This is a collaborative post.
Our world is becoming more and more flexible, and convenient in many ways. It is normal now for young people to make their own career luck starting companies, or making a career from building an online following. Decor and living is now integrated with technology, and you can get near enough anything delivered to your door without lifting a finger. You can now meet a friend or partner online, on a plethora of different sites. Every aspect of our lives is the most flexible and convenient it has ever been, but none so much as our careers.
Remote working is now commonplace, with huge organisations hiring professionals from the other side of the globe, companies offering remote working positions to staff in order to downsize their office size, and many people with an entrepreneurial spirit choosing to work from home and make money as a freelancer or startup. It isn’t hard to see why remote working and working from home is so good, because it benefits everybody involved. Here are just some of the benefits of remote working:-
- Employers get more flexibility in where they source talent from
- Freelancers get to avoid the costs and time involved in commuting
- Employers are able to save money on occupied desk space
- Remote workers are reportedly less stressed, more productive, more efficient, and generally more interested in their work, according to studies
- The environment benefits massively because less people are commuting to work, and also less people are occupying buildings to work in. Did you know, that according to statistics, lighting an office overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of tea?
If you are one of the many people looking to work from home, or you already do work from home, then suddenly, your home becomes important in lots of new ways. Already, it is a place that is somewhere you relax, socialise, cook, clean, sleep and play. Now, it is also somewhere that you work in. Previously you might have made the odd work call, worked through emails on your laptop on a saturday (pj’s on and brew in hand of course), but now, your home is basically also your office.
This is an amazing thing, and well done you for, according to studies, becoming one of the 1.5 million people in the UK to take their schedule into their own hands and work from home.
The only problem is, ensuring that your home doesn’t basically become your office all the time. There’s a reason it feels so great to ‘get home from work’ – because you have left it all behind. If you don’t define work and play at home, very quickly you’ll start to wish you had an office to go to!
Here’s how to work from home, without your entire home becoming an office:
Have A Main Work Area
There will be times you naturally sit at the breakfast bar with a coffee and check your emails. Perhaps you will sit on the sofa sometimes and watch a webinar, or go in the garden and take a work call. However, to try and keep all work stresses and equipment in one place, allocate yourself a work area. If you’re lucky, this could be a home office in your house, or in the garage. You might even have an annexe or summerhouse you can use. In which case, this is a clear main work area to prepare and set up. However, if you don’t have a separate room, then you might need to allocate yourself an area to work in, such as the dining room or the bedroom, at certain times of the day. This could literally just be a corner with a desk that tucks everything away neatly, but it is your designated work area so that you essentially have somewhere to leave work behind when you have finished for the day.
One of the most important things you can do when you work from home is create privacy. If you work in the dining area of the kitchen, or in the dining room, this might not be so easy if other members of the house are around when you work. Consider investing in doors that can divide your home into segments which enable you to have that privacy, and limit any noise pollution, whilst also enabling you to fold them back and open the space back up when you are done. This essentially provides you the opportunity to make a room multifunctional, just with one simple addition.
Keep It Comfortable, But Still Professional
You work from home, which means you can have a bright coloured office chair, a floral print mouse mat, or an inappropriate work mug. Yay! However, what you don’t want to do is make your working area so casual it is just like your home, because then psychologically there is no difference. It is so good for you to mentally feel like you are ‘at work’ when you step into that working space. Distracting brights, patterns and accessories are great in moderation, but try and keep it somewhat ‘work-chic’ so that differentiating aspect of the decor is there.
Get Out Sometimes
When you work from home, even if you have a great office space, you can still feel you’re going a bit stir crazy when you stay in everyday. Part of ensuring your home doesn’t become your office involves getting out sometimes. This might just involve setting up a workspace in the garden on a sunny day, or it could involve you catching a bus into town to work in a coffee shop for the afternoon. You might even want to go and work for the morning in a cafe and then meet up with a friend for lunch. The world is your oyster now you work from home, and as long as there’s WiFi your office can be anywhere.
Create A Separate Ambience For Your Workspace
All of our senses are important, and one great way to help your brain recognise when you are working and when you aren’t, is by creating a separate ambience for your workspace. Reed diffusers with uplifting jasmine, white tea and ginger could be great to perk you up of a morning and let you know it is time to work. Or perhaps, you have inspirational pictures up on the walls of your office. It may be that you only have materials that are textured and interesting in the office area, compared to your home which has a lot of soft, luxurious materials in it. Maybe you have some delicious mints in a tin on your desk, and you eat one when work begins. Use your senses to link your brain to work, and that way your office space will feel so much more separate to the rest of your home.
Hopefully you’re feeling inspired to get your remote working area set-up this weekend. Remember, getting a good balance of both practical and psychological boundaries and differences setup will not only help you work more productively, but it will help you feel much more relaxed and free of work when the time comes to leave it behind for the day and put your feet up.