Working from home can seem like an excellent idea, but unless you set up your home office right, you might be in for a lot of long, unproductive days and maximum frustration. Thankfully, that can be solved relatively easily, by ensuring your home office is set up in a way that will maximise your productivity.
You can do that in several different ways, by focusing on the type of environment you create. Some things are conducive to productivity, while others will distract you completely and derail you. Here’s how you can make some changes to your office space to maximize productivity.
One of the most important aspects when it comes to working from home and creating a home office, is actually having a dedicated office space. That means a separate room, ideally. Especially if you’ve got kids, pets, or roommates, you’ll want the privacy and the quiet.
If you don’t have the luxury of an extra room you can convert into an office space, a dedicated desk, table, or corner will do, in a pinch. That can be your kitchen table, a small desk you can squeeze into your bedroom, or even a convertible table that you can set up no matter where you are.
Part of the reason why it’s good to have a separate work space, instead of working in bed is practical – less of a chance to get distracted, and it’s more professional.
However, the main reason why this is going to help your productivity is because of the psychological factor. This separation between work and home is paramount for some people’s productivity levels when working from home.
Even if it’s just getting out of bed and walking over to your desk, that signals that you are entering a different mental state. You are no longer on “home brain” and are switching to “work brain”. That is going to help you feel more professional and focused on your work.
You know what keeps people productive? Not having an endless, open desert of work ahead of them. Dedicated work hours are extremely important from many points of view, and they all tie into productivity, but also mental health.
The current standard office working hours are from 9 to 5, for a total of 8 hours a day. Now, since you work from home, you can play around with these times and the total amount of work you do in a day. You may work with clients or co-workers in different time zones, or your most productive hours may be different. But time management remains essential.
The important thing is to set these hours, and ideally, to have them written clearly on your door. That will signal to the rest of the household that you are at work and when you will become available again.
The psychological aspect comes into play in a major way here, once again. Having dedicated work hours allows your brain to switch into work mode for that duration of time. That will not only help you remain focused on your work, but it’s also extremely important for your overall mental health.
You see, when you spend the whole day (and maybe even night) working or in “work mode”, fatigue will inevitably set in. That means two things: one – you will lose productivity fast, because you’re too tired and burned out to do anything. Two – you will become overly stressed and it will bleed into your personal life.
Doors and locks on doors and underrated. While dedicating a corner of your home to your office space is fine, it’s even better if you are able to set aside one room, close the door, and then be able to lock it. Especially if you’ve got children or roommates, the lock on the door may be essential to your productivity.
In addition, it also helps by adding an extra level of security to your files, devices, and the data on them. You don’t need to worry about people sneaking into your office and compromising your work because you can just lock the door behind you.
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The most obvious application is keeping everyone else out while you’re in your office, working.
No one can barge in and bother you, if you keep them out.
Plus, there’s an added psychological component of separation between your work space and your home space. The act of closing and locking the door signifies the end of the work day and the mental separation from it. That way, your work life remains locked away until you’re ready to come back to it the next morning.
This separation means that while you spend time there you are in work mode and can focus on your work, but then enjoy your free time. You can be well-rested enough to then be able to come back and be productive when working from home the next day.
Most traditional office spaces are basically just glorified prisons or dark, uninspiring cardboard boxes. But natural light should 100% be one of the top things on your “perfect office” checklist.
Ideally, you would be able to find a room (or at least a corner in your home) that has a large window and is flooded with natural light. If getting real natural light is not feasible, then investing in a lamp that mimics natural sunlight can be a very worthwhile expense that pays for itself in the increase in productivity it creates.
Will it shock you that artificial light is depressing and stunts productivity? Not really, probably. The loss of natural light in colder months is a major reason why we become sleepier, lazier, unproductive, and even depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects a significant percentage of the population.
Natural light keeps us more alert, happier, cheerier, and optimistic. It signals the brain that it’s daytime, and it’s the time for productivity. Darkness or artificial light, on the other hand, leads to sleepiness and lethargy, which is the exact opposite of what you need.
Something you need to make sure of no matter where you work is to eliminate (or at least, minimize) distractions. That means taking out everything that might cause you to stray from your daily goals. Books, music, your TV, pets, can all get in the way of your productivity.
We’re not saying that you should get rid of absolutely everything on your walls or around you. But, if you know that you tend to start humming to the tune of your favorite song, or get caught up in YouTube videos, then maybe make an active effort to eliminate those from your rotation.
When you keep interrupting your workflow because of things you see, or hear, or that are claiming your attention, you’re not going to end up doing much. No one works for hours on end without interruptions, but in order to achieve any palpable progress, you need a few stretches of active, hard work.
If you need help in this department, there are some productivity techniques that can change the way you work. Setting yourself increments of 30 to 60 minutes to work can produce great results. This way, you’ve got a set amount of time to focus on and try to take advantage of, instead of stretching your work over a whole day.
Setting up a home office can be an excellent idea and a beacon of productivity, or it can be the place where you waste time and don’t get anything done. It all comes down to the way you set up the office and how productive you are able to be in this space.
While working from home sure is comfortable, it’s also notoriously difficult to focus and get stuff done. However, there are things you can do to maximize the productivity of this space. Setting up a separate room with a door that locks, making sure you are getting plenty of natural light