The COVID-19 pandemic has forced more people to work from home than ever before. In fact, as of April 2020, 66% of American employees were already working remotely thanks to the pandemic.
Now that most states have started phasing into “re-opening,” they are seeing spikes in cases. That will likely cause many employees (and even students in schools across the country) to work from home for the foreseeable future. But on the flip side, might also be a perfect time to start your own home-based business online, especially if you were laid off from your job.
No matter your current employment status, the most important thing is that you create a work environment at home that allows you to be productive while focusing on your physical and mental health. These are uncertain times, and this is a big change for a lot of people, so taking care of yourself should be a priority.
Let’s look at how you can create that optimal space that embraces the work-from-home vibe and allows you to get things done!
Choose the Right Location
It’s easy to argue that some locations might be easier than others when it comes to working from home. For example, if you’re a young professional living in a flourishing city like Indianapolis or San Diego, you probably had no problem finding a lucrative job in an office somewhere. But, the busy atmosphere of those cities can be distracting when you’re trying to work from home.
So, it’s important to set up a space that removes as many distractions as possible, from those on the outside of your window to roommates, family members, and even technology. You can do that by setting aside a separate space in your home that is strictly used for work.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a separate room to yourself, either. Even just performing simple home maintenance tasks can make a certain area of your home feel different by keeping it clean or controlling humidity levels, which may then help improve your comfort or productivity levels. Or, you can choose to upgrade your space a little more robustly, even if you live in an apartment or rental. Some options to consider in making your home office feel like its own space include:
- Using different lighting
- Hanging new wallpaper/painting
- Hanging a picture gallery or inspirational items
- Adding some greenery
By creating a workspace that feels separate from the rest of the home, you’re more likely to get things done. But, we’ll talk more about productivity later.
Setting Up for Your Physical and Mental Health
There’s no question that this pandemic has already contributed to a variety of mental health issues. People are scared, stressed, confused, and anxious. So, when you’re working from home, it’s important to take care of yourself.
One way to do that is to make sure you have the right setup to be comfortable. Utilize furniture that will allow you to sit with proper posture, so you’re not straining your back or neck. Use the right lighting to avoid feeling tired. Step away from your computer periodically to avoid hurting or tiring out your eyes.
You can manage your mental health by taking frequent breaks throughout the day. Find a good work-life balance by forming a daily routine, so you’re not working late into the night and giving up free time with family and friends. Additionally, position your office where there is as much natural light as possible. You’ll soak up a lot of Vitamin D which can help to reduce fatigue and boost your mood.
How to Be More Productive at Home
No matter how great your office looks and how functional it may be, it’s still easy to be distracted at home. So, it’s important that your space isn’t just functional. It should inspire you and encourage productivity and creativity.
One way to do that, of course, is to eliminate as many distractions as possible. You can start by removing technology if it isn’t absolutely needed. Hide your phone or tablet away until it’s time to take a break. Don’t work with the television on. Don’t let your office space or desk be clutter.
It’s also a good idea to decorate your workspace with things that inspire you. Think about how your desk at the office was laid out. Maybe you had a picture of your family or friends, a small plant, bands you liked, or inspirational quotes. Your home office should include things that inspire you and boost your focus, like candles, pops of color, and items that can absorb noise like pillows or furniture.
If you’re nervous about working from home for the first time, creating a workspace that fits your needs and focuses on your health and productivity is a great way to reduce that stress. You may even find you’re more productive at home once you get into a healthy routine. For now, it’s the best way to stay safe, and bring a bit of normalcy to the everyday.
About Beau Peters