While working from home used to be an occasional way to change up the schedule, fit in other commitments or juggle the complexities of freelance life, nowadays, more and more of us have had to embrace the lifestyle – and it looks set to stay for the future. Not all of us have space or luxury to dedicate an entire spare room to create an office space to work from, though, and it can sometimes be challenging to try to make it work, especially when you have to share your home environment with others.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be an impossible task, and you can create your own productive working environment, even in the smallest of areas. With a little creativity, determination, and planning, here’s how you can make working from home, work for you, wherever you are.
Mark your working territory
When it comes to getting in the right mind-set to work from home, marking a specific territory can be very helpful. It can allow you to set boundaries and limits for how and when space is used – for instance, if you hope to avoid embarrassing interruptions from other family members during online meetings, having a clear working area can tell others when to avoid going there.
Setting a territory that you will use during working hours can also help you to focus on what you need to do and avoid becoming distracted by other tasks around the home. It can, after all, get easy to lose sight of your workload when you have household chores vying for your attention, so choose a space where you are free from the demands of the washing machine, kitchen timer, or anything else.
You may also find that you have multiple working areas around the home, especially if you need to make regular video calls or work on a laptop. Some areas might be better suited for quiet, focused work, while others may have better lighting or ambience that would be ideal for online meetings.
Have the right equipment
An important aspect of working from home is ensuring that you have all the right equipment to hand. You should keep in mind that many of the tools you may have been used to using in a professional workplace may not be accessible so easily at home. For instance, residential internet services can often be slower and more erratic, so you may need to look into cyber-security solutions and better providers.
Your employer, if you have one, may offer to provide essential items such as laptops or desktops, screens, and office furnishing, which can certainly be a great help. However, if you’re responsible for sourcing these yourself, the cost of buying these can add up quickly. Try looking at resale sites for used or unwanted furniture or equipment to help save money, and keep an eye out for promotions on electrical items online.
Create a working atmosphere
Once you’re set up with a dedicated corner of your home to work from, a desk, and everything you need to hand, it’s time to create the right atmosphere to work in. This doesn’t need a lot of overthinking; having some smart lighting design and ensuring that your working area is free of distracting clutter can go a long way.
To get you in the right frame of mind for working at home, think about what inspires or motivates you. It can be easy to get distracted, lose focus or drop your concentration when you’re at home, so having a photo, some music, or an accessory to remind you of the things you enjoy can be a great way to boost your motivation.
You’ll also want to make sure that your working space is well lit, without being too cosy. While a cosy nook can be wonderful for relaxing in, it is often far less helpful when trying to be productive. Having a variety of lighting options in an area can be a good way of adapting a room that has to serve multiple purposes.
Finally, when you’re working from home, remember to take breaks away from the desk and screen just as you would in the workplace. It can be much easier to stay connected, especially when everything else you need is close at hand, but this can fast lead to exhaustion. Even a short five-minute break spent elsewhere can make a huge difference to you, so take a moment or two to do this throughout the day.