Working from home? Make your home work for you
Some of us are scuttling back to the office at the first opportunity, others are enjoying working from home, while a lucky group in the middle are loving a combination of both.
The pros and cons of working from the office or home have been well aired over the last couple of years and it’s pretty clear it’s not a black and white situation. Working from home will suit some and not others, and it won’t suit everyone all the time.
Covid has taught us to expect the unexpected, and for many of us that means making sure we’ve got a good working environment at home.
For most of us, the starting point is a dedicated workspace – whether that’s an office, a spare bedroom or a spot in a shared living space. It may be a space you need to share with others who are working or studying from home, or you may have the luxury of your own office. Another option is a built-in study nook that can be closed off when office hours are over for the day – out of sight and out of mind.
However you organise your workspace, it’s an opportunity to separate your professional and personal time and make sure neither takes up more of your time than it should do.
If your home office is often visited by colleagues or clients, you might want to consider choosing a room near the front entrance, so that work visitors don’t have to walk through your home to reach your office. If you’re going to be working from home permanently and expect frequent visitors, you could even plan a separate entrance to your office, so keep your home even more private.
Even if you like working from a laptop on your favourite couch, or from your deck on a sunny morning, it’s still good to have a dedicated setup that you can retreat to when you need to focus or to store your files when you’re not working.
You may only need a desk drawer or you may need some dedicated storage. It doesn’t have to be filing cabinets that look like they belong in the office – there are plenty of stylish storage options that will match the décor of your home. If you’ve repurposed a bedroom, your home office storage could even live inside the wardrobe.
Make sure you have a good desk and chair setup. If you’re sitting at a computer for most of your day, it’s well worth taking the time to get a good, adjustable office chair that you feel comfortable sitting in for long periods.
Your home office can be as bright and stylish as the rest of your house, and you’re likely to work more effectively if it suits your lifestyle. Choose colours that inspire you, maybe even a feature wall, and add pictures or paintings to the walls. You could add a rug, pot plants or a comfy armchair for when you’re not at your computer.
If your job requires lots of online video calls, you’ll want somewhere where you won’t be disturbed and where your colleagues won’t be distracted by children or pets in the background. You might also want to consider how you lay out your work area and what your backdrop will be like on your video calls.
Good lighting is crucial so you can clearly see what you are working on – regardless of the time of day. If the main lighting in your home office isn’t sufficient, add a desk lamp or some additional overhead lighting.
Don’t underestimate the importance of adding natural light and fresh air through windows, with the benefit of also being able to enjoy your plants or garden during the workday. You might want to consider adding flexible curtains or blinds to block out any sunlight that comes directly in your office window that might cause glare on your computer screen.
Working from home can be much more pleasant and productive than going to the office – and just think of all the extra time you’ll gain by avoiding the daily commute!
Working from home has quickly gone from a niche way of working to something we’ve pretty much all had to adapt to.
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