The pandemic forced us to do things differently. We all had opinions and practices that got busted up. For example, pre-pandemic, we may have thought homeschoolers were a bunch of weirdos who let their kids sleep in, play at the park all day, and are those poor kids “socialized”? I was one of those weirdos and it ain’t as easy as it looks, right? And a teacher gift used to be a scented candle, now we are willing to give them a kidney!
Here’s another example, Zoom used to be the sound that the car makes, and now “how to look good on a zoom call” has a bazillion hits.
Employers have seen the benefit of remote staff and saved a ton of money by closing offices. And we are “meeting” with other people in totally new ways.
Our home office has taken on a whole new role. We can’t sit in our jammies and pay bills on a laptop with bedhead anymore, and the desk tucked in the corner of the spare bedroom needs an upgrade.
We don’t need to mimic the corner office but there are some things that we can do to boost our productivity. Your work environment, whether working remotely for someone else, starting or running your own business, or paying your home bills and keeping the family on track, has a very real effect on you.
Consider your workspace.
An office up-level is self-care; it’s about your physical health, improving the quality of your work, feeling productive and less stressed. It can really boost your spirits.
Pay attention to your chair.
If you don’t have perfect posture, consider lower back support; a foam roller, rolled-up towel, or small pillow may work as well as an expensive ergonomic chair. And stand or stretch every 45 to 60 minutes.
Raise the screen.
Your computer monitor should be at eye level; If you use a laptop it is a bit trickier. You may need to set it on a stack of books and use a wireless keyboard if you do a lot of typing, or use the dictating function for documents. Your laptop is still portable which is the main benefit.
Take a look at your lighting.
One of the benefits of working from home instead of at the office is most homes don’t have overhead fluorescent lighting. Assess your lighting and look for ways to make it brighter, lighter, happier. Natural light is best and studies show it’s great for our mood, mental health, and productivity. See if you can set up your workstation near a window especially for morning light.
Be video meeting ready.
Believe it or not the video quality and sound quality are more important than appearance so use headphones. If you look gorgeous from the waist up but you are blurry and sound like you’re underwater then you’re just a pretty mermaid with nothing to say. You don’t have to have a fancy backdrop if you have a neat and tidy room and a clutter-free desk. Be ready to mute your microphone or stop the video to blow your nose. And please don’t slurp your drink.
You shouldn’t have to shuffle everything on your desk to find your project folder like it’s some sort of treasure hunt. Use a program like Evernote.com to get rid of paper piles and digitally file those “I don’t know what to do with this crap” that you will need eventually, but not now.
(How to use Evernote is a future blog post, stay tuned)!
Get rid of trip hazards.
Could you get to your desk in the dark? Use velcro, zip ties, or tape for the tangle of power cords. Whatever else is in the way, find it a home if it’s an office essential or threaten to donate if it belongs to someone else and should be somewhere else.
Chaos and clutter are holding you back- do you realize clutter is just an unmade decision? Get on it!
Create your vibe.
Just like any other room in your home, the office is much more enjoyable when it’s beautiful and fits your vibe. Stay true to your personal style as it fits into the function of the space and add personal mementos, your favorite colors, candles or diffusers, or plants. Stream ambient soundscapes from YouTube or Spotify- jazz, classical, nature, rock- whatever inspires you.
You spend a lot of time in your home office so make it a reflection of the best you. Bring it up to the level you deserve.