While some may have returned to physical office spaces, there are plenty of people that are still working from home and will be for some time. It also sounds like a lot of companies will be moving towards having their teams remote working permanently. That makeshift office you set up at the beginning of the pandemic – well, it may have now become your permanent workspace. Let’s treat it as such!
Survey the Space
Take a look around. What may have been a temporary set up, in the beginning, might not be working anymore, so it is time to think about a space that you can make your own. Start by making it comfortable as well as functional. Make a wish list of your ideal space. Does it look like your old in-office setup? Does it include an oversized comfy (ergonomically correct) chair? You may not be able to get everything on the list, but isn’t that what wish lists are for?
Think outside the box. And even the big box stores, check online for some of the items and don’t forget second-hand buying (my favorite kind of recycling). You can often find things on Facebook Marketplace or some of the selling apps. Oh, and it’s garage sale season, so you may find something right in your own neighborhood. Sites like Wayfair have tons of options in just about every price range, and any size to work with space limitations.
Think About Privacy and Quiet Time
If you are working in the midst of a busy household, this may be something you need to put consideration into. If you don’t have the luxury of four walls and a door, you will need to come up with a system that allows you to get work done or take calls. Noise-canceling headphones can be a sign that you are not to be disturbed. If you are on calls often you can have something like a flag system that symbols you need to not be disturbed – flag up, go away; flag down, come on in. If you have pets, think about how they fit into the scenario. If you have a dog who is a barker, you may need to come up with a solution for when you need to concentrate on a Zoom. But, you should also get familiar with how your company culture has adapted to this new normal. Maybe kitties making their presence known while you are on camera is just fine.
Accessorize and Maintain
Dress up your space! Even though you are working from home you can still have your favorite coffee mug. Your goal is to make it a space that you can spend a few hours each day. I am a firm believer that your physical space has a great impact on your mental state, so prepare accordingly. Scour your house for some accessories – a favorite lamp, a cool cup to put your pens in, and maybe a great basket to throw papers into. If you want some new accessories, try places like Home Goods or TJ Maxx that always have fun office supplies; and of course, as mentioned above, garage sales and Marketplace may have some treasures.
If you are on a lot of calls, think about the lighting. If it’s a little dull, you can get an inexpensive ring light on Amazon. Check out my resource page for a link to the one that can be clipped right to your phone or computer.
Have a regular “maintenance” schedule. If you are a paper piler then make a plan once a week to go through the papers. Give your desk a wipe down occasionally, vacuum the crumbs out of your keyboard, and don’t forget to empty your trash.
If your commute has suddenly become the walk from the kitchen to the dining room, taking a little time to map out a home office plan may be just what you need to keep you motivated. Just remember…as great as you are going to make that space – make sure you are still shutting down at the end of your workday.