In these times, almost everyone is either working or studying from home. Working from home can be massively rewarding, and afford you the opportunity to breathe fresh air into your professional or academic life - a well-needed break from the day-to-day grind and commute. To achieve this, it is crucial to keep your productivity up and maintain a healthy balance between productivity and leisure time. The crux of working from home is your workspace, a cluttered workspace with distractions will only result in a lack of motivation and productivity. Your ability to improve your workspace may be quite limited in these times of uncertainty, however with a few of these tips, you will be on track to having a productive and easy-going workspace to excel in!
Consistency is Key - Create a Permanent Workspace!
The first step to creating a productive workspace is to make sure it is a permanent space; a space you can rely on to be your productivity haven. Although each individual operates differently, constantly picking up your workspace and resources and switching location can lead to demotivation, inconsistency and messiness. Set aside a space where you know you can operate productively and customise the space so that you can thrive in it - such as permanently setting up your desk for your work. This will also help with disconnecting after the work day, as you will have a clear, defined line between a workspace and a leisure-space, and thus a clear line between work and leisure - we will touch on this later.
An Office With a View - Place Your Workspace in Front of a Window!
A great way to keep productive (and sane) whilst working from home is to place your desk or workspace in front of a window. Being able to see outside, absorb the sunlight and see the daylight from your workspace can work wonders for your productivity, and for your mental health! Avoid that feeling of being stuck or cooped up, and skip placing your desk against a blank wall three feet from your face - this will only prevent you from being able to flourish and thrive. If you are able to, pick a spot with a nice view of your backyard so that you can see some greenery and daylight (or your front yard so you watch the world and keep up to date on your people watching!) and have fresh sunshine pouring over your workspace - it will break up that negativity work can sometimes create!
Keep it Green - Introduce Indoor Plants in and Around Your Workspace!
Did you know that studies have shown having contact with nature in your workspace can greatly improve morale, productivity and reduce work-related stress and anxiety? Not only can plant life in your workspace create an overall positive environment, they will provide fresh air, increase the attractiveness of your space and improve your ability to think - who doesn't like being in touch with nature?
Getting into office greenery can be very cheaply done, with common plants such as a monstera being available from Bunnings and even Kmart, for under $15 with everything needed. If you do not have a green thumb and are worried you cannot take care of a plant - start with a cactus! Not only are cacti cool; they are dirt cheap, incredibly adaptive, and if they can thrive in the middle of the desert - they can withstand a bit of neglect!
Work YOUR Way - Optimise Your Workflow!
Often a complaint about working in an office or from a lecture theatre seat is that it is simply not your workspace! It is hard to get comfortable and hone your craft in an environment that is changing or filled with others. Working from home is a great opportunity to set up your permanent workspace, and work the exact way you know you work best. Take this time to optimise your workflow and find what boosts your productivity, as you have the opportunity to set your workflow without external interference.
Personally for me, my ideal workspace is where my stationary and paperwork are stowed away, i’m working from my laptop, and my desktop computer is being used in the background for music or displaying documents. Find what works best for you and implement it!
Learn to Disconnect - Maintain a Healthy Work/life Balance!
One major disadvantage of working from home is, as the name suggests, you are working from home. This can create an issue where your work-life starts to blend into your home-life; especially if your workspace is in your bedroom. It can be difficult to escape thinking about work when you can't physically escape your work. Imagine sleeping at work overnight and waking up just to go straight back to your desk - imagine how quickly you would suffer burnout!
Although it can be difficult when space is limited, try and create a barrier from your workspace so that it does not intrude into your downtime. Trying to unwind at your desk can sometimes be more detrimental than helpful! Create your workspace in a different room if you are able, or simply throw a sheet over your workspace when you’re done for the day - out of sight and out of mind. Maintaining an effective work/life balance is absolutely crucial during stay at home periods, and do not think just because you are at home, you cannot burn out!
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