One the kitchen table, on a TV tray, or even on a bed… Many of us have had to shift to working remotely and we have haphazardly created ‘new’ offices to give us the ability to be up and running quickly. But just being logged on and pulled in may not be enough to make your as effective as you need to be. It is important that this new work environment you are creating is conducive to productivity. Whether you expect to only work remotely for the short-term or if you are facing a long-term shift to a remote position, it is important to maximize efficiency and minimize distractions.
“On average, it takes over 23 minutes to get back on track after being interrupted.”
First, minimize distractions. A separate room or a totally private space may not be available to everyone. A spare room or dedicated office is optimal, but some of us don’t have ideal extra space. So, we have to try to select a spot in our home that reduces the possible distractions and interruptions. Create a zone which gives you some separation from doorbells, TV noise, dogs barking and even the kiddos who are likely to be home with you at the same time. Establish some work rules for your family or roommates so they respect your space and allow you to participate in conference or video calls with less disruption. Consider a “Do Not Disturb” sign or some sort of visual cues that helps alert those sharing your work space with that you need quiet or privacy at certain times. Set boundaries and limits to your accessibility when working from home.
Forbes, reports about 57% of people think that one’s work directly correlates with the tidiness of their office.
Once you have created a dedicated space to do business, make sure to keep it organized and free from clutter. Organize your space to maximize efficiency. Gather the supplies and stock your home office so you don’t have to search for necessities. Keep your files organized and labeled so you can retrieve what you need quickly. Bring supplies from your work place may be an option to augment your needs. Keep your equipment and resources at arm’s length and create a work triangle to maximize productivity even higher.
Ask your employer to assist you in preparing and equipping your remote work location if possible. Often temporary work solutions may not require extensive equipment relocation but may require VPN connections and local printing options. Work with IT solutions within your organization will ensure you have maximum access and optimal security.
Make sure you have an uninterrupted power supply, strong internet access and use surge protectors to reduce the possibility of overtaxing power outlets.
Studies have shown that having exposure to natural light has a wide range of health benefits, including increased productivity.
In the space you set up, make sure the lighting is optimal. Both natural and task lighting is critical to preserve your eyesight and keep you operating at maximum capacity. It helps you keep a positive mood and ensure that you stay focused.
Green has been seen to have psychological benefits and keeps creativity flowing. https://www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-green-2795817
Green it up. Adding houseplants and the color green in your home office can help you be more productive. Green can reduce stress and also makes people feel better. Bringing nature and elements of the outdoors inside connects you to life and can help to keep you in an upbeat mindset.
Finally, comfort is important. Your work life and your home life have been changed dramatically if you have had to shift to a remote working environment. It is important that you include a comfortable chair and personal items that make you feel more relaxed and stable. Make your new office as “normal” as possible.
Ultimately, during this crisis, work has been changed. Your position, responsibilities and roles may also have shifted along with your work space. Minimizing the day-to-day chaos and managing the feelings of uncertainty can start by establishing a healthy and efficient work space. Remember to set limits and set specific work hours so you maintain proper work-life balance. The tendency to lose yourself in work at home can be counterproductive. So ensure you keep your schedule consistent and avoid burning the midnight oil every night because work is so accessible.
As we all adjust to the new demands of working remotely, making your work environment comfortable, efficient and productive will position to return to normal operations faster when lock downs and shelter in place restrictions are lifted.