More than once we’ve thought that we would wake up from this crazy dream. We’d talk about how wild it was that Donald Trump was president of the United States and a version of the flu had the entire world in quarantine. But it seems that this dream is the reality that we find ourselves in.
Entire countries are on lockdown. And, many of us are coming to terms with working remotely for the first time. Finding a balance in our time for family and work can be rewarding when done properly. We’re all experiencing big changes in the world, in business and our relationships.
Setting up a balanced workspace at home is about more than opening a computer and diving in. Your workspace is your power tool for success. Everything you surround yourself with at your workspace will trigger a response in your emotions, your mind, and your body. Being intentional about how you set up your workspace will enable you to get work done more effectively. It will keep you motivated and help you connect with those around you.
We’ve put together our 9 top tips on how to set up your workspace so that you can get the most from your time working from home
1. Add Something From Nature
The Ancient Chinese design philosophy of Feng Shui suggests that adding something from nature will help absorb negative emissions from your work environment. Plants especially, lilies and orchids keep you grounded, are aesthetically pleasing and circulate fresh air. Plants create a more balanced energy space for your work. Plant colours which invoke calm, creativity and recognition are blues, purples, and reds.
2. Make It Sacred
When you create a workspace that is important to you, you’ll enjoy spending time there. Give your workspace a personal touch by adding something that’s meaningful for you. This could be a photograph of a loved one, a picture of your last holiday, something from your order-board or even a positive affirmation. Feng Shui principles suggest placing this item in the top right-hand corner of your workspace.
3. Make sure you’re physically comfortable.
If you’ve got the opportunity to, spend money on a decent chair. You’ll be spending a lot of time at your home workspace and you’ll need the proper lumbar support. A great chair will negate the pressure that sitting has on your neck and lower back. A standing desk, on the other hand, is an active workstation. While there is no conclusive proof that standing desks are better for you than sitting desks, each has its place in the work environment. Are you chairing an important meeting? Standing can help boost your confidence. Do you need to harness your creativity? Sitting is suggested to help you focus.
4. Caffeine Up But Also Drink Water
Don’t just drink coffee. Keep a bottle of water close by. Our bodies are made up of mostly water and drinking coffee, juice or fizzy drinks causes us to dehydrate. The body’s natural response to dehydration is distraction. The first signs of dehydration are increased thirst, headaches, tiredness, and dizziness. Drinking water also reduces joint swelling caused by sitting or standing for long periods. Drinking water increases the production of red blood cells which, in turn, increases oxygen and energy levels in the body.
5. Maintain a healthy a Work-Life Balance
Working from home means your day will be filled with distractions. This is inevitable when you share your workspace with others. Home workspace distractions do not need to negatively affect your home dynamics. Communication, boundaries, and routine are important for creating a cohesive and balanced home workspace. Plan out your day and let your family know when you will be working and when you’ll be available for fun, exercise or chores. Setting shorter work periods with frequent breaks means you can balance work with home life. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t spend all of your time working just because it’s now easily accessible.
6. Take breaks, stretch and move.
Maintaining focus and productivity throughout the day will be one of the greatest challenges in your home workspace. Powering through your daily workload without a break will tire you out and leave you unable to focus. One way to fight this is by using the Pomodoro Technique. The theory behind this is that every task you undertake can be broken down into shorter intervals separated by a short break to maintain focus. All you need is an app or a timer. Set the timer for 25 minutes and put all of your focus into your work for that time. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break. Get away from your workspace. Walk around, refill your water and stretch during this time. After the five-minute break, restart your task for another 25 minutes. After every four work sessions take a longer break. Stretching during your break will naturally boost endorphin levels leaving you happier and more interested in your task.
Suggested App: Tide lets you listen to nature sounds while counting down your 25 minutes. It’s free for Android and iOs.
7. Social Distancing From Social Media and Avoid Multitasking
Set clear rules for your workspace. Negativity consumed on social media will impact your work. As far as distractions go, social media is the worst. A glance at Instagram can turn out to be three-hours wasted. The key to running a successful home workspace is to turn off distractions which will lead you down the social media rabbit hole. Unless needed, put your phone in another room. Check your messages on your break. Should you need your phone when working, put your phone on, do not disturb mode and turn off notifications for WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
8. Set Boundaries Between Work And Family Time
Sit down with your family and set out time boundaries that enable you to work as well as spend time with them. This could look something like: work from 8 am to 1 pm and family time from 1 pm to 4 pm. When it’s time to work, give it your all, when it’s family time get active together, play a game or watch a movie together. Separating the two will mean you can place all of your focus on either one. By setting boundaries you are letting those around you know when you are available. You need to take charge of your time at your workspace.
9. Do Pregame before a work session
Using the same format that you use for your daily pregame you can do a quick pregame before each work session. On a notepad write down
- 3 things that you’re grateful right now
- What your objective(s) – no more than three are for this session
- How you’d like to feel in this work session.
- If your session includes connecting with others, write down how you’d like them to feel as a result of your interaction.
Without having to spend time travelling most of us will have more time while working from home in quarantine. Don’t only spend the time working. Ensure to spend more quality time with your family. You can also use this time to rebuild relationships or learn something new. Find a way to be more appreciative of what you have and to reconnect with yourself.