With social distancing mandates in effect across much of the country, many people working in industries deemed “non-essential” are doing their work from home. The constant stream of COVID-19 news, in addition to caretaking or homeschooling responsibilities can make it hard to stay focused on work. But by modifying your space, you can help yourself feel more productive — and more relaxed.
Here are five tips for elevating your home workspace.
Commit to your space
If you don’t have a home office, you might find it hard to stick to your routine at home. Designating an area for work, even if that place is the bill-paying area in your kitchen, is a way to stay in your routine and get yourself in the work mindset. Whatever spot you choose, just make sure it feels like a dedicated and functional work area. That means adequate lighting, a comfortable chair — the right height for typing without strain — a seamless tech setup that allows you to take and make video calls without having to fiddle with plugs or wires, and an overall lack of clutter on your desk and the surrounding area.
I bet that your workspace could stand to be a little cleaner. If you're up for it, here are some tips for getting everything spic and span. Start by eliminating anything that doesn't need to be there–those scissors that don't cut, the stapler that doesn't staple. Stuff like that. Then take a little more time to group things together–put those pencils and pens in one jar, those papers in another. And finally, hang on to anything you have to have at your desk–organize the rest so you don’t need to hunt for it every time.
Curate an inspiration board
Let's look ahead to what we can accomplish together. The wall you're looking at beyond your laptop should inspire you. This is a good time to create an inspiration board and fill it with what makes you happy, from images of your favorite people and pets, to pics of your goals (like that fabulous vacation you are going to take once we've all gotten through this tough time!). Yes, you can put your to-dos on it too — but keep the focus on the positive and uplifting, and keep it right in your line of sight.
Do a background check
If you have video calls every day, consider what your coworkers are seeing behind you—like that ever-growing pile of laundry or those mostly empty wine glasses. Keep things tidy, and if you have the space, show off your style. Some good background options might be your favorite art piece, interesting souvenirs or a not-overly-stuffed bookcase. Lastly, remember lighting: Your space should be adequately lit so that it doesn't look like you're calling from a submarine.
Set the mood
At home, you can create an inspiring workspace. Aromatherapy diffusers and scented candles are other options if you're concerned about curious kids or pets, and now your playlist can softly waft overhead rather than through earphones. And similarly, set out some healthy snacks to avoid refrigerator trips and nosh away.It’s OK for your home office to feel like your home, and especially now, it’s important to take time to indulge yourself with some creature comforts that feed your soul and make you feel calm and inspired.