Three months ago, Covid-19 changed the workplace environment. And although restrictions on social distancing and group gatherings are easing in some areas of the country, chances are high that many businesses will choose to continue offering remote work opportunities for their employees. In order to get the most out of the experience, teleworkers really need to pay attention to their surroundings, minimizing distractions and maximizing those elements promoting increased focus and productivity. Here’s how to create a productive at-home workspace:
Define a “Work Zone”
Find a space that you like and designate it as your official office area. Some people like to be in the center of things with a lot of hustle and bustle around them; others prefer a quieter location where there are few noises and/or little possibility of interaction to distract them. Of course, sometimes the type of work being done will dictate your at-home “work zone.” This is especially true if other people reside in the home and will be present during working hours; oftentimes, you just don’t want a lot of background noise interrupting your conversations if you need to take or make a lot of phone calls for your job. If that’s not the case, however, it can be purely personal preference as to where you want your desk to go. Just pick a spot so that you can settle down to (only) the tasks at hand.
Gather Necessary Equipment
To remain as efficient as possible, think about the necessary pieces of equipment your job entails and place them within easy reach of your office area. If you make a lot of copies, set up a printer nearby. If you make a lot of calls, think about upgrading your mobile phone and/or your home phone service (unless your company has hosted voip capability). This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend a lot of money. If you need a good desk, you can improvise with a folding table or even two chairs and a piece of wood. Of course, you can repurpose in this way or you can request certain items from your employer directly. Most companies offer at least partial reimbursement for supplies needed for remote work. Items such as computers, copiers, paper, staplers, calculators and other work materials are frequently provided so that all you have to do is set them up in a location that enables you to use them quickly and easily.
While you might be thinking sweats and a tee shirt, we’re suggesting you find a spot to work in — not clothing— that is both comfortable and pleasant. Temperature, color, lighting, scent, even surrounding artwork and decorations all have the ability to greatly improve your mood and, thus, your productivity. Grab a candle; find a comfy chair; paint a nearby wall your favorite color; pipe in some soothing music; get a fan or space heater. Make your office space as inviting as possible so that you actually want to use it.
Keep it Clean
Most people work better in a space that is clean and uncluttered. Devise a filing system so that papers are quickly organized and not floating around needlessly. Limit the number of items on your desk and take out the trash. Keeping your “office” clean leaves space for creativity and energy! Now get working!