Making Room for Work: The Perfect Pandemic Home Office
The novel coronavirus pandemic has pushed physical offices into the virtual realm, meaning that you must now learn to make room in your home for work. To maximize your productivity, health, and even your mood while you work, follow the guide below on creating the perfect office space for teleworking in this new age!
Discovering Space for the Perfect Home Office
You don’t have to move out or rent an office to acclimate to the new telecommuting standard. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. It is highly likely that you already have an office in your house, hidden away beneath what may now be a guest room or even a garage!
Still, the first thing you must realize when designing your brand-new work-from-home (WFH) space is that you cannot simply work anywhere in your home. Further, it is best to keep your work area restricted to only one or two spaces. Why? It is essential that you have somewhere in your home where you can “get away” from work when business hours are over.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not yet subsided. So, it is an understatement to say that we are not yet back to business-as-usual. When you’ve clocked out of work at the end of the day, you may not have the opportunity to go to the bar or the movie theater to kick off the weekend. Instead, you’ll need to reserve certain areas of your home for decompression. That said, be mindful about where you end up stationing your work area. Your chosen space should be:
- Relatively secluded to maximize your ability to focus. Ideally, a separate room should be available, so you can close the door to keep children and pets out during the workday.
- Free of distractions. Don’t try to double your game den or living room for an office. These rooms are full of TVs, video game consoles, and everything that pulls your attention away from your job duties!
- On the side of the house that is opposite from your bedroom. You need to give yourself the ability to “leave” work at the end of the day. The concept of “taking work home with you” can still exist, even in the WFH era. Give yourself as much distance as possible to separate yourself from your job when you’re off the clock.
Of course, the room with all the above attributes must also offer enough space in which you can operate comfortably. Consider what equipment you need to fulfill your job at home. Does the room have enough space for a desk, whiteboards, and anything else you may need? The last thing you want to do is make yourself feel cramped in an area where you’ll be spending around 8 hours daily. So, give this factor just as much attention as those listed above.
Customizing Your Brand-New In-Home Workspace
According to the cognitive scientist, Dr. Anja Jamrozik, the best home offices are characterized by the following traits:
- They have good air quality – whether by an open window or a functioning A/C.
- The room is kept at a pleasant temperature.
- There should be an abundance of natural light during the day.
- They are stocked with comfortable furniture.
So, what does this mean for you? This means that, once you have chosen the perfect room for your home office according to the traits above, you’ll need to tailor it to fit these criteria. So, let’s start there.
Addressing air quality. There are a few things you can do to keep the air fresh in your home office. In your preparation thus far, you may have come across the fancy home workspaces that are chock-full of plants. While it may seem to be just an aesthetic bonus, greenery will serve a larger purpose in your new WFH life.
Many houseplants such as English Ivy and Pothos are known to filter pollutants like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from the air. (Keep in mind that you’ll have to pack your office pretty densely with houseplants to experience this perk – but who doesn’t want to work in an indoor jungle? Plus, studies have shown that indoor plants help to reduce stress. So, get planting!)
Balancing temperature and light. Unless you want your electric bill to go up from running the A/C all day, both these aspects will be heavily centered on your proximity to windows. Firstly, cracking open the window and keeping a gentle fan running is one of the best ways to keep yourself cool. (Plus, your plants will get plenty of light!)
Secondly, direct exposure to sunlight can improve your productivity levels. How? Research has illustrated that the level of sunlight one receives is positively correlated with improved cognitive function. So, pulling back those blinds and letting the sun shine on you can do wonders to improve your focus and efficiency as you work.
Lastly, your new office doesn’t have to be as drab and dull as where you were previously working. Spruce up your place a bit and ensure that you’ll be working from a positive mindset by adding any of the following shades to the walls:
- Blue. Great for office spaces, this color is known to boost focus and induce calmness.
- Yellow. Always a fun hue, yellow has been shown to encourage creativity and increase positivity!
- Green. This is perfect for those who plan on working long hours since it assists in improving mood and doesn’t cause eye fatigue.
Picking the right furniture. The swanky office chair you’ve had your eye on may be comfortable, but will it appropriately support you in the long run? Before you start loading up your room with trendy furnishings, note the type of work you’ll be doing in your home office.
As you choose your new furniture, review the job duties you’ll be fulfilling in your new home office. For example, those that will be sitting throughout the day should invest in ergonomic chairs with back support. Still, your chairs, desks, lamps, and tables don’t have to be boring and ugly. Put a modern twist on your office by selecting geometric, minimalistic designs – or even go retro and fill your space with antique pieces.
Make your new home office unique to who you are. With these design tips, you’ll discover that your productivity levels rise with the new accommodations and that you can have fun and stay positive while working!