Leaving an office setting to work from home is the fantasy for many caught in the daily grind. Once you’ve made the decision, how might you create a productive space in your home? Here are some ideas into building you ideal workspace.
Location, Location, Location!
The first step – deciding on a place where you are going get work done. Pick an area in your home where you can set up your workspace, away from household traffic, and preferably with a door you can close to keep noise out. Set up a desk or table that can hold all of your equipment. This desk from Walmart is both inexpensive and sports a simple, clean design. You might also be able to find one at a local yard sale –a coat of paint can work wonders. Here’s a great example of a yard sale find that was refurbished and made to look like new!
Separating Work and Play
When working from home, you may be interrupted more than you’d like. To stay focused, establish boundaries so that your home life doesn’t spill into your work life. Avoid working at the table or counter where you or your family members eat meals. Instead, find a section of a room and add a shelf or desk in that space that is distinct from other activities. If you live with other people, it’s helpful to have a separate room entirely dedicated to your work, especially if you’re making calls that require quiet. Making a free/busy sign to hang on the door of your home office can tell the people you live with [and even to yourself] that you’re in work-mode.
Consider your preferred room temperature while working. Studies show that temperature has a major effect on your productivity. Keep an eye on the thermostat or AC and make sure you’re comfortable – if you’re too cold you are more likely to make errors, and if you’re too hot you are likely to get sleepy.
Starting Your Day
Get into a routine of organizing your workspace before you start your work session. Having a clean space makes a difference in your capacity to work well and remain focused.
If you have various types of work you’re doing throughout the day, separate your work tasks into batches and work through each batch one at a time. This way you won’t be frantically passing between different types of work and getting overwhelmed and distracted in the process. Multitasking (also referred to as task switching) can take a toll on productivity.
A Good Chair
Invest in a chair where you are not slumping or leaning back but will still be comfortable. Here are some good options for chairs that you will be comfortable sitting in for several hours.
Crucial and perhaps a bit obvious: high-speed internet. You will not want to be worried about your internet connection if you’re going to be spending a lot of time working in your own space, and high-speed internet will be essential to working efficiently online.
If you spend a lot of time on the phone, a headset or noise-canceling headphones can help. These come at a range of prices–the cheaper end is about $40, mid-range can come out at around $70, and the highest quality and most noise-reducing around $180.
Laptop Stand and Sound Machine
A laptop stand can keep your neck from straining (and can turn your laptop into an additional monitor.) A sound machine can keep you thinking about the tasks at hand, and serves as a nice alternative to background music.
The impact of having two monitors can also make a difference in being efficient. Studies show a 35% increase in productivity when people use two monitors. If you already have a laptop, buying a second monitor is a great investment. Here’s a good article to start thinking about the most responsible way to purchase an additional monitor. Don’t hesitate to spend money making your workspace as comfortable as possible–it will pay off in the long run.
Working from home requires an investment of time, energy and resources at the outset. You’ll ultimately find it will pay off in your new work-from-home life. Don’t miss these tips on staying productive and healthy while working from home.