The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way people interact, study, and work. With social distancing being practiced in many places, many office workers are advised (or even told) to work remotely. However, having internet access at home isn’t the “end all be all” of working out of your house. Some people have the luxury of an extra room for work, while others have to make do with limited space in small apartments. With the right setup you can earn more, achieve better results, and get more done in less time so you can get out of the home office and spend more time with your family. No matter the size of your home, here are some nifty ideas to create a functional work space during the new normal of working from home.
Designate a space
Ideally, you would use a small room that can hold a desk and computer equipment and whose door can be shut for the essential need to separate work life from home life. If you can’t get a dedicated space you can separate from the rest of your life, try to find a niche space you can use that is out of the rest of the household’s way — and they out of yours — as much as possible. An enclosed porch, a large laundry room, or even a garden shed can also do the double-duty trick.
Sufficient (natural) light
To reduce eyestrain, you’ll want to set up sufficient lighting in your workspace. Natural light is conducive to a productive work environment, and helps conserve electricity too, as you don’t have to turn on the light unless it’s dark outdoors. Natural light also makes a space feel bigger —which is always a plus in a small space. Position your work desk in front or next to a window to optimize all this natural light and keep track of the time of day while working from home.
You’ll want to have plenty of closed storage so you don’t have to leave the mess for all to see at the end of the work day. Keep baskets or bins or file holders on your desk or on a nearby hard surface to help keep your paperwork nice and tidy. A clean and crisp work surface is important to mentally stay focused on the task at hand. Get inspiration from the IKEA catalog, or a quick stop to Mr DIY or Daiso for small inexpensive storage items.
Minimize noise and distractions
Working from home can be very distracting, especially if you have pets, kids or other family members around the house. Having a separate room for work is ideal, but sometimes you just have to make do with a corner of the living room or studio apartment. Consider putting a shelf or room divider to separate your workspace, or place something indicate to others that you are working and would appreciate not being disturbed during that time. If that doesn’t work, we recommend getting a good pair of noise canceling headphones (which you’ll probably need for virtual meetings anyway). For the serial snacker, grab whatever you may need to munch/drink before starting the day and put it within reach – this way you’ll avoid several trips to the fridge and can continue working with minimal distractions and interruptions.
Plug points and cable management
Make sure your workspace has enough plug points to power all your devices: laptop/desktop, table light, chargers, etc. Clearing a corner with a plug point would be ideal, but if you need to pull an extension to your workspace, make sure the cord is pulled along the wall, or taped securely to the floor to avoid accidentally tripping over it. Cable management can be rather time-consuming, but better safe than sorry, right?
Breathe some life into your space, so you’ll want to stay longer. A lovely plant is said to help keep you feeling calm and clean the air — plus it looks pretty too. Succulents are in trend right now, as well as small ornamental potted plants, but if you enjoy cooking at home, some herbs would be amazing too. All look lovely, are good for cleaning the air, and are low maintenance.
There are also plenty of videos on YouTube where people showcase their home office setups. We love the one in the video below, but there are lots more ideas you can find online (or IKEA), so take your time and browse around for ideas!