Welcome to the world of the work-at-home bunch. While it sounds cool, working from home does have its challenges. You may be facing some of those right about now.
The interruptions from family members, the feeling of isolation from your colleagues, the desire to run out for a coffee at Starbucks. Heck, right about now, you might even be missing that agent who never leaves the office, treating it like his own little social club.
The biggest challenge for many is staying motivated while working in a vacuum.
Self-motivation can be a tough nut to crack, but it all starts with creating the right environment – the home office.
It takes more than a comfy couch and a laptop
From the location within the home to getting the right gear and mindset, setting up your remote workspace takes some planning.
Start with location. If you have kids at home, set your office as far away from their play areas as possible.
Then, consider distractions that may come from outside the home. If your neighbors are using their “stay home” time to work on a car, chop down trees, or any other project that involves loud equipment, set the office on the far side of the home.
Do you have the right gear?
The two most important pieces of equipment you’ll need in your home office include:
- The right chair
- Good lighting
You will be in that chair for a good part of the workday. If it doesn’t support your back, however, it’s the last place you’ll want to park yourself.
Choosing an office chair is a lot like choosing a new bed. There are so many choices and, especially if you’re in a self-induced lockdown, you may not even get to try it out in person.
Natural light is the best, but don’t let that stop you if the only office location you have is windowless.
Overhead lighting is a must, according to Sherry Nothingam at Decoist.com. But you’ll need more.
“Task lights are undoubtedly the most essential part of the home office, and no matter what your job is, task lighting ensures that you get it done under the best possible illumination,” Nothingam suggests.
These can include table lamps, which “offer focused illumination,” according to Nothingam. The proper placement of task lamps (to avoid the eyestrain produced by glare and shadows) is important as well.
“For instance, an overhead spotlight situated behind you can result in glare on your computer screen,” according to Remodelista.com’s Christine Chang Hanway.
Place your task light “the side opposite from the hand that you write with” to avoid casting shadows, Hanway suggests.
It’s the little things that will round out your office, helping you remain productive and focused.
If you use a laptop, consider purchasing a stand for it. Elevating your screen helps reduce screen glare which can cause eye strain and headaches.
Use a desktop computer? Avoid neck and shoulder strain by elevating the monitor “… so your eyes are level with the top of the screen,” suggests physical therapist Jill M. Henderzahs-Mason at MayoClinic.org.
Finally, Alexis is always a useful tool. In times of utter boredom, ask her to play Jeopardy. More productive uses of Amazon’s Echo include connecting your calendar which will then be available by voice command.
You can also listen to podcasts, news or use the voice assistant to hold a meeting (Alexa for Business). Ask Alexa to “start the meeting” and, according to Tara Walker, with Amazon, she “turns on the video conferencing equipment, dials into your conference call, and gets the meeting going.”
Dress for success
Be sure to take a shower every day and get dressed. “Treat it like a real job.” At least that’s what the BBC.com’s Brian Lufkin says.
And, whatever you’re wearing, wherever you’re working, please stay healthy.
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