Millions of people around the world now work from home. This has always been possible for those who work with information-related jobs but the move to remote work has been catalyzed by Covid-19. Around 80% have said that they will allow their employees to continue working from home after the risks of the pandemic subside. With all the traveling time saved, and the ability to take a strategic timeout from your family, you may be spending more time in your home office than anywhere else in your home. To maximize your productivity (and to have a believable alibi for those strategic timeouts) and to look the part during your Zoom calls, you need to make your home office look professional.
Get Your Lighting Right
You may need to invest in a desk lamp or keep the windows open. Getting the lighting bright but balanced is going to help you wake up in the mornings and get into the zone. However, harsh light or light that’s just too bright you are going to create glare and contributes to eye strain and fatigue – you should feel relaxed and comfortable, your lighting must be doing the work and not your eyes. Bright or dim light is going to also mess with your video calls and may lead people to think that you are unprofessional.
Is Your Home Office Private?
Even if you are one of those people who thrive in chaos, privacy for your home office is important for others too. For those who don’t share a home with other people, you still need to draw a line for where work starts and ends. At a behavior level, this can help your productivity as your brain begins to associate this space with focus and alertness. Most people share a home with other people and will need to set up a home office in a shared room, use dividers or a Glazed Screen to cordon off your desk. These will make you feel like you have your own space, signal to others that this is your space, create a protective Coronavirus barrier between you and others, and help you to look professional during video calls.
Help yourself get in the zone but trying to simulate the office environment. If your office environment doesn’t get you going, then grab this opportunity to create a productive environment you desire. Avoid cluttering your space and adding potential distractions. Consider adding some green, especially those stuck indoors because of lockdowns. Studies have been done on the effects of having plants in the office space in recent decades. These concluded that adding plants in the office environment boosted productivity and reduced stress. This is another signal in video calls that you care about your office environment and have put effort into setting it up. Some clever plants, like snake plants, are not only nice companions but filter the air, allowing you to breathe in the clean and fresh air in your home office.
Consider adding art, ornaments, posters, family photos, certificates, or even motivational quotes that make you feel inspired and motivate you to work. Some people like keeping a bookshelf in their office or a book on their desk that has had a significant impact on them to read passages or to refer to for inspiration and to trigger certain frameworks of thinking.
Think about how your office space is going to impact you on a physical, psychological, and physiological level. A comfortable chair is important as you are going to be spending a lot of time in it. However, there is no chair that is going to allow you to sit in it the whole day or night and not give you issues. Consider having a small area or shelf that could double up as a standing desk or swapping your chair for a swiss exercise ball. You can move between these when you feel your energy levels dipping or your body wanting a change of position. Put reminders up near your screen or on your desk to remind you to change positions or get up and stretch. Keep up with the principle of your brain associating your office space with alertness and productivity – not a sore back and low energy levels!
Home office space is now common and seems to be the offices of the future. It may be worth slowly investing in equipment that promotes good ergonomic practices, like laptop stands and standing desks. Make your space clean and green by removing clutter and adding some plants. Try to make it private if possible and decorate your space to inspire and motivate you to work.