For many of us, long gone are the days of commuting to an office and sitting in a provided ergonomic chair around like-minded people. COVID-19 labor market changes have forced us into our current remote work reality.
And while there are some upsides to working from home, there are few downsides to our homes and “offices” being under the same roof. How your home is set up and how you interact with others in it can greatly impact your productivity. Consider the following pointers to optimize your work-from-home space in a way that positively impacts your well-being and, in turn, career success.
Separate Your Workspace From Your Personal Space
Out of sight of out of mind. Consider this adage when approaching your work and personal lives at home by creating totally separate spaces to conduct these parts of your day. That could mean outfitting a second bedroom into an office or putting up a wall divider to section off a desk in a common space. Importantly, leave your workspace behind once your workday ends and don’t return until it resumes again the next day. This simple step can stop remote work burnout.
To work as effectively as possible in your designated workspace, ensure it’s decluttered and organized. To quote Justin Baksh, LMHC, MCAP, “We are reflective of our environments.” Keep your workspace clear to have a clear head. Also, be sure it’s set up ergonomically with a chair that has adequate lumbar support and a desk at the appropriate height.
Find Nourishment in Nature
Mother Nature can impart some of the best medicines for our mentality — bright, natural light and air-purifying plants, for starters. The former is great for productivity, as it suppresses our melatonin levels, which impact our sleep. For this reason, try to set up your work-from-space in an area with bright natural light. If that area has a view of the outdoors, all the better because nature helps us manage stress. If a nice view is out of reach, bring nature to you by investing in houseplants and perhaps diffusing scents reminiscent of the outdoors. Or, put on a playlist that reminds you of nature.
Foster Positive Relationships
Setting up a workspace that promotes positivity means also fostering positive relationships with those around us — our roommates, kids, spouses, aka our “colleagues.” Giving special attention to these personal relationships and the stressors that come with them is more important than ever. During these unconventional times, it’s important to ease up on the expectations of others and remember communication and compromise are key to quelling conflicts. Beyond your relationship with others, look inward and consider your relationship with yourself. Set aside time every day to check in with your own feelings so you can better interact with others.
Just because our work lives and environments look a little different than we’re used to doesn’t mean you should postpone your happiness until you’re back in the office. Adjust your space and mindset accordingly to positively impact your well-being, and reference the visual here for more on how to reclaim your space and mindset (courtesy of Rocket Mortgage).