The latest data for the USA shows that Coronavirus-related cases have risen by 15% in the past 14 days. On 11 October, more than 44,000 new cases were reported across the country, which means there has been an average of 49,674 cases per day in the past two weeks. As a direct result of this, it appears as though the ‘new normal’ is here to stay. So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to create a new normal office space in your home. Here are three top tips to help you create a productive home office.
#1 Select a space with a focus on productivity
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get distracted. After all, it’s understandable that your attention will be drawn to those unfinished DIY tasks, the leftover errands, and the TV in the corner. However, it is possible to be productive when working from home. In fact, a recent study has shown that remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts. This means that home workers do more than three additional weeks of work every year.
If you want to maximize your productivity, create your home office in a space where you can minimize distractions, like a box room. By using a dedicated space for your home office, you can physically shut out the distractions and create a space that your mind associates with work. Plus, as an added bonus, when you finish work, you’ll be able to close the door and leave work behind.
#2 Follow ergonomic rules for comfort and productivity
When you’re designing your home office, you need to consider health over style. After all, research shows that sitting at a desk for long periods causes damage to the human body, including increasing your blood pressure, creating excess body fat around the waist, and raising your cholesterol levels.
In fact, sitting for prolonged periods can even increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. As a result of this, when planning your workspace, you should search for desks with a difference, rather than something standard that doesn’t suit your needs.
This is because, if you’re sitting comfortably at a desk and you have everything you need available, you’ll be much more productive. Look for a desk with storage that suits your needs and options with helpful tools such as slide-out shelves, cabinets, and corner configurations that allow you to move around a little.
In addition to this, if you use a desktop computer or a laptop, you should choose an ergonomic chair that contours to your back. These will usually have adjustable seat heights, depths, and lumbar support. Finally, if you’re working from a laptop or desktop, consider adding a second screen on your desk. This will be slightly elevated, so it will force you to sit up straight and lower the stress on your back.
#3 Maintain office hours
When you work from home, it can be easy to become consumed by your work. After all, unlike when you leave the office, all your working materials are always with you when you’re at home. As a result, it can be tempting to reply to a few emails in the evening or get ahead of next week on a Sunday night. However, this can be a slippery slope and you need to maintain regular office hours if you want to maximize your productivity.
By being strict with your 9-5 office hours, you’ll create a routine and a structure to your day. Plus, you’ll find it easier to enter ‘work mode’ around the house. As an added bonus, your work-life balance will be much better and you’ll find it easier to enjoy quality time with the family when work isn’t on your mind.
Follow these three top tips and you’ll find it easy to create a home office that boosts your productivity and doesn’t interrupt your work-life balance. With the ‘new normal’ here to stay for the medium term, it’s time we all get ahead of the curve and design practical workspaces at home.