In today’s hybrid work setting, home is where work is. While the hyphen in “work-life” has been fading over the last few years, the pandemic seems to have hastened the process and, for better or for worse, demanded a heavily overlapping work-life blend. The importance of the right work environment and tech tools is undeniable in being productive and happy while you work from home.
The home office sanctuary
Before working from home became the ubiquitous norm, having a home office space was far from a necessity. When employees did work from home, they would usually put together their own (often make-shift) remote work setups and trudge on through the day while balancing work demands and distractions at home. What we now need is more than just a home office space - we need a home office sanctuary. One that not only keeps away all interactions from the home side of things but that also prevents the office from intruding into the rest of our lives - a productivity containment zone if you will. All of us have struggled (to different degrees) with some form of work-life spillover during these pandemic years and the need for building a home office that enables you to perform your best while also enjoying it, is worth consideration and investment.
Rules for the best home office experience
The following seven rules are here to help you in creating a work space at home that helps you channel your creativity, productivity and focus - a place that makes sense for you.
Rule 1) Location, location, location:
Where you choose your work space to be situated, even if it is a small corner, has a huge impact on how you work. This is what dictates the flow of your day. Try to choose a part of the house that is not close to noise from the road, the family room or the kitchen, that either has an attached washroom or easy access to one, and that is relatively secluded from the rest of your home life. What often helps psychologically is if your “office” comes with a bit of a “commute” so that you feel like you’re going to work. Being away from the bedroom is also a good idea because not only does it make you feel less lethargic during the day but it also creates a clear divide so that your sleep cycle is not affected.
Rule 2) Ergonomics pays off:
How well you work depends heavily on how ergonomically sound your work setting is. This means more than just getting yourself a relatively comfortable chair or a bed-desk. We need to enable ourselves to be productive. Whether it’s how much natural light come into your home office, the angle and height of your desk, the lumbar support your chair provides, the colour of the walls or the lighting within the room, every little aspect plays a part in your output and your general mood at work. Pay attention to all these details and build a space that is bright, engaging and comfortable for you to work in.
Rule 3) Organization is your best friend:
While we cannot apply Marie Kondo’s wisdom to all aspects of our lives, we surely can try and be more organized in how we work. Your work station, computer, hard drive files, emails and even your day planner could all benefit from the added consideration of creating a system and a flow that helps you work better. Sectioning, chunking and categorizing may seem like heavy time-investments but they pay off in the long run, especially when you’re working from home and looking for a little extra structure.
Rule 4) Get your phone setup on point:
Remote working automatically implies the necessity for better connectivity. Investing in a good phone and internet plan will benefit you tremendously. This not only makes work easier for you but also makes working with you easier for others. Most organizations do ensure that their employees have a communication allowance but whether you are an employee, an entrepreneur or a freelancer, ensuring that you can communicate easily with your team and your clients does makes a big difference.
Rule 5) Your computer screen is everything:
Your screen is quite literally your window to the world of work. A good system with a functional webcam can help you simplify numerous collaborative tasks. It can help you reach across geographies to any part of the globe. While you can get many cool things for your home office needs, nothing quite beats the importance of your computer.
Rule 6) Invest in a printer:
We are unfortunately not 100% paperless yet and there are processes that may need you to print documents. Going out to get a printout is not the wisest way to spend your time that could be spent in something more productive and valuable to you. It’s important to streamline your individual processes and if having a printer enables that, then that is an investment that you need to make.
Rule 7) Invest in productivity apps:
While you’re streamlining processes, you may want to onboard some apps that help you do a better job. It is also necessary to make sure that you choose systems that take cybersecurity into account. These tools help you spend your time more efficiently and also prevent you from burning out.
Your home office needs to be the right mix of fit, fun and functionality. The key to a happier, high-performance work experience is balance - especially in our work-from-home reality. Build an office space that enables you to make the most of being at home and being “at work”. It is also important to explain to the people you live with how your work-day is structured so they can also refrain from distracting you. It’s all about finding that balance - a zone of zen where you can be your most productive.
Half the Sky's mission is to supply the tools that can give every woman the ability to build a successful career and be fully prepared for the future of work. So, that they can lead a healthy, prosperous and more balanced/blended lifestyle of their choosing. By building your confidence, you’re setting foundations to empower yourself and your career. The world is your oyster, and it starts with you.
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