By the end of 2021, an estimated 25% to 30% of employees will work from home several days a week. If you’ll be one of those employees, you need to figure out how to make a home office work for you.
If you’ve been working from home for any length of time now, you understand working from home isn’t all PJs and morning breath. Instead, it’s screaming kids and unrelenting chores that try to distract you from your work.
But these tips can help you create a safe, effective, and productive work environment, even if you don’t have much space. Here are 8 to help you out.
1. Create a Designated Work Space
You may have an entire room for a home office, a desk in the corner of the living room, or the edge of the counter. No matter what, you should try to create a designated workspace where you go to work at the same time every day.
Being in a consistent space makes it easier to switch your brain into work mode. This is especially important when you have to share that same environment with your home life.
2. Take Care of Your Health
Most offices take care to protect their employees’ health. They provide ergonomic monitor placements and fancy chairs to help you sit with proper posture. You probably don’t have those luxuries at home.
Even still, you should do what you can to create an ergonomic environment if you’re a desk worker. Take regular breaks to stand, look away from the screen, and stay hydrated, just like you would throughout your usual workday.
3. Don’t Ignore Cybersecurity
For a safe, effective, online workplace, you cannot neglect your home laptop security. There are an estimated 300 million hacking attempts every single day. If you’re not protecting yourself, you’re leaving you and your company vulnerable.
At the very least, make sure you have antivirus protection on your laptop. Make sure your IT security is up to the job.
4. Create a Routine
A routine will make it easier to check into and check out of work mode. Pay attention to your energy flow throughout the day and try to optimize your most important work for when your energy is at its highest.
Even before you sit down at your home office, keep your morning routine similar. Get dressed, drink coffee, shower, go for a walk, or whatever your typical morning entailed before you switched to working at home.
Sticking to your regular work from home schedule makes it easier to transition away from office place work. As much as possible, try to keep the same routine to trick your body to settle into work mode.
5. Keep Your Space Clean and Organized
A disorganized workspace means you waste time searching for information that should be easily accessible. But it also affects your mental psyche, making it harder to focus on the task at hand, and it makes your workspace an unpleasant place to be.
That’s why keeping an organized space is one of the top tips for productivity most people promote. If you don’t want to even sit down at your laptop, you’re never going to get any work done. Instead, follow these organization tips for work at your home office.
Make a habit of taking back dirty dishes any time you stand up, and keep a trashcan nearby for trash. At the start and end of each day, take five minutes to tidy your space.
6. Create a Do Not Disturb Policy
The biggest challenge most people face when they start working at home is dealing with people who aren’t focused on work. It’s so hard to buckle down on a hard project when you’re kids want to play catch in the backyard.
So to make it easier for everyone involved, sit down with your household, and create a do not disturb policy. Explain to your kids that while you’re home all the time now, it doesn’t mean you stopped working.
You used to put a sock on the doorknob when you didn’t want your roommate walking in. In the same manner, find a way to physically signify to the rest of the household that you are not to be bothered.
For some people, noise-canceling headphones are an effective solution. For others, a closed-door or a physical sign like a nearby whiteboard work.
7. Create an End of the Day Routine
Since you’re working from home, it’s harder to “check out” at the end of the day, and you may find you’re still in work mode hours later.
To help, create an end of the workday routine. Write down what you want to focus on first thing tomorrow, wind up any projects, and write down any notes or thoughts still tumbling around in your head.
On top of that, tidy up your desk, and, if possible, find a way to put it out of sight.
Little habits like these can create physical reminders that it’s okay to stop thinking about work now. It’ll all be there when you’re ready to get back to it tomorrow.
8. Do What Works for You
These tips are designed to help you create a better, more efficient workflow with fewer distractions. But they may not necessarily work for everyone. Everyone is an individual and finding what works best for you will take time, tweaking, and practice.
These tips will give you a launching point, but don’t stop there. When something works, stick to it, and if it doesn’t switch it out and try something new. Bit by bit you’ll create a workspace sanctuary.
It Doesn’t Take Much to Make Your Home Office Work for You
Make your home office work for you. A few simple rules, some comfortable furniture, and an effective routine are all it takes to turn a home office into an efficient place to work.
These tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your home office, no matter how long you decide to work there.
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