Natural light comes with a number of benefits, including the following:
- Stabilizes mood
- Increases productivity
- Improves energy levels and vision
- Reduces energy consumption
If you can find a quiet, clean, well-lighted space with a window, use that space. If natural light isn’t an option, strategically place lamps around your office to create a warm atmosphere and keep your mind active.
Utilize Storage Space
There are plenty of ways to add storage space in your office. Bookshelves, filing cabinets, and wall storage racks will let you store things neatly so you don’t become overwhelmed with a messy desktop. If you work out of a spare bedroom, buy containers or boxes and keep all your records, receipts, and other work-related documents stored in the closet.
Plants can revitalize any space-choose an array of plants to add life to your home office. Choose plants that don’t require a lot of up keep:
- Ferns – Water a fern every other week and trim the branches every other month.
- Pothos – Water this plant every few weeks and trim it once every six months.
- Cacti – Position a cacti in indirect sunlight and water it once a month.
- Jade plants – Place this plant in indirect light and water it once or twice a month.
- Palm trees – Choose between three palm trees (kentia palm, parlor palm, or sentry palm). Water the tree weekly and fertilize it monthly.
- Tillandsia – Soak a tillandsia every week and then let it dry out in indirect sunlight.
It doesn’t take much to transform your home office into a productive workspace. Remember to choose a space that works for you, understand and apply the rules of ergonomics to ensure you feel comfortable, reduce the noise to increase concentration, introduce natural light to keep your energy levels high,utilize storage space to avoid unnecessary messes, and add plants to add life and energy.
It’s up to you to create a space that is comfortable and distraction-free-try these tips and watch your productivity soar.