Finding your Setting
Given the recent shift to remote work for many of us, setting up an efficient home office is more important than ever. Beyond navigating the technical aspects like higher speed internet, server connection, and video conferencing, you may be wondering how to make your physical office environment more practical, comfortable, and appealing.
If you are cohabitating and have separate rooms to work from and similar working hours, you are luckily well positioned to have a minimal amount of distractions. If you don’t have a separate office space available, or if you have multiple family members working or studying from home, you may find yourself setting up your work station in a common space such as a living or dining room.
Creating the Space
If you have two people working in a spare room that currently has only one desk, it may be time to move out that guest sofa and replace it with an additional working surface. While it may be tempting to purchase something temporary, consider that your future may include more time working from home as companies make shifts in their office schedules and protocols. Depending on your preference, you can position your working surfaces to be back to back, or create a larger central work surface with chairs on either side. Depending on the nature of your work, make sure you have enough surface space to lay out reference materials.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
It’s important to establish boundaries and schedules with your new “office mates” so that interruptions are minimized. One way to address this is to create a divider for your space. This can be accomplished simply with standing screens or curtain dividers. For example, you can utilize simple mobile dividers that can be easily put away as needed, or add a ceiling mounted curtain track with a colorful drapery that can be pulled aside when you want to open the space back up. These items can also perform double-duty as a backdrop for your video conference calls.
Now may be a great time to invest in furniture and amenities that add to your physical comfort and aid in your workflow. An ergonomic high backed desk chair with an adjustable seat and arms can do wonders for your posture and nerve health. A mobile desk surface that allows for standing is another great option to consider. Ensure that you have the proper keyboard and mouse pads to eliminate stress on your wrists and elbows. Place phone and accessory chargers and office supplies within easy reach so that you have everything you need at arm’s length.
Let the Sun Shine In?
If you are blessed with a lovely view from your work space, there may be times during the day you want full exposure, and times that diffusion is necessary for eye comfort. Roller shades or sheers can be purchased in a various levels of opacity. Some manufacturers are happy to send shade or sheer fabric samples to try out to make sure you hit the right balance. Blackout over drapes can also be utilized for times when you want to retain coolness and privacy.
Once you have your work station, privacy options, and light levels situated, it’s time to move on to the most fun part- making your space your own. Adding accent pieces that bring you joy can be a great mental pick-me-up during your work routine. These can be as simple as a family photo on your desk or as elaborate as new art pieces hung within view. Vibrant plants, a pop of color in a sculpture, fresh flowers, or an aromatic diffuser can bring a sense of well being. A new rug under your work space can add a wonderful sense of comfort. Ask yourself what inspires you most and let that lead the way in your selections. And remember that you always have the option to update your space as you go- that’s part of the beauty of creating your remote working environment.