If you found yourself suddenly working from home, perhaps you jumped right into the work without thinking much about organizing your workspace. An organized work area, however, is a key ingredient to increased efficiency and productivity.
Working from Home During COVID-19
Working from home has never been more popular – or necessary. Many businesses have transitioned their employees to remote workstations, i.e., the home office. An estimated 56% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with remote work. It is believed that working remotely may be a way of life for 25-30% of the at-home workforce, multiple days of the week by the end of 2021. In fact, a recent survey shows that 82% of workers in the US want to continue working from home post COVID. Some employees are even willing to take a pay cut for the option to work from home (www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com). Whether it becomes a permanent solution for some businesses remains to be seen.
Home offices come in all shapes and sizes, and yours may not be an office at all. Perhaps you carved out a space in the family room or converted a closet. Maybe you are sharing space with another family member who is also working remotely. Wherever you are settling in for the 9to5, a few basic tools and tips will keep your efficiency and productivity at top levels.
Home Office Basics
- Claim your space. A rug can define your area and a comfortable, supportive chair is a must. Personal touches like a favorite lamp (every office needs good lighting) a photo or plant make it your own. Liking your space just might help work feel a little less like work.
- Stay connected. You likely already have the internet connection necessary and additional connectivity tools specific to your employer. You may need to layer that with stronger anti-virus software, router protection and an automated back-up system especially when using your own hardware and equipment.
- Declutter and digitize. If your home-based work area consists of little more than a desk, create habits to keep clutter, especially paper, at bay. There are lots of options for digitizing files, your calendar, to do list, customer info and more. If paper must be part of the scene, a good filing system is essential to find information easily and to put it back where it belongs when done. A vertical desktop filer takes up little space to keep only the essentials handy. Daily or weekly purging through shredding, recycling, and disposing should also become a habit for the long term.
- Privacy please. This may pose a challenge if your office is in a common area of your home or if you are sharing space. Headphones, a privacy screen for your laptop or monitor and screen savers will help.
- Establish daily pre- and post-work routines to frame your day and provide the necessary home to work to home transitions.
No matter if you have a dedicated office in your home or space serving as one, a few basic elements will help transform it into your productivity zone. Just don’t forget to punch out at the end of the work day!