The last few years have seen the economy transformed. It wasn’t so long ago that working from home was considered a luxury. One global pandemic and a few lockdowns later, and many of us think of it as the standard.
There’s a lot to like about working from home, but it’s fair to say that there are a few downsides. Among these are distraction, and a loss of productivity. If you’re going to be working from home, even if it’s just for a few hours every week, then it’s worth taking the time to optimise your environment and working practices. You’ll be rewarded with a more fulfilling working life, lower stress levels, and a better quality of work.
Creating a dedicated workspace
You’ll fare much better if you’re working in a dedicated office space than you would be on your sofa, or in bed. Reclaim a spare bedroom, and set strict office hours so that your cohabitants disturb you. This might be difficult if there are children in the house – but be strict, and you’ll have a much easier time focusing on the task at hand.
An office space will help to put you in the mood for work. You’ll develop the habits and mental associations you’ll need if you’re going to get the best from working at home. In other words, you won’t have the nagging urge to turn Netflix on if you’re not sat in front of the television.
Your choice of furniture and equipment matters. Try to avoid flashing ‘gaming’ chairs; go instead for quality chairs that are proven to last, and that will support your posture. An adjustable desk and a mechanical keyboard might also help. Generally speaking, bespoke furniture is a good investment, especially if you’re going to be spending a lot of time working from home.
You should also think about the arrangement of furniture in your space. Make sure that your monitor is level with your eyes, and you’re not hyperextending your shoulder in order to reach your mouse. Take regular breaks, and learn the stretches you need to stay limber.
Lighting and its impact on focus
Lighting provides our brains with essential cues about the world around us. Natural light tends to be the winner when it comes to our stress levels, but you’ll also want focussed light in certain places, so that you can properly see what you’re doing. If you haven’t already done so, turn down the brightness on your monitor; your eyes will adjust after a few minutes, and you’ll save big on your electricity bill in the long term.
Consideration of noise levels
Noise can be a considerable source of distraction. If you’re having to work in a loud household, then think about how you might isolate yourself with the help of some productivity-boosting ambient music, and a set of noise-cancelling headphones.
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