Other than ‘online learning’, one phrase that seems to have been thrown around more than any other over the last few years is ‘new normal’. As we move further away from the height of the pandemic, we are indeed finding ourselves adapting to new ways of life. Remote learning and work-from-home methods have proven their benefits throughout the COVID-19 era, and organisations now find themselves looking at more permanent blended styles of working.
Whilst these technology-based styles of working do indeed challenge the old ways, the idea of a new ‘normal’ feels debatable, as different industries and individual businesses are choosing various methods moving forward. With so much change taking place so quickly, it is hard to be certain as to exactly what our future working environments will look like. With that said, if there’s one thing that we can be sure of, it’s that most of us will face working from home at some point again in the future, be it now, in our next job, or for the rest of our working lives.
One of the best things about working from home is the freedom it gives you with your space. You can control most of the features of your surroundings, whether it be designing your space to suit your interior taste or improving the space to increase productivity.
When it comes to creating your workspace, or changing the one you’ve got, we’ve put together an essential guide with our tips for making your environment as calming and productive as possible.
We don’t always have a great deal of choice when finding the best space to use for working from home. However, where possible there are two key elements to look for when deciding where to set up: natural light and peace and quiet. Natural light affects your mood, vitamin D levels, eye health, and heightens your productivity. Research published by Eco Business showed that workplaces with sufficient daylight saw an uplift of between 5 and 40% in productivity – if this goes for communal offices, it should apply to solo ones too.
Peace and Quiet
Needing quiet in the workplace should go without saying, less noise usually means fewer distractions. However, whilst many work more efficiently in complete silence, some people find themselves focusing better with some instrumental music or sound in the background. Regardless of how you prefer to work, we suggest starting with a blank canvas… that is, as silent as possible! This affords you the freedom to control the space, you can either work in silence, or you can add your own background music. Irregular noise of other people or a busy street outside is likely to be distracting, so choose the quietest spot you can.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like silence, why not try some slow instrumental music or rainforest sounds. These can be accessed for free on YouTube. If you’re a Spotify user, here are a couple of playlists we recommend (1) (2)! There are ways to fill the silence without shifting your focus away from the task at hand.
Adding natural greenery to a workspace has been proven to improve focus and productivity, especially if your workspace is small. Bringing some of the outside-in helps you add a breath of fresh air to a space you may be stuck in all day, breaking up the monotony of a plain desk area by giving you some variety when your eyes are away from the screen.
Just like you would in the office, it’s important to keep your space clean and organised. Investing in some magazine files and other desk trays to keep your space organised will improve your focus and efficiency, just like a clean house improves your mood. Don’t forget that as well as a physical desktop, most of us have an electronic one too. Keeping your computer desktop and folders organised is equally important in helping you stay focused and stop you from feeling overwhelmed by the various tasks at hand.
When we work in an office or any building outside of our home, there is a clear separation between work and relaxation. One of the downsides of remote working is the blurring of this divide. This is another reason why a dedicated workspace is crucial to productivity. Beyond that, working from home makes time management more important than ever. With all of your home comforts and luxuries just a few metres away, organising your time efficiently is a must when it comes to getting things done at home.
This also means sectioning off time for breaks throughout the day. Try to avoid switching on the television or scrolling social media during this time. Take a walk around your area or make the most of having your pets with you and give them some attention between working sessions!
Lastly, whether it’s a dedicated room or the corner of your living room, you have a home office now! Make the most of the free rein and add some things that suit your taste just like you would any other space in your home. Photographs, prints, cushions! So long as you are not tempting any distraction, personal touches will help you feel comfortable in your space and in the best frame of mind to get to work.
For more in-depth advice and strategic tips for working successfully at home, check out Trainer Bubble’s ‘Working from Home Successfully’ E-Learning course. Beyond the workplace setup tips offered by this article, the course breaks down the best ways to approach personal wellbeing, health & safety, ergonomics, information security, teamworking, online meetings and the social aspect of working at home.