10 Ways to Make Working From Home More Productive
In an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, many organizations are encouraging employees to work from home. Between using dining room tables as desks and bar stools as office chairs, we’re feeling the need for a designated, enjoyable workspace to help us stay productive and inspired. Here’s how to create the best home office for your mind, body, and productivity during the pandemic.
Match Your Desk to Your Work Habits
If you’re building your home office from scratch, start with the right desk. The size, shape, and features of your desk should be consistent with your workflow. If you tend to get restless while you work from home, consider a convertible standing desk that allows you to change position throughout the day to help you stay focused. The adjustable height is also helpful for keeping fatigue at bay. Don’t forget the standing mat; it can help to relieve any pressure put on your back and feet while you’re upright for long hours.
If you need sprawling workspace and ample storage, consider your home’s layout first. A sleek, lightweight desk will keep a small space from feeling cramped. That sense of spaciousness is important for productivity. Mid-century modern or contemporary styles are a great place to start. A fold-down desk, like a wall-mount or built-in bookshelf, is also ideal if you’re short on square footage. Check out our Best Office Furniture for Small Spaces for more ideas.
Upgrade Your Office Chair for Productive Posture
Your home office chair is an investment. This is where you’ll be working during all of your off-site hours, so it should have an ergonomic frame or lumbar support for your posture. At the very least, avoid hunching over the kitchen island in a backless bar stool. Minimizing strain is key to good workflow.
While it’s necessary to feel comfortable, avoid working from home out of your recliner. Comfy cushions don’t foster practical work habits, so get a desk chair that helps your posture while keeping your attention focused. Check out our guide on How to Find Comfortable Inexpensive Office Chairs for details.
Don’t forget usage is an important consideration here, so consider adjustable height and armless features. Look for a swivel chair or one with casters if you need to move back and forth between monitors or projects.
Layer Lighting to Stay Alert
Good lighting is energizing. Bad lighting is draining and makes you irritable. When you’re working from home during coronavirus, the amount and intensity of light is going to affect your output. For more visibility and less irritability, layer the lighting in your home office with different Types of Fixtures. Task lamps are useful for concentrating at your desk, while floor lamps illuminate a wider, softer ambiance.
Dimmable, multidirectional lighting will help balance the contrast, which is convenient for backlighting during videoconferencing. Warm, white LED lights are generally good investment for brightness that’s strong, but not uncomfortable. You can also work to avoid harsh glares by adding blinds, shades, or curtains to your space.
Invest in a Powerful Computer Setup for Reliable Connection
Even if you have a company-issued computer or an existing office setup, you’ll need reliable internet bandwidth and generous cloud storage if you’re working from home long-term. This is especially true if multiple people are quarantined and need to hop on your network at once. For smooth communication with your coworkers and easy access to your work files, make sure your computer system can handle your workload.
While you’re likely taking work meetings over digital programs like Zoom and communicating your teammates over messaging apps like Slack, be sure to have notetaking supplies on hand like journals and pens. If you need additional hard-copy equipment for printing, scanning, or faxing, check if your employer is willing and able to help cover costs during the pandemic.
Whatever devices you’re using, make sure to wipe them down at the end of every workday to practice good hygiene.
Update Your Audio and Visual Equipment for Conferencing
Even during social distancing, you’ll still need to keep in touch with your teammates. Conversations are moving online, so to avoid the lags and glitches that can impact communication, invest in a high-resolution webcam and quality speakers. Look for a webcam with a good built-in mic. A headset is another cheaper alternative and makes communicating easy and hands-free.
Decent video compression takes up less storage and needs less bandwidth. High-quality audio speaks for itself. Not only will these ensure that you’re literally up to speed with work conversations, you’ll also appreciate them when you’re connecting with friends and family around the world in the event of a public health emergency or natural disaster.
Ensure Stable Workstation With Computer Accessories
Stability and reliability is a crucial component when working from home. Ethernet cords can help with a solid, high-speed internet connection, and surge protectors keep your equipment from shorting out when you’re running many electronic devices at once. You’ll also most likely need an external hard drive to assist with running software and downloading large files.
As for add-ons that make work doable for long periods, don’t overlook mounting hardware. To avoid craning your neck, your eyeline should rest 2-3 inches below your monitor frame. Monitor arms or laptop stands can help you adjust your computer to the right height. Keep your laptop from overheating with aluminum stands that allow air to flow around your computer’s fan. If you like to work from a chair without a desk, consider a laptop tray or c-table to make working from your sofa more comfortable.
Simplify Your Space With Desk Organizers
Clutter-free spaces are key to a thriving workspace. They’re easier to wipe down, they make spills less disastrous, and they’re less likely to store germs. A calm and orderly home office is also important for mindful work. Desk organizers, pencil holders, and filing cabinets will all cut down on chaos and make a quick reach for mailing supplies.
To free up even more mental and physical space, go wireless with your computer accessories, from charging stations to your mouse and keyboard. Cable management is an easy alternative: consider router holes to run wires along your desk or behind it or bunch the wires together with cinch ties to keep them tidy.
Check out more Home Office Organization Ideas for peace of mind while working from home.
Stay On-Task With Time Management Tools
Between kids, pets, and Youtube, there are endless distractions competing for your attention when you work from home. You also might be tempted to continue working on projects past your typical workday. A whiteboard, calendar, or planner can help to keep home life from stealing your focus or fading into the background. Using these items, start your morning by setting goals for the day and continue to track projects.
It’s important to stick to your daily schedule, even during the coronavirus outbreak. By working consistent hours and taking regular breaks, you can avoid putting things off and know when to put them down.
Stay Motivated With a Morale-Boosting Coffeemaker
Your laptop’s positioned, your cords are hidden, and your devices are all synched up. All that’s missing is a steady supply of caffeine. A compact coffeemaker for the corner of your desk or an elaborate espresso machine for quick trips to the kitchen can help keep you from feeling rundown during all this uncertainty.
While you’re exploring appliances to establish new home office routines, consider a juicer. It makes meal prep quick, convenient, and will help to provide you with plenty of healthy nutrients. You’ll keep your work ethic high and your immune system in fighting condition.
Decorate Mindfully With Personalized Decor
As we’re all waiting for news on coronavirus, we can start to feel in need of reassurance. Personal touches in your home office can help you to feel connected to the world — especially anything with an organic, natural texture. Artwork, framed photos, candles, plant life, and even a cute mousepad can all keep our at-home work environments from feeling too “sterile.” You can also bring in personality through your office supplies, whether it captures your favorite theme or color. These calming measures are just as important for productivity as they are for easing anxiety.
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