Over the last couple of years when telecommuting, cloud technologies, and, as of recently the outbreak of COVID-19, moved a lot of people out of their traditional offices and gave us all a good opportunity to take an honest look at the pros and cons of working from home.
So, on the one hand, you have the novelty of sleeping a bit longer, not having to commute across the city, and having all the things you hold dear at the reach of your hand. These admittedly interesting perks are paid with a work environment that is usually not stimulating productivity and more often than not leads to procrastination and reduced performance.
Let us see then what we can do to mitigate this problem and help you create a home office that will be relaxing and laid but still be able to motivate and encourage self-development so you can achieve your optimal performance and leverage the best of both worlds.
Throw in the things that make you happy
When creating a productive environment, the rule of thumb says that you should cut the distractions and make it as utilitarian as possible. However, hard facts paint a somewhat different story. Namely, recent research published by Oxford University reports that happy workers are 13% more productive than their colleagues. So, you should really put an accent to this side of the story. Move in the pictures of your family or places you want to visit, feel free to play some tunes that kick you into high gear, and do whatever you can to create an environment that will put a smile on your face whenever you walk in.
Find a way to keep yourself motivated
If there is one area where traditional offices have an obvious advantage over telecommuting is that they create a very competitive environment where workers have no problem staying focused on the tasks at hand. So, is there anything you can do to make your home office more productive and motivating? Sure. Just try using some of the tried and true time management tools like to-do lists, block similar smaller tasks together, schedule regular breaks to recoup and maintain high efficiency, limit distractions, and, most importantly, reward yourself after you complete some important and demanding task.
Make yourself feel comfortable
Maintaining the optimal performance means you need to find your personal “zen” and feel as relaxed as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make your home office as comfortable as possible. Start by moving in a big ergonomic chair that will keep your back in a relaxed position and throw in a couple of comfortable barber rugs underneath to give your feet something to enjoy while you are working. Then, try to maximize the natural light, make your screens glare-free and find the temperature that fits you. Finally, adding some pleasant incense sticks to the mix or following some basic Feng Shui rules can’t hurt you either.
Make the environment pet-friendly
Pets are such a joy to have around. Even if you put aside the amount of love and devotion they bring around, a recent study conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University indicates that employees that have brought their dogs to work experienced lower stress hormone levels, much better mental health, and, as a result, higher productivity. So, feel free to bring in your pets and spend some great time together. Just be sure to make the office pet-friendly. All the efforts you made at getting stronger productivity will go to waste if you have to micro-manage everything your best friend does from 9 to 5.
Find a fill in the breaks in a meaningful way
Although we haven’t reached a clear consensus about this issue, some estimations say that human beings are not able to stay concentrated for more than 50 to 90 minutes in a row. So, you should do your best to make breaks after no longer than an hour and a half of productive work. What would make those breaks meaningful? Well, you can arrange your corner of the office to be suitable for meditation or you can move in some cozy bed and take a power nap. But, to get the best results, you can set up workout equipment and use your spare time to break some sweat and get a welcome dose of endorphins.
Establish boundaries between private and professional
This is especially important if you are a business owner – the perks of running a company from home are more than abundant but the ability to stay in touch with your employees and provide them with timely feedback is not one of them. To engage in this task 100% you need to create a clear line of separation between your private and professional life. So, keep your home office off-limit for the rest of your family, do something to soundproof the room, or at least invest in some quality noise-canceling headphones and throw in a mini bar so you don’t have to leave the room to get refreshment.
We hope the tips we gave you above will help you turn one part of your house into a productivity shrine where you will have the ability to stay productive, grow and find your best professional self. Working from home offers a lot of neat benefits, but is only useful if you are able to maintain the same level of performance you achieve at the workplace. Solving this problem is not easy and it requires a bit of work and clever thinking. But now, you know where to start.