If the past year has taught us something, that must be that the way we look at our work has changed drastically. Whether you have embraced the remote worker life or adopting a 'flexible working' approach, finding ways to create your own safe space to work from at home can become a true game-changer.
Things have changed drastically recently. 55% of US workers want a home and office working mixture. Employers expect the proportion of regular home workers to double in the UK from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic. In 10 years, employment expert Alicia Tung has predicted, China will be facing a 60/40 split of onsite/remote work.
You want to find a "home office" that you can call your own. Whether this is an actual home office, your bedroom or living room, this space can help you feel more at home while working remotely.
A few of my favourite tools
When it comes to working from home, I recommend a few tools to improve your experience.
- Get a good set of noise-cancelling headphones with a microphone or a headset. It will help you focus on the task at hand when the outside environment is too distracting.
- A timer. It helps me keeping track of my working hours and encourages me to take plenty of breaks.
- A separate keyboard is another handy tool that has helped me with my posture in the past.
- Water jugs of any kind. Keeping hydrated should not be a luxury.
- Keep a tidy workspace. Whether it's your dinner table or desk, less is more. A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind.
- Coffivity is one of the best music companions when working from home.
Why setting boundaries matters
Finding a way to create a physical separation from work and personal life is vital, as you don't want to get frustrated by not focusing on the computer screen for a few minutes because toys fly over your head.
A global study of 12,000 employees showed that 89% of those aged 22 to 25 and 83% of those aged 26 had more stress and anxiety this year than before. As work issues keep spilling over personal life due to a lack of boundaries, people struggle to find balance.
There are certain limitations, costs and demands regarding setting up a physical office space to be prepared to accommodate. However, this is where creativity can go a long way.
You have to figure out the limitations of the room before you can set it up the way you'd like it. Is it a lack of boundaries? Space? Comfortable seat? What is the one thing you can do to make your home office more accommodating? I explore various ways to create better boundaries, including building a temporary wall to signal their family they are "at work", just like a pillow fort, but for adults.
Find your own home office
Before you even start thinking about your office, let's discuss some things you might want to consider. Which room are you looking to turn into your office?
I have worked with countless people looking to create a better working environment. You don't need a dedicated office. You can set up a little space in the living room, or you can have a home office setup in the bedroom or move a desk in your lounge.
Most people have a fairly standard arrangement of furniture with a desk or desk stand, and maybe a computer you can use. Most times, we can identify one quietest room where we can carry out our work in peace.
There may also be a psychological advantage to having a dedicated workspace separate from your personal space. A recent study from Stanford University, for example, showed that only 49% of American workers log in remotely from a dedicated room, while the remaining 51% are working either from their bedroom or a communal area.
Finding a place with plenty of natural light, enough space for you to focus without distractions is going to be critical.
For many, working from home is not natural, and that is understandable. With a massive chunk of the workforce forced into it, there is much to be learned about what makes remote workers flourish and struggle.
Being more honest about what you can work with and thinking outside the box will be the way forward.