Lifestyle January 27, 2021
Once upon a time, we had to wake up extra early to avoid the traffic during our early morning commute to the office. Enter the pandemic and we now find ourselves working from the comforts of our own home. While not having to deal with the rush hours sounds like the dream, working from home can have its own set of caveats. There will obviously be more distractions and not to mention the temptation to just work from your beds. That is why it’s important to make your work-from-home station a place conducive for finishing your daily tasks.
First order of business? Setting up your home office. You need to have a dedicated space for work. The idea here is to be able to recreate your office in your own home. Fixing your work desk can help you become more organized and improve your productivity, efficiency, and motivation.
Here are some ways to get you started:
When you’re working from home, it usually takes more than just your willpower to get out of bed and sit on your desk. Your mind and body need to get used to the working hours even inside your house. Setting clear boundaries between your work life and home life is one way of doing this. Looking for the right space in your home can be tricky as you have to consider your environment. If you’ve been working in a spot that’s too noisy or too dark, it’s time to reconsider your working space. The goal is to eliminate distractions. Find a spot in your house that’s out of the way of other people in your household, free from noise, and one that provides ample lighting. This will especially come in handy when you’re having those online meetings. Believe us, your boss and teammates will thank you.
Everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, will be done online and through a screen. It only makes sense to buy yourself the best equipment out there, laptop or desktop computer, with the proper software and programs necessary for your work. Invest in a good mouse, keyboard, printer (if necessary), and mic, webcam, and headset for your conference calls. Consider getting wireless and bluetooth-enabled equipment to reduce the clutter of wires on your desk. You can also buy a nifty adjustable standing desk so you can stretch your body and avoid back pains from sitting on the chair all day.
When you have your laptop, computer, phone, printer, and tablet plugged in at the same time, the cables can easily get out of control and get in the way of your work station. Those pesky wires are going to need some organizing and managing under your desk. One way of going about this is by buying yourself a decent extension power cord where you can easily charge all of your devices in one go. Next, assign which plug goes to which socket so that you can gather and tie those cables that go together using zip ties or wire organizers. It’s also best to have a place to hold the cables you’re not currently using so that they don’t sit on your desk and create mess. You can stick cable holders on your wall or at the edge of your desk for easy access.
It’s sometimes quite tempting to put everything you need for work on top of your desk just within reach. However, this is recipe for unnecessary clutter. Organizing your office supplies, books, notepads, and documents neatly on shelves, smart storage solutions, desk organizers, or carts can help minimize the items on your desk. Designate one place for your pens, paper clips, stapler, and sticky notes. Meanwhile, folders, books, and files should go in separate filing cabinets or storage bins. Doing this not only provides you with more space on your work desk and keeps your place tidy but also helps focus your mind in finishing the task at hand.
One should never underestimate the power of a planner or calendar at a workstation. It’s easy to lose track of your schedule when you’re at home and there are so many things going on. Although there are many online apps that you can use for managing your tasks, it’s still good practice to keep a physical calendar on your wall or desk. You can opt to have your calendar on a chalkboard or whiteboard so you can scribble small notes or reminders on specific dates of each week. This way, you can stay ahead of your deadlines, keep track of your goals and tasks, and get a good idea of what’s to come.
You owe it to yourself to have a nice, comfortable chair if you’re going to spend eight hours at your home desk working. When selecting your office chair, you should consider both comfort and function. Be kind to your back and get a chair that complements the height of your desk. Find one that’s also adjustable and properly supports both your back and arms so that you won’t experience any strain on your spine or wrists while working. You can choose to add cushions to your chair too, if that helps. A good sign that you’ve found the right chair for you is if it encourages good posture. Your elbows and lower arms should be resting comfortably on the arm rests while the backrest should ideally follow the curve of the spine.
Work desks come in many different forms—L-shaped, corner, standing, writing, and many more. It’s wise to identify your table needs first before deciding to buy one. Some considerations would include how much space you’re going to need for your desktop, its height, and whether or not it’s going to fit your station. If you’re working with a computer, it’s best to stick with wider desks to accommodate your monitor, CPU, and printer. If you’re working with documents, then a desk with drawers and cabinets might work better for you. As with your office chair, you need to make sure that your desk is in the correct height too. Pay attention to your forearms and check if they’re parallel to the floor. The same goes for your wrists, making it a point that they’re not bent when on the keyboard.
If you’re really set on transforming your work-from-home station, repainting your walls might just be a good idea. Refreshing hues can make your workspace look aesthetically pleasing and can inspire productivity. Although you might already have a color in mind (perhaps your favorite color), choosing your home office wall color should be done carefully. After all, it’s what you’ll be staring at for the good part of the day. Aside from this, your wall color can greatly affect your mood. Choose subtle colors like off-white, gray, brown, light blue, or any pastel color for a more peaceful and laid-back vibe.
Even though you’re already getting enough natural lighting from your window, it’s still advisable to get yourself a good desk lamp to brighten your workspace further. The appropriate lighting will make it easier for you to go through your documents and see on your keyboard when you’re typing away. Additional lighting fixtures will also help a lot when you’re finishing up work at night. It will reduce eye strain and can definitely contribute to the enhancement of your mood. Remember: a well-lit station = a happier workplace. Your desk lamp can also add to the overall design of your workstation, making it look more inviting to stay there for hours.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to decorating your work-from-home desk. A personalized station will make it more enticing to actually stay at your work desk and get some work done. Are you a plantito or plantita? You can set up cacti, succulents or tiny plants around your desk to give you that extra boost of motivation. These little friends also help reduce stress, purify the air, and increase your productivity. For a clean look, you can fill your walls with minimalist portraits or photos of your friends and family members on a grid board to keep you going. You can also choose to hang a corkboard or a whiteboard so you can jot down your reminders where you can see them. Make sure to add accessories on them too like cute magnets or push pins.
Treat your home Wi-Fi connection like a lifeline. It’s where your whole work life depends—your means for talking to your officemates and the primary mode for delivering your work. You wouldn’t want to get disconnected from a meeting just because you have spotty internet connection. Staying connected is an important requirement in order to collaborate with your team. Smart Communications, Inc.’s Giga Work data pack offers its subscribers easy access to a wide range of productivity apps suitable for work and school life—from online meeting apps such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco WebEx to collaboration tools and apps like G Suite and Microsoft Office 365. Besides this, it’s also recommended that you equip yourself with a pocket WiFi, like the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced, so you can enjoy high-speed internet anywhere you go. You can buy this from the Smart Online Store or any Smart Store for only P1,995.
Do make sure to establish your work hours. Be serious about work but give yourself some rest from time to time, especially your eyes. Take a lunch break. If anything, the most important thing is to find a distinction between your work and home environment. At the end of the day, the best feeling in the world is when you get to step away from your desk and call it a day. That way you can take good care of yourself and your mental health.