Working from home: 10 tips to create a productive home workspace

As the coronavirus continues to spread, people are encouraged to stay at home. As a consequence of this, more and more people have started to work from home. 

There are numerous benefits to working from home. For starters, you will save money on gas and won’t have to worry about commuting times. Working from home also gives you more freedom. You get to choose when you will work, when you will take breaks and when you will call it a day. Not to mention, working from home means you get to decide the dress code. 

That being said, working from home can also present some challenges. Working from home can have less structure and more distractions than working in an office. Plus, having more freedom regarding work may cause you to struggle with balancing your work life and your home life. 

Working from home can be efficient as long as you have clear guidelines for yourself. You should have an understanding of when and where you need to work. There are various steps you can take to improve your productivity while working from home. Here are 10 tips to help you create a more productive home workspace.

home office

1. Set up your home workspace in a productive location 

Start by setting up your workspace in a location that will allow you to work efficiently. If you happen to have an empty or unused room, consider turning it into a home office. If more than one person in your household is working from home, you might even want to have a shared office space. Having a room dedicated to working will help you mentally separate work from home. 

If you do not have a spare room to turn into an office, try to find a quiet area in your home to set up your workspace. Avoid setting up near a television, play area, or any otherwise noisy part of your home. Additionally, try to set up your workspace outside of your bedroom in order to separate work from relaxation. Ideally, your workspace should be free of distractions so that you can work, make phone calls, and participate in virtual meetings without any disruptions. Working in the same designated space each day will help you be more focused and productive. 


2. Declutter and organize your workspace 

A cluttered workspace can be distracting. It can be hard to think clearly when the space around you is in disarray. Go through your space and get rid of any piles of paper, random books, half-full water bottles and coffee cups, and anything else that does not need to be there. 

Once you have decluttered your workspace, look around and see what you can do to make it more organized. Keep important papers together in files, and use a desk organizer for various office supplies such as pens, highlighters, and paper clips. Sticky notes can serve as helpful reminders, but make sure they don’t pile up and clutter your workspace. You will find that having a clean and organized workspace allows you to think more clearly and be more productive.


3. Decide on what to wear for your home workday 

One of the perks of working from home is not having to get dressed up every day. As long as you don’t have a video meeting that calls for appropriate attire, feel free to dress in such a way that will allow you to get your work done in comfort. Embrace the freedom of being able to decide on your own dress code. If you have a long workday ahead of you, you may find it easier to focus if you are dressed comfortably rather than in your usual, stiff business attire. 

However, this may not be the case for everyone. Some people find that they work more productively when dressed in what they feel are work clothes. Luckily, working from home means that what you wear is up to you. Figure out the dress code that helps you work the most productively, and start following it. Especially clothes with inspirational quotes can help you to stay motivated. 

4. Take short breaks to exercise 

If you are working from home, you may want to consider investing in some at-home exercise equipment, such as weights, resistance bands, or even a jump rope, and keeping it in your workspace. When you find yourself getting restless, take a short break to stretch and get some exercise. These active breaks will give you energy as well as allow you to clear your mind and get focused again. 


5. Add a personal touch to your workspace 

Your home workspace doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Bring some of your personal styles to your home workspace to make it more appealing. You may even find that working in a personalized space makes you feel more creative and inspired. However, keep it minimal you don’t want your decor to be too distracting or clutter up your workspace. 


Here are some ideas of how you can spruce up your home workspace: 

   ~ Hang up framed photos or artwork 

   ~ Use a decorative organizer, a fun mug or a mason jar to store your office supplies 

   ~ Print some motivational quotes to keep on display 

   ~ Get a magnetic or corkboard and some fun magnets or push pins 

   ~ Display some small sculptures or knick-knacks on your desk 

   ~ Invest in a cute desk lamp 

   ~ Put a scented candle on your desk
(Tip: some scents can help increase productivity! Try peppermint to feel more alert or rosemary to maintain better focus.) 


6. Add a plant to your workspace 

Nature has a positive effect on one’s mood, creativity, memory, and productivity. That being the case, having a plant in your workspace can help reduce your work stress and improve your productivity.  If you don’t have the time to take care of a plant, try a low-maintenance succulent. 


7. Establish a daily work schedule 

Working from home tends to lack structure. However, you can fix this by establishing clear guidelines of when you should be doing work. Decide which hours of the day are your work hours, and stick to working during those hours. While it’s okay to embrace the flexibility that comes with working at home, try and stick to your schedule as closely as possible. Having a consistent work schedule will help you be more productive during your work hours. 


8. Have a pre-work routine 

Following a daily routine before starting work will help navigate you in to your working mindset. Depending on when you decide to start your workday, this routine may consist of different activities. If you start work in the mornings, your pre-work ritual may be taking a shower or making a cup of coffee. If you start later in the day, you might decide that exercising or cleaning is your pre-work ritual. Find a routine that helps you get into work mode. 


9. Set boundaries with the people around you 

It’s hard to be productive when you have people invading your workspace. The people in your home may not understand at the moment the importance of giving you space during your work time. Communicate to the people around you, whether it be family, friends, or roommates, that working from home is still working. Kindly ask that they respect your workspace as well as give you space when you are busy. Tell them what your work schedule is like, and set boundaries for when you are working. 


10. Separate work life from home life 

When you’re working from home, it can be hard to distinguish your work life from your home life. Separating work from home will allow you to stay focused and be more productive during your working hours. Following the tips that we have presented will help you draw a line between home and work. 

Working from home is still working. You might find yourself wanting to get some small tasks done while cleaning or prepping dinner. However, try not to worry about any non-work-related problems or chores until after your workday is over. Avoid the temptation to multitask and focus only on work during your work hours. Otherwise, you may feel as if work is never-ending. 

Remember to establish a work schedule and stick to it as consistently as you can. You will be more productive during these selected work hours than you would be working at random times throughout the day. Set up your home workspace and do all of your work there. Avoid working in your bedroom, on the couch, or in any area of your home that has not been designated as your workspace. Minimize any potential sources of distraction, and kindly ask the people around you to respect the boundaries of your workspace.

All of these tips are to help you make your home workspace as productive as it can be. Everyone has a different working style, so try them out and see what works best for you.

by Claudia Hackl

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