How is your home office supporting you these days? Whether you have a bona fide, dedicated office in your home or you’ve commandeered an area, you need to maximize the effectiveness to keep your focus on the job. Here are some home office tips for working from home productively.
#1. Understand your work habits and needs.
Your office space needs to work for you, so think about what you need to be productive. In addition to fostering productivity, the right home office will reduce your stress by supporting the way you work. If you feel closed in or squeezed into a space that’s just too small, you won’t feel relaxed, which hinders your workflow.
Before you decide to assign a space in your home to your work, consider what the location will do for you. You might want your office to be close to your bedroom, or maybe you prefer to have it far away to broaden the separation between work and leisure.
Do you have the potential for a lot of interruptions in your home? How can your home office protect you from those distractions? If you don’t have a room you can dedicate—with a door, please—then think about your options. Your home office shouldn’t be temporary, as in seated at the kitchen counter or dining room table or on the sofa or your bed. You should be able to walk away from your office area without having to pack up your equipment and crucial supplies, and then return to everything exactly as you left it.
If you can, put up a room divider of some sort. This can be a folding screen, curtain, or a bookcase or cabinet that’s tall enough to create a wall.
#2. Furnish it to your workflow.
What’s your preferred workstation—a desk, a big comfy chair, an area with a lot of surface space where you can spread out? Furnish your office with your comfort in mind, as long as it contributes to getting work done. Choose the style and colors that drive your deep thinking and spark your creativity.
Do you like to move around? Consider a standing desk, or a hybrid that easily switches from seated to stand-up desk, depending on your mood.
As you add furniture, equipment, or decor to your home office, be clear about its purpose so you can avoid clutter. Remind yourself on a regular basis that clutter is distraction.
#3. Shed light on your work.
Never underestimate the value of natural light. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D, which boosts your mood-regulating mechanism. If you’ve ever experienced the winter doldrums, it’s frequently caused by the lack of sunlight in those shorter days. Natural light also reduces eye strain and fatigue, headaches, and other vision-related discomforts.
Choose a workspace that allows the flow of natural light. When that’s not available—like a basement—choose recessed lighting or place full spectrum lamps where you need good lighting.
#4. Create a system to stay organized.
Home office organization is the most important aspect of planning your workspace. Clutter grows from disorganization—from the tendency not to file things away, but pile them up. If you’ve already cultivated a jumbled mess, it’s time to harvest it all.
Put everything—EVERYTHING!—in a box. Clean up the surfaces of your work area. Sort through them, one at a time, and stash them in an orderly place, like a file folder, desktop caddy, or a basket or bin that fits into a storage cube or cubby.
Take out your label maker and label every storage space, bin, box, tray, folder, binder, and caddy. You don’t have a label maker? Well, you need it to stay organized. And you can thank me later. Labels will make it easier to store supplies and items where they belong so you can quickly find them later.
#5. Stick to a schedule.
Successfully working from home requires discipline. It’s tempting to sleep in a bit, take a break to do housework, or run out for a few errands. These are a few perks of working from home, but they also detour your productivity.
Create a routine for your workday. Get up at the same time every day, start your work at the same time, and commit to a specific workflow, like answering emails in the morning and blocking out periods to achieve certain tasks. Incorporate scheduled breaks into your day. Map out the week before it starts, so you can hit the ground running on Monday morning. Assign tasks to each day. In this way, you can also stick to those duties and projects that are specifically required on a given day, rather than seeing the entire week as a busy blur. Stick to what’s due today and worry about tomorrow when it comes.
#6. Get dressed.
The massive exodus from the workplace to the home that resulted from the pandemic’s shutdown launched a trend. Workers stayed in their pajamas, workout clothes, or other casual attire they would never wear to work.
The way you’re dressed impacts your mindset. It’s fine to be casual but when you’re not dressed for work, your mind isn’t fully committed to the job. Instead, it’s teetering on taking it easy and assuming weekend mode and behavior.
Work smarter at home.
Have you decided that your current home just doesn’t fit your life and work these days? Kettler Forlines Homes builds homes for discerning homebuyers in the Montgomery County area of Maryland. Many of our homes include space for at least one and often two home offices. Plus, our Structured Wiring Program ensures your new home is pre-wired to handle your technology with easier access and increased data speed.
Check out our floor plans and virtual tours, and be sure to wander around our Brightwell Crossing neighborhood in Poolesville, MD. We also welcome the opportunity to build on your lot. Reach out to George Neill to get started on your future right now.