As a precautionary measure to limit the exposure to corona, most of us are huddled working from home. Especially those who work in industries that allow it such as the IT Sector. And as a part of a company that develops tailored healthcare solutions I am no exception. While I have worked from home before, It was never for such a long period of time. Usually, just a day here and there to help combine work with the university.
I do, however, have certain suggestions that can make home-office both more efficient and more manageable and productive for you.
Do you have a pet? A kid? Do you live in a house with multiple family members at home? Maybe your neighbour has kids. Or you just leaned a little too much on the comfort at home and are behind on your work.
Distractions at home are everywhere. Some get distracted by household chores. I, for one, cannot work focused if I have dishes or laundry lying around. Then we have the call of Netflix only one Chrome Tab away, the kitchen where we can make our absolute favourite meals and our loved ones we can spend hours talking to without noticing.
My point is, most of us associate home with anything but work. So it is so easy to fall behind with home-office due to all the distractions. Positive and negative.
So many of the working people do not really invest in a home desk set up. And it is understandable unless you are a student, you spend most of your waking time at work, so why would you spend the rest of it on a desk at home. For most people, the investment of a desk set up is not that much something that would pay off.
But under the current circumstances at best you will spend the next couple of weeks working from home, hopefully, it does not turn to months. So investing in a work station has some undeniable benefits:
Normally when I head out of the house for work, I associate home with rest and at leisure time. For me this may translate to home workouts, hanging out with family and giving some attention to my pets. Not to mention binging something on Netflix with a tasty snack.
So when I think about home, work is not what comes to mind. And so it can be easy to fall into habits that are not productive for work. Having a dedicated working space allows me to draw the line between rest and relaxation.
I have a desk that I only use for work and university assignments. Aside from that, any leisure activity I do in another area of my living space.
Let's say that you already have set up your desk, you have everything you need on it, it is tidy, decluttered and overall not distracting. You need to take this one step further, as the benefits of having a dedicated workspace can be soiled if not coupled with a dedicated mindset.
In order to maintain the work mindset on your workspace, you should also separate the actions you take on your desk. Sit there only when performing work-related tasks. If you want to have a snack or scroll through social media on your phone, then get up of your desk and to a leisure area, like the kitchen table or the couch.
You can decide what those boundaries can be entirely based on what your work demands and what your personal preferences are. But I do suggest you put in some thought into it before you let bad habits fortify that would inhibit your workflow.
I already mentioned how there can be a lot of distractions at home, and that is just how it is. And while you can’t exactly put your kids, family members, or pets on mute while you work you can definitely limit the number of notifications you allow to take away from your attention.
Phone notifications can be a great way to keep up with real-time events. It is also one sure way to lose focus on what you are up to. So consider disabling non-work-related notifications on your desk space while you work. Personally on my phone at all times I only allow phone calls and messaging services to send me push notifications. With the exception of banking apps and MyFitnessPal as staying healthy with food is something that I am currently pursuing as a part of the home office experience. This allows me to have better control over what part of my time and attention I choose to direct at my phone.
The setup of your workspace will vary depending on what you are doing for work. If you are a developer you can likely benefit from a large countertop in addition to two or more monitors and good cable management. If you are an artist, then that requires sufficient space for your materials and a station to use for creation. If you work with audio you would once again need specific equipment and likely a quiet environment.
Yes, while you may be considering a setup based on the current situation, you will likely begin to enjoy having the space for whenever you need it. You might also find yourself picking up other interests, now that you have the space to do them. I am still a student and a working content specialist, I also have artistic hobbies. All that being said, my activities require desk space. Making it my own and as functional as possible, allowing me to switch from work to art quickly is a priority for the long run designed to assist me with all of my activities as needed.
Personally I cannot imagine not having a dedicated workspace in my home where I can get some focused work done, regardless if it is professional or something personal as simple as making the layout of my bullet journal. I have a well-thought-out section that I plan to transfer to a dedicated studio/office room down the road. You can dedicate as much or as little room as would fit your needs, but once you make it yours, and furnish it in a way that serves you well you will not regret it. Even long-term.