I started the Home Office Environments research last year given a notorious shift to project-based contracts, a growing demand for flexible hours and a tendency to skip unnecessary office-hours to work from home. Since then I have advised clients on how to improve their workspace at home.
Though I wrote a post in 2019 called Home Office: the new normal, I never imagined the disruption caused by COVID-19.
And so, here we are, forcing each other to #stayhome for the greater good.
Needless to say, but we are facing unprecedented circumstances and we are all in shock. What used to be routine for some, has become an imposed reality to most in a matter of days. We all have improvised and did what we could to face the situation.
Now, that we know this may last a little longer and we have to be resilient, we should step back and evaluate what is working and what is not. How is your home office arrangement going for you?
Here are some tips to improve your working environment:
- Flexibility and tolerance. In small spaces, most things have to move around. The ambiance has to flow and adapt as routines may collide and changing priorities must be reconsidered.
- Imagine that your home office is a shared working space, that your family members are your new co-workers. Give each other space, create schedules and rules of engagement.
-Take breaks, play, talk, limit screen time during these recess periods.
- Picture your home office as your dream office. Do you like that corner close to the window? Well, here is your opportunity to promote yourself and take the corner office! Other co-workers may want that spot too, so negotiate, figure a way to share it based on the activities you both have schedule for that day.
- Conference calls require an organize background so that the focus remains on you. Position your camera/screen and “call yourself” to see what others may perceive, that way you can make improvements accordingly.
- A phone call ? Stand up and take it in the hallway.
- When listening to music, channel those good vibes and use headphones.
- Remember you need to "close" the office. Assign enough shelves and storage for all the co-workers, so that each "office" is organized and secure during off-business hours.
- Choose a lamp appropriate to your task.
- It is easy to fall for the looks of a beautiful chair but choose one that is comfortable and appropriate to the table you are using.
- Use the space in front of you. Position a fabric /cork/white board to brainstorm and illustrate your thoughts and schedule.
If you have a hard time organizing your space, it’s ok… ask for help, don’t hesitate to reach out and make it functional.
It is your work, it is your home, and remember that you are not alone.
We are all in this together.