The home office is no longer a makeshift solution. For many, it is a new way of life – one that will be an important par t of our future work world. While we may miss the benefits of shared office space – opportunities for collaboration, community, and that shared sense of vision and purpose – many of us are unwilling to give up the convenience and comfort of the home office. Fortunately, many employers agree. Productivity can be seamless with the right technologies and team interaction. With the perfect blend of home office and workplace, we might just achieve the proverbial work-life balance long sought-after, but often seemingly just out of reach. But if the trend is no longer temporary, that makes the home office a long-term solution to working life. And that means now is the time to make your work-from home experience the best it can be.
Expert Tips from Linda Gallo of Insight Design Group
With ongoing flexibility in our collective future, let’s get real about making the home office the best work experience it can be. The experts weigh in with the tips we need to make any home workspace (no matter how small!) work well for productive workdays – and work-life balance.
Tip #1: Zone In
It’s more important than ever to maintain separation between work and home. We achieve greater focus at work and create better balance at home by creating distinct zones. A room with a door is ideal, but if that’s not available to you, use a small cabinet to reduce clutter, and a screen or curtain to create a distinct workspace.
Tip #2: Light up Your Day
Access to natural light and the ability to look outside and connect with nature creates the best working environment – and studies show that it increases concentration and productivity. If you don’t have a window, layer multiple light sources with a floor lamp or desk lamp in addition to overhead lighting.
Tip #3: Stay Flexible
Flexibility is a must! Changing up your workstation so that you can stand and move around is vital to maintaining spinal health and staying alert. If your work is portable, bring your laptop or tablet almost anywhere for a change of scene – and an increase in productivity and motivation.
Tip #4: Make it Personal
Be sure to incorporate personal items and design to spark joy and make your workspace a place you want to be. You can do this with:
Colour: Incorporate your favourite colour, whether in a feature wall, a piece of art, or even just a fancy stapler.
Photos: Heart-warming photos of people and places are a happy respite from the eye strain of your screen.
Plants: Any variety you like – plants bring beauty to your workspace and are natural air purifiers and a constant source of oxygen.
Tip #5: Blend it In
If your office space blends into its surroundings, this will help you leave it behind at the end of the day. Proper organization of wires is so important – reduce visual clutter as much as possible with extension cords, tape them to the underside of your desk, or use a cable management device.
Tip #6: Keep it Simple
The best secret is to keep things simple. Streamline the items you have in your home office, avoid clutter, and tidy up at the end of each session. And walk away!
As the weather warms up, your patio becomes an incredible extension of your home. From morning coffee to outdoor lunch breaks, it’s a wonderful way to get some fresh air during your at-home workday. But here’s another consideration: why not take the home office outside? An outdoor office can be a brilliant way to make the most of working from home, enjoying the outdoors, and finding a quiet space to concentrate. If your balcony is enclosed or sheltered, it’s the obvious spot for a home office, just right for one person. But if it’s out in the open air, don’t think it can’t be a creative space for at least part of your day! Here’s how to make it work.
Grab a Good Chair
Just because you’re sitting outside doesn’t mean you can perch on a little deck chair for hours on end. Ergonomics matter here, too! Bring your home office chair outside, or consider investing in a weatherproof, ergonomically friendly chair that will keep your back happy.
Block the Sun
Sun worshippers, hear us out! First, of course, you’ll want to protect your skin. But secondly, your laptop screen will be a lot easier to read when you’re out of direct sunlight, reducing strain and visual fatigue. A well-positioned umbrella will do wonders for your productivity.
Choose Rugs, Cushions, and Plants
Just because it’s outside doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be designed! An outdoor rug, a lamp, plants, colourful cushions – these personal touches will help you create a cozy, personalized workspace that you’ll want to work in all summer long.
Heat it Up
Tuck an outdoor heater by your feet, and that summer patio now becomes a spring-through-fall workspace for part of every work-from-home day.
The new emphasis on working from home at least part of the week means our homes – and our buildings – matter more than ever before. At Townline, we put a great deal of thought and planning into the creation of meaningful indoor and outdoor amenities that truly enhance daily living for our residents. When you’re working from home, you have that extra time in the day that is no longer spent commuting, with the added convenience of being right at home. Whether your building amenities are bookable or shared, here’s how to make your building work for you during your work-from-home days.
Commit to Wellness
Hit the gym, do a few laps in the pool, or get in your yoga stretches before you start work each day. Working from home can lead to lethargy if we’re not careful. The beauty of having fitness facilities in your building is that it’s so easy to access them, at any time of day. If you’re having trouble getting or staying motivated, grab an app that will get you back on track. (The free Nike apps are fantastic.) Not an early riser? The lunchtime workout or 5 pm sprint works, too!
Break up Your Day
Take a break! It’s so important to remove yourself from your workspace at regular intervals throughout your day, especially in the transition from your working day to after-work hours. So have a coffee on the rooftop terrace. Read the news in the lounge. Take a phone call in the garden. Your shared building spaces are designed to extend your home and improve your day – it’s up to you to make the best of them!
Be Social, if Distant
Sometimes, just being around other people is the perfect antidote to a long workday on your own, or with your partner or pet for company! Sit on a bench as dog walkers and joggers whiz by; lay on the grass in the courtyard as children play on the slide; say hello to neighbours and strangers alike. Community is a wonderful feeling – and it’s the important reason we design our buildings and neighbourhoods the way we do.