When people were forced into home offices last spring, many weren’t sure how long it would last.
They worked from dining room tables or kids’ desks or even lounging back in their beds for months before realizing these weren’t permanent solutions. While it may be fun to work from the couch for a few days, an unsteady working environment can become a pain in the neck — sometimes quite literally.
Whether you continue to work from home right now or you have returned to an office, your workspace impacts your productivity. We’ve compiled some tips for creating a workspace that works for you, whatever your circumstances.
1. Organize to Save Time
Organization doesn’t just mean getting all the junk off your desk, though that will help. Through organization, you want to decrease the time it takes you to find the items you need, including everything from pens to paperwork.
Each item should have an accessible, intuitive spot. For instance, if you use your stapler five times a day, it should be within reach on your desk. But if you use a stapler once every two months, keep it somewhere else and reserve valuable desk space for something you rely on daily.
2. Add a Small Plant
Studies have shown that greenery can increase your concentration levels and help you focus. If you have killed many a houseplant in the past (who among us has not?), try a cactus, which requires little day-to-day care.
3. Put One Personal Item in the Space
Your space should reflect your work persona, even if you are at home. That means a single personal photo or memento is enough to remind you what you prioritize but not appear unprofessional.
4. Find Ergonomic Furniture
A chair that’s too short or a desk that’s too tall will cause aches and pains. Your chair should allow your two feet to sit flat on the ground (or, alternatively, you can put a small riser on the floor for your feet if your chair is tall). Your computer screen should be level with your eyes, so you aren’t looking up or down all day. Place the screen on a couple of books if you need to boost it.
5. Add Proper Lighting
A dark work area can strain your eyes, especially if you use a screen all day. Working near a window provides fantastic natural light, but that’s not always an option at home or especially in an office. Even if you have an overhead light, add an additional desk lamp. Bright light can boost your mood, a nice bonus.
6. Close the Door
If you have the option at home, closing the door can create distance between your work and family space. Even that mental change may help you concentrate on work instead of worrying if the dishes got put away or the kids are actually doing their schoolwork. Not everyone has the luxury of working in a room with a door or the option to close it … but if you can, you may see your productivity soar in your best workspace.