In the past 12 months, working from home has become the norm for much of Australia’s population. Whether you were already doing so, or you’ve been forced out of the office due to COVID-19, creating a home office that’s comfortable is essential for productivity. The following hacks will help you increase the amount of work you get done at home:
Have A Dedicated Area
If you’re constantly switching rooms to escape the kids, or you’re stumbling between the kitchen bench and dining room table to do your work, you’re going to find that productivity wanes. Having a dedicated area that you can escape to will increase your comfort and efficiency. If you have a spare room, give it a makeover to fit a desk and chair. If you’re pushed for space, set up a corner in the living room.
Keep It Minimal
Clutter impacts productivity – a study found that cluttered workspaces can lead to financial loss within a company, equal to 10% of the manager’s salary. Organise your space. If you use a lot of papers for work, get some drawers so you can hide them away when you’re not using them. Also, don’t overdo the decorating or this can be extremely distracting when you’re trying to get work done. Choose one or two feature paintings, a sculpture or two, and then just have your desk. Avoid 50 family photos – you’ll find yourself staring at those when you should be working.
If you spend even 10% of your day thinking about how sore your back is, it’s time to get a new chair. Sitting at a desk all day isn’t good for you, even less so if you don’t have the right chair or ergonomic setup for your desk and computer. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re going to be less productive. Invest in a quality chair, sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, ensure your mouse and keyboard are both within easy reach, and that your monitor is directly behind those – at arm’s length in front of you. That’s a good start.
Don’t Skimp On A Great Keyboard And Mouse
Before you worry about where you sit the mouse and keyboard, make sure you have purchased the right ones! Every keyboard and mouse work differently, some are bigger, smaller, some have sticky thick keys and loud clicks, others are more compact. Before you buy, test them out instore. Sticky keys that annoy you when you type, or a mouse that is set too fast for clicks, will lower your productivity and lead to mistakes being made.
If you want to get more work done at home, open the windows! Yes, it can be that simple. Fresh air is great for your health – it improves your blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, and it helps with concentration! Which is great when you’re stuck at home working all day. One study found that just 30 minutes of outdoor time actually provides efficiency in work by 45%! Not only that, but a well-ventilated office with low pollutant levels can increase productivity by up to 11%. If you can’t open the windows, take a walk outside every couple of hours to get refreshed. Or you might even consider sitting outside on occasion. And grab yourself some plants as these help to create fresher air.
Not only is fresh air important, so is natural light. Natural light helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake schedule, so your body and mind know when it’s time to get motivated, and when to rest. Exposure to lots of natural light in the day is said to help you sleep better at night, which in turn impacts the amount of work you get done. Natural light also helps to reduce eye strain as you can see your computer more clearly, improve your mood and reduce headaches.
Keep It Clean
Keep your space clean and tidy and you’ll find it much more comfortable for getting work done. When you work from home, it’s easy to create mess – papers everywhere, notes and pens all over the place. Tidy it up. Ensure you have enough space and as we mentioned earlier, hide away all the clutter in drawers. Throw out your rubbish straight away, wipe up your coffee spills and install shelves to help with the organisation.
Unplug After Work
One of the worst habits people have when working from home is that the work never stops. Even after you’re finished for the day, the emails keep coming and because your computer is right there, you’re always tempted to open up and see what’s happening. Resist the temptation. At the end of the day, turn off your computer completely, switch off your work phone, and if need be – unplug the internet! The harder it is for you to access everything, the less likely you’ll try. If you can, allocate particular hours daily to work – and leave it at that.
If you want a healthy combination of work life and home life, you need to keep the two separate, as much as possible. By creating your own space, sticking to it, and keeping it clean, you will not only get more work done, but you’ll also enjoy the experience of working from home a lot more.