Productivity doesn't just affect your company's bottom line. It affects you. The way you work and where you work are two sides of the same coin: a perfectly productive workday isn't possible without these two valuable components.
Get into the right headspace to make the most of your working hours with a few simple lifestyle and work-style changes that'll make all the difference.
Working from home doesn't have the same vibe as working from the workplace. The differences are obvious (and some not-so-obvious) but make sure you're actively aware of both the basics and those that are truly unique to you:
- Commercial and residential furniture is just plain different. At home, there's more room for expression and less focus on formal workstations. What are some must-haves that you need to replicate at home versus some things that aren't necessary outside of the office?
- Amenities are up to you. Nearly every business has commercial-grade copiers and printers, but you might be limited with what you have. The same goes for your company-issued monitors and peripherals versus what you're able to use at home, especially when it comes to buying your own supplies.
- There's fewer social opportunities. The breakroom, coffee pot, and watercooler aren't close by and, similarly, neither are the chances to catch up outside of meetings.
- You're not alone… Or maybe you are. The WFH push has made spouses into coworkers, kids into colleagues, and pets into the peskiest managers around. Navigating their changing lifestyles is a new hurdle that makes the WFH lifestyle a whole new challenge.
Pencil it In
Sometimes, Time Flies
While you're wading through the waters of the workday, staying afloat can seem difficult. Keep a keen eye ahead to make sure you don’t lose sight of land. Set your schedule to make sure you keep on track. Start small with the no-brainers: start time, end time, lunch time, and maybe a breaktime. From there, note any standing meetings or tasks that occur regularly. As things become more tenuous, be more flexible while still noting the general ebb and flow of your day-to-day workday.
Dedication to a calendar app and task organizer is a must. Whether it's sanctioned by work or found elsewhere, services like Trello and Evernote or even a bullet journal is key.
Inspiration at Every Corner
There's a better home office in sight in everything around you. The things that you touch every day need to be sturdy enough for long-term use, but when you're working on your home workspace, you have the control and flexibility to make things personal.
- Desktop Delights: Above-the-table organization doesn't stop at hutches or storage pieces. Casual containers, such as file holders and pencil cups, are their own form of expression. Styles and materials that are unique to your décor dreams are available at any price point and a cute and cohesive workstation does justice to perfectly-picked furniture.
- Office Supply Opulence: The daily-drivers are always due for routine use. Pens, Post-It notes, tape dispensers, staplers… Your home base isn't beholden to whatever's lurking in the supply closet. Go bold with the colors, styles, and shapes that suit your style and budget.
- Fancy Files: While they're out of sight, they're hardly out of mind. Especially if you have some sort of tabletop file storage, finding flashy file folders breaks the boundaries of all-manila, all day. With colors and patterns available everywhere, they're a great little pop of color in a seat of papers.
- Go Green: Especially if you're near windows, a daily workspace is a great place for a little greenery. Find some houseplants that are manageable for your level of care and keep them close by for a little bit of a pick-me-up as well as a valuable part of your weekly routine (unless you're a casual cactus lover, that is).
Let There be Light!
You've escaped the endless oppression of fluorescent overhead lighting! Three cheers for lamps with lightbulbs that are the right hue for you. From sunlight-mimicking daylight bulbs to warm Edison lookalikes, seek a room tone that's tailored to your working style, whether that's a high-energy natural look or something a little cozier is up to you.
Warm up or cool down with lightbulbs that are tailored to your favorite mood. Go wild and invest in smart bulbs that can change with the dynamics of the day.
If overhead lighting isn't your thing, go with floor or table lamps that can keep lighting localized and more tailored to your workspace layout and needs.
Nothing beats natural sunlight. Position your workspace to take advantage of this beautiful and bountiful resource during daylight hours.
Get creative with overhead light that's decorative while still embracing the flexibility of at-home light sources with the right lightbulbs installed.
There's No Place Like Home
…During the Workday
Just as work/life balance is important in any career, it becomes especially important when work and life are right next to one another. Establish well-communicated boundaries to make sure business doesn't encroach on your other passions:
- Separate your workspace from your home as best as possible, ensuring that you can "clock out" from the part of your home that dominate the daylight hours.
- Make your schedule known to your coworkers and the people in your personal life so that you're not distracted while you're at work and so that you can focus on your out-of-work activities.
- Set the tone for your workspace by deviating from the design you've chosen for homier spaces. While it's equally important to embrace the style you like, a little difference can make sure you're in the right headspace during office hours.
- Diminish distractions by keeping temptations away. If the TV is in another room, your personal computer isn't open, and your hobbies are put away, there will be less desire to say "oh just a quick break" more often than is acceptable.
Play Nice with Others
Brian from Accounting and Customer Service Anne aren't your closest coworkers anymore. Now you'll probably find your pets, partners, roommates, or families around your workspace, if anybody. As you divvy up the home, your home office might occupy common areas and shared spaces that aren't going to be totally solitary.
Depending on needs, it's going to be important to separate workspaces so that each party has a quiet place as well as a space that can accommodate talking. This is highly dependent on jobs and duties, as meeting-heavy positions or call center jobs will need to do more talking while a more fastidious employee needs an environment they can adjust to their level of volume.
Let the rest of your household know what your workdays look like and develop a plan for handling meetings or managing working hours. Keeping a tight schedule can help everybody stay on the same page and don't be afraid to tweak your action plans as you learn what works and what doesn't.
Working from Home Has its Perks
While it's a big adjustment for most, there's something to be said about the advantages of working from home. The decision to move to a remote workforce was made for us by the pandemic, but there's always been a lot of personal and professional merits to the WFH lifestyle:
- The Best Commute: Add back hours to your morning or live in a region you never thought feasible. Without any sort of drive time, working from home lets you use working hours for, well, simply work.
- Close Company: Your aforementioned "new coworkers" are the people closest to you, giving you more time to spend with the people you care about. For parents, reducing childcare needs can make sure that you're present for more meaningful moments. This doesn't mean you have to be Super Parent and mix work and childcare: consider hiring help to watch children and help them distance learn so that you can still comfortably work without adding unnecessary stress.
- Embrace Independence: The feeling of freedom can't be underestimated. So long as you follow the right steps to stay productive, there's more room to adjust your workstyle to your exact liking, giving you the space to make your workflow truly yours.
- Happy, Healthy, and Safe: Especially in light of COVID-19, staying home is the best way to prevent community spread of illness. Beyond these trying times, you might find your workplace more allowing of occasional WFH days instead of waiting to be critical enough to justify a sick day. This robust remote infrastructure can also empower employees to stay on the clock when inclement weather would otherwise make a commute a life-or-death decision.
- Additional Amenities: You can't compare a French press of coffee or a well-stocked fridge to the limited options of the office. The opportunity personally-preferable amenities is unique to the at-home workspace. Be careful to take too much advantage of this close proximity, though.
- Future Flexibility: Proving yourself as a productive, trusted remote worker can open up opportunities to more allowance in the new normal. It's possible that the habits you build now can lead to a partially-remote schedule or the ability to selectively take more days from home when it's just simply convenient.
We're Here to Help You Work Hard
While Working from Home
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, National Business Furniture has been committed to helping you do your best work, wherever that may be. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, this has grown and changed in ways we never would have imagined.
No matter what comes next, we've maintained this same commitment and dedication to you and the tools you need. While office furniture is one component, support is equally important. Let us know how we can help you make great work happen. For projects big and small, you can count on us during these difficult times.