Tips for designing your ideal home office
During the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have implemented mandatory work-from-home policies. If we are still reducing new cases and trying to limit community spread, these new rules may exist for a long while before any of us return to a commute to the office. That means a lot of us are experiencing a pretty unique challenge: Working from home for the first time, full-time.
Even if you worked from home intermittently in the past, this could feel entirely different because of how significant (and sudden) the change is. Not only are we trying to balance our nine to five workdays, we also have to take into consideration our family being at home full-time as well. One of the best solutions in managing this new normal is to create a space that’s entirely devoted to working. Here are some of my best tips to make sure you’re successful in getting the job done.
Start by getting dressed
You grab your phone, and you look at something, and you think you need to answer it right away, so you start working. The next thing you know, it’s almost lunchtime, and you’re still in your pyjamas, you haven’t showered, and you feel like your entire day is thrown off. Try your best to stick to a routine when you are home, and that doesn’t mean rolling out of bed and connecting to work. Wake up, have your regular coffee and breakfast, take a shower, and get dressed as if you were still planning on leaving the house for work. You will feel better and more empowered to put your best foot forward.
Keep your work life and home life separate
Pre-pandemic, most of us were used to the separation that came between our work life and home life. We had particular schedules to follow that helped us maintain that work-life balance. Now that’s all gone out the window, and it can be tricky to disconnect from work when you’re in your home each day, every day.
A separate room that you can designate solely as your office space is the ideal scenario. However, if that’s not an option, you can still create that workspace in an existing room, whether that’s a specific corner in your living room, a section of your kitchen table or your dining room.
Make your office space comfortable
This seems intuitive, but think about how many hours you are going to spend working each day, whether it’s a regular eight-hour schedule or a few hours in the morning and afternoon, it should be comfortable. If you can, invest in a good, ergonomic office chair that will give you proper support, and try to find a space that will offer up as much natural light as possible. That’s an immediate mood booster, in my opinion. If you’re in a windowless space, position your desk where you can stare at something (a beautiful picture hanging on a wall, for example) when you glance up from your computer.
Set your work hours
I recognize this is easier said than done, but the more you can be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not, you will genuinely optimize your time and get some of your best work done. Have you ever tried to “finish up” some work after dinner? Or when the kids go to bed? You don’t have the same level of focus, or attention to detail when you’re trying to cram in work in between regular life schedules. It can be challenging, and it requires a certain level of accountability, but it’s far better to establish those boundaries early on, so you’re not feeling like you’re in this constant mode of catching up. Having separate time to work will help you be more present in your regular life outside the office.
Don’t get distracted by the news cycle
Distraction is one of the biggest hurdles people face when working from home. While you likely took a few breaks during the day when you were in the office, you can still mimic the same at home (whether that’s making the kids a snack or having a coffee break), but be mindful of how long you’re taking. The longer the break, the harder it will feel to get back into work mode.
Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.
Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.
Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design.