Working from home starting to get messy? Here are our top 5 tips to organize your workspace
Many of us have probably fantasized about the idea of working from home before. It sounded like an opportunity for more flexible work hours, and a way to bring commute time to zero.
Wouldn’t that be the ultimate way to achieve work-life balance? Well, now it’s 2020, and working from home has suddenly become our new reality due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.
So, did your dreams of work-life balance come true? Most people say: Not really! Working from home started to get messy!
As we’re forced to work from home, new challenges are popping up that were previously unexpected. For instance, how can we become productive and focused in the very same places our brains have gotten used to associate with relaxation and socialization? Where are the boundaries between our working activities and our social ones?
We at Adze Design have shifted to work from home like almost everyone else around the world. But naturally, we put our skills to work trying to find simple spatial solutions to boost our productivity (and maybe yours) while working from home.
Here are our top 5 tips to make the most of working from home.
1-Rediscover your home
There’s a big chance you don’t have a dedicated workplace at home. You should start here. But don’t tear down any walls just yet. This could just as easily be a room, a corner, a kitchen table, or a setup right in the middle of the living room.
Bear in mind, though, that the spot where you take your phone calls or work on your finances might not be the best for drawing or reflecting. Try moving around at first. Get a feel of how each space responds to the different tasks you conduct throughout the day. Not all work is created equal. Sometimes you’re doing routine work that doesn’t require much focus, while other times you’re making important phone calls that require a quiet room.
So the perfect space might not be just one space. You could use a collection of different spaces depending on the nature of the task being done.
Take away: Forget what you know or how you feel about the different areas of your house. Rediscover your home in light of your new work activities.
2- Observe the setting
While you’re moving around the different spaces of your home, try to gain an understanding of its layout.
Is there a spot near a window? You might consider positioning your work desk or chair facing it. That way you can get a nice sense of connection with the outside world during the day, and also get a healthy dose of sunlight and fresh air, which could do wonders to your productivity. Remember that exposure to adequate sources of light and ventilation is a key aspect in maintaining your wellbeing and vitality throughout the day.
In case you need to use artificial lighting, make sure it’s pointed towards your work and that it’s bright enough. This is very important to avoid eyestrain and stress headaches.
Take away: Re-establish new connections with the different spaces in your home. Observe which areas get sunlight at what time of day, the airflow, and the view in each area of your house.
3- Scan the social scene
Be aware of different background noises and your proximity to other members around the house. You could carry out tasks that require less focus and privacy in shared zones (the dining table for instance), while “focus tasks” could be done in a more remote room, with fewer distractions.
If the nature of your job does not allow you to move around, take note of your productivity in different zones. Also try communicating with your family to help them understand that this is your work time, and that, when you get the chance, you will join them in the living room for a quick cup of tea or snack.
Take away: Make note of quiet and noisy zones around your house. Identify which tasks could be done in which zone.
4- Mind your posture
Your chair is a crucial factor to your health and productivity. Try checking how the chair affects your posture when you sit. Try switching from sitting on a couch or an armchair to an office chair. You may use small throw pillows or stuffed animals for lower back support and even neck support.
You also need to make space for your legs. Having enough room under your desk/table allows you to sit with your legs stretched out. Cramped legs can lead to lower back pain, so you need to avoid that as much as possible. Remember to take stretching breaks often, which you can even turn into fun little interactions with your children, spouse, or pets.
If your schedule is jam-packed and taking small breaks seems almost impossible, you could consider a standing desk. They can help you prevent straining your muscles by allowing you to stretch your back while carrying on your work. You don’t even have to buy anything, you can easily make your own by just stacking old books or shoeboxes under your laptop.
Take away: Improve your posture using everyday items such as throw pillows, stuffed animals and shoeboxes.
5- Identify Break times
Sitting all day long at the office or at home has never been good for physical and mental wellbeing. You need to take short breaks every now and then to stretch and move around, and to regain your focus. You could use your break time to follow a quick energizing workout, or ground yourself with a yoga session on YouTube. You could also make use of your break by fixing something around the house you’ve been postponing since the Great Flood.
You can likewise try to make the most out of working from home by spending your break time with loved ones and enjoying the comfort of your home. One idea would be to decide on a certain time with your family to prepare a salad or sandwiches and have a quick meal together. Maybe, if you’re super productive, you could alternate between all these activities in multiple breaks throughout the day.
But don’t take a break in the same chair you’ve been working in! Try separating your work spaces from your recreation to avoid boredom and—most importantly—to allow you to get a fuller sense of enjoyment and fulfilment out of everything you do.
Take away: Schedule clear time slots for non-work-related activities throughout the day. Share your break time with other members of your household if possible.
And that’s a wrap…
Working from home may be a bit draining during current circumstances. We, at Adze Designs, are trying to make the best of it. We’ve been using this time as an opportunity to attempt to achieve the perfect work-life balance.
You can, too.
Stay safe at home, and be more productive than ever!
Share your thoughts with us on working from home in the comments below. What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
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