With Covid-19 restrictions continually changing and more people finding themselves working remotely or helping children with remote learning, our homes have become more than a place to eat, sleep and put up our feet. We are transforming our abodes into offices and remote learning areas, and it can be challenging creating a work space that is functional, productive and free of distractions.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of your home office or remote learning area:
1. Set up a designated area
It might seem like a no-brainer, but creating a designated area for learning or working from home will help keep your focus on work or school. If you’re low on space, you don’t need to dedicate an entire room to your work space, but rather find an area in your home with few distractions and set up a desk or table with your necessary supplies. This might be in a basement, in the corner of a bedroom, in a kitchen nook or anywhere else that you can find an area to incorporate a work space.
You may want to avoid the couch or your bed, as our brains associate these areas with sleep and relaxation, and this can hinder your productivity.
Whatever location you pick, make sure it looks and feels like a dedicated and comfortable work space. That includes good lighting (a window or some natural lighting is key!) a seamless tech setup that allows for the appropriate cords and plugs, and a comfortable chair that is at the right height.
2. Eliminate distractions
For children, setting up an online school area in a play room or where there are a lot of distractions isn’t ideal, as children become bored and distracted easily. Similarly, adults working from home need a quiet area to enhance productivity, where they won’t be distracted by family members, pets, or outside noise, particularly during Zoom meetings with colleagues and bosses. An area with a door is ideal for a home office, where older self-sufficient children understand that it needs to be an uninterrupted area during work hours.
Keeping your work area clean and organized is proven to help your well being as well as enhance productivity. Stay organized by establishing an inbox and outbox system or folders marked with complete and incomplete for paper flow, and keep office supplies tidy and organized in a designated area. You can buy inexpensive baskets, bins and small office supplies at the dollar store to aid with organizing your work space. A minimalist approach may be best when it comes to home office productivity.
4. Take designated breaks
Set aside designated breaks and take them at the same time every day if possible. Establishing a routine is key to staying on track and being productive at home. Allow your brain and body 15-30 minute breaks to eat, walk around, and to prevent eye strain from staring at a screen all day.
Children should have regular nutrition breaks and an opportunity to go outdoors for fresh air when possible. In warm temps, the virtual classroom can be brought outdoors to obtain some necessary Vitamin D.
5. Set the mood
One of the benefits to a home work space is that you can tailor it to suit your personal taste, unlike a professional office environment. This may include quiet music, an oil diffuser to add some aromatherapy, healthy snacks nearby to avoid trips to the fridge, an open window with a view, or a cozy blanket in your lap. You can create an office that is comfortable AND productive, depending on your style. Some people may need less stimulation to keep productive, some people need more.
6. Just add plants
Nature’s influence on our brains is significant, and multiple studies have shown that house plants offer both physical and psychological benefits to keep you happier and healthier. Such benefits include improving mood, reducing stress and anxiety, decreasing fatigue, and improving office productivity. Not only do plants make us feel better, but they can also make your space look more welcoming and lively too!
Creating a productive work space can be a creative and fun activity for families to work on together. If you need some inspiration and ideas, Pinterest is a great resource for innovative ways to create a working area that is an aesthetically pleasing and an extension of your home. Here are a few that caught our eye:
Written by: Stacey Wood