In these strange and changing times, many of us have been working from home for the last who-knows-how-many weeks. No matter what your situation, it’s important to create the perfect home office set-up.
Because by doing so, you’ll find yourself with a better spot to knuckle down and focus. In addition, you’ll feel more comfortable and, if you have the space, you’ll have that mental separation between your home’s ‘living’ and ‘working’ areas. With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks to improve your home office and overall working day.
Get yourself into working mode
Before looking at ways to create the perfect home office, it’s important to feel the part. For many of us, rolling out of bed and working in our pyjamas is not going to translate into a successful day. Therefore, we recommend changing out of your night clothes and into something that signals a shift in working mode. A shower first is optional, but erm… highly recommended.
In addition to changing out of her pyjamas first thing, our Growth Manager Senem also recommends regular breaks. “Putting in coffee and lunch breaks into the calendar is important so that you don’t turn into a workaholic,” she says. Some of the TransferGo team have also found a walk or run before work integral to getting into work mode. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, it could be key to creating that separation between waking up and working hard.
Make yourself comfortable
It goes without saying that comfort is key when creating your perfect home office set-up. We realise this is difficult when space is limited, but if you can try and work in a table and chair set-up, it does make things more straightforward. (And yes, the dining table will do.) That said, if you’ve found another way to work and it works, that’s great. Our Office Assistant, Ausra bought herself a beanbag and a laptop stands and it’s working. “It’s the weirdest set-up ever. I kind of like it, though I’m working on the floor most of the time,” she says.
If you can, make sure to position your laptop or computer at eye level. Also be sure to take regular breaks and if you find it helps, move around a little. Working on the sofa isn’t great to do full-time, but sometimes it’s okay. As long as you’re comfortable, your body will tell you what’s working. And if in doubt, reach out to your employer if you’re employed. They might be able to offer you some advice and may even provide you with some extra equipment.
Avoid any distractions
One of the perils of working from home is the constant distractions. Whether that’s the little ones grabbing your ankles or the pull of household work—yes, who knew washing up could look so enticing?—there’s always something else you could be seeing to. That’s why we recommend creating a separate working area and shutting the door if you have the space. Or if you do have to work in the kitchen, try blocking off separate periods of the day to work on household chores.
Is your phone always pinging? Whilst it’s tempting to see what Julie from down the road had for breakfast this morning, social media can be a huge time thief. Try turning off your notifications or putting your phone onto airplane mode during working hours. Apps like Brain.fm are also great for providing some background noise to help you focus.
Block off your day into different sections
As lightly touched on above, it’s important to structure your day and create a plan for yourself. We always recommend a diary or schedule anyway, but it’s particularly important to do so when working from home. If you’re prone to checking social media, schedule 10 minutes at lunch time for catching up. Or if you enjoy reading books, treat yourself to a reading half hour once you’ve completed X, Y and Z.
Despite the somewhat dull aspect of doing so, scheduling time for household jobs can also be very effective. That way, if the heap of laundry is piling up, you know you’ll be able to get it done between the hours of 4pm and 5pm. Then, you’re almost at the end of the day. On that note, don’t forget to schedule time in for that post-work tipple and wind-down.
Lights, camera, action
Finally, pay attention to the lighting. Working in dim spaces is not good for your eyes. Aside from the annoyance of squinting, it can also make you feel really drowsy. So if you can, try to work in the natural light with your curtains drawn wide open. Or invest in a daylight lamp or play around with the lighting you have to create the perfect working conditions.
Not only will the above help you to work better, it’ll also improve your camera view if you’re logging into video conference calls. It’s important to think of everything, you see. Even your bookshelf behind you. Yes that’s right, don’t forget to have your most impressive books on display. After all, you want to give off the best impression.