Many of us have put in place temporary solutions to working from home, from a pop-up desk on the dining room table to sometimes lounging on the couch as we take work calls. Making a work environment that is just right for you and your way of working is one of the perks of working from home. As companies start making remote working a permanent solution or become more willing to let you work from home part-time, now's the opportunity to make your work from home space and routine exactly what you need it to be.
Find and dedicate your work zone
It's time to remove temporary solutions and make something long-lasting. If you have an office or spare room to clearly dedicate space to building a desk, that's always the easiest option to get started. However, this isn't a reality for everyone so I'd recommend putting aside time to declutter and review all of the space in your home that can be repurposed for work.
Rearranging and decluttering can make you see your home layout in a completely new way. Some might find space for a desk but others might find an area to dedicate to storing work items and documents, a simple but effective solution to keeping your work/life balance in check.
When looking for a particular work zone, here are some tips on what you're looking for:
Don't make relaxation zones a place of work, ensure you can mentally distinguish between your zone for work and zone for self care and relaxation
Find an area with good lighting to reduce eyestrain, preferably near a window so you have somewhere to easily change up your view and focus
Prioritise areas with power outlets to charge your devices
Make sure you're far enough from visual and audio distractions like the TV.
Brighten up your work space
Some offices have strict decoration rules, and these go completely out of the window when your office space is dictated by you. Find quotes, art or photos that inspire you and surround yourself with these. This can not only help you productivity, but by creating an environment that is tailored just for you can often renew inspiration or a feeling of complete comfort that allows you to unleash your best work.
If wall or desk space to put up photos and art isn't possible, plants are a great decorative option. Plants in the workspace can increase productivity and keep stress at bay so make sure your home office has at least one. If tending to plants to be a bit of a chore, succulents are always a good way to go!
Be mindful of how your eating patterns have changed
When you're at home and have full access to a kitchen, it can be too easy to snack more and spend time preparing and cooking a delicious breakfast or lunch. While this sounds wonderful, time spent preparing and cooking food can cut into your work or eating time and effectively extend your work day.
The best thing you can do to keep your work from home eating patterns in check is to take on a "going to the office" mentality and prepare your meals the night before. Preparing food ahead of time ensures that you use your meal times to eat, and that you aren't performing non-work tasks that spend energy better used for work. And when it's time to eat, stop work eat!
The same rule goes for snacks, stay mindful. Snacking isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's good to be mindful of the choices you're making and what temptations you have stored in your food cupboards. Instant fixes of sugar can feel like a work from home indulgent but too much can impact your productivity levels.
Prepare and stock up on snacks that are nutritious and keep your energy levels up throughout the work day. You don't have to find space in the small communal fridge so you can make as many brainfood snacks as you want!
Keep strong boundaries between your work and home time
If you're working from home regularly, it’s easy to let your work life blend into your personal life. It's important to maintain a boundary for both and pick a finishing time each day and sticking to it is the simplest way to maintain it.
Sometimes extending the work day can feel justified as you cut out commuting time, however commuting can often be important segue that helps you transition from work to home. Whether you'd typically listen to the radio or your favourite playlist on a commute, turn that commuting time you're tempted to use working late, to transition into relaxation or home mode.
Here are some tips on what you could do with your extra hour or two with the lack of commuting time:
Go for a walk or exercise. Working from home means your step count can plummet easily, make sure you're keeping active and go for a walk or put on a YouTube workout video if you'd rather not step outside
Do something that brings you joy. Whether that's listening to an episode of your favourite podcast or indulging in some self care, use your extra time to do something that lifts your spirit and puts you in a positive mood for the rest of your day
Enjoy some quality time with your family. It's easy to get swept up in routine, but extra time allows you space for spontaneity. With no plan on the cards you can be truly present in those moments with your loved ones and that's time worth cherishing.
What's a hobby you've always wanted to pick up but haven't had the time? Reclaim your hour of sitting in traffic and use some of it to pick up that hobby. Quite often the thought of starting something new feels like it could massively impact on your time, however committing half an hour or an hour a few times a week to a hobby is more than enough to get started!
Working from home is a great way to discover how you like to work and the environments you thrive in. Use remote working opportunities to create a healthier balance between your work and personal life and find a way of working that's perfect for you.