Make your remote working area YOUR space. Whether you’ve balanced your laptop on an ironing board, or you’re in a corner of your bedroom or kitchen, there are some simple things you can do to make your home office feel like it’s yours.
1. First things first. Make sure your remote working space works for your body.
Be sure that whatever space you are using is ergonomically set for your body dimensions. Get a good chair – You may have started working from home on a kitchen chair, but that’s not the best thing for your body. If it’s possible to borrow the chair from your office, do it, or buy a good one.
With your feet flat on the floor, your thighs should be parallel to the floor (put your feet on a footrest if you need one). The chair should not cut into the backs of your thighs, and it should have some lower back support. When working, your arms should be at a 90-degree angle so your wrists are not lower or higher than your elbows.
Your computer screen(s), whether a laptop or monitor, should be set correctly for your height. You should not be looking up at a screen. The top of your screen(s) should be at eye level so that your focus is 4-5 inches lower than eye level, and the screen(s) ideally should be 24-25 inches from your eyes.
2. Take care of your eyes.
Without the distractions you had in the office, you probably stare at your screen much more than before, with few breaks. Here are some ideas for protecting your eyes:
- Since you blink a third less when using a computer, use artificial tears during your workday.
- You can also use blue-light-blocking glasses. These cut down on glare and computer light which causes strain and disrupts sleep patterns, especially if you work past sundown.
- Most importantly, use the 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes of work, focus for 20 seconds on something at least 20 feet away. This allows your eyes a quick break.
For more tips, see our post "Protect Your Eyes from Computer Vision Syndrome."
3. Surround yourself with things that make you happy.
Wherever your flexible work space, even if it’s small and shared, you can make it your own. Introduce colors you love into your work area. Go around the rest of your house and grab a few things to put in or around your workspace (a favorite book, pottery, a flower vase).
Include framed pictures of family, friends, and pets, or maybe from a fun trip or place you want to go. If you have a vision board, be sure it’s in your space too.
If you are lucky enough to have a separate space dedicated to remote working, go all the way! Paint the room a color you love. Paint is the least expensive way to completely transform a space. Make that space all about what you like and what motivates you.
4. Schedule declutter time every week.
You might keep the area behind you looking beautiful for those virtual calls, but what does the rest of your work area look like?
Some of us are natural neat freaks. But for most of us, busy work days mean clutter can build up if it’s not kept it in check. Research shows that disorganization and clutter have a cumulative effect on our brains. Our brains like organization, and when we see clutter, it can affect working memory and even our capacity to think clearly.
Disorganization and piles overstimulate your brain, making it harder to focus. Clutter has even been found to increase stress-inducing cortisol levels. By keeping on top of the clutter in your home office, you can enjoy increased productivity (and a better view).
5. Organize for the way YOU work.
How do you work? Are you a macro-organizer? Do you like to see the big picture of your week, then decide what your first priorities are? Or are you more of a micro-organizer, and enjoy planning out your days by the hour or time block?
We all organize differently. The way we work is tied not only to our job functions, but the way our minds work.
It’s important that you find the right remote working tools and customize them for you. A good planner that’s set up as your personal assistant is a great first step. Additionally, instead of scribbling meeting notes on whatever scrap paper you can find, get a few high-quality notebooks, and remember to include an index so you can quickly find notes you need.
Many people working from home have found dry-erase or glass boards to be very helpful in their workspaces. Some have a dedicated board as the family command center so all family members know what to expect from each day or week.
Working from home happened very quickly; and for many of us, may be here to stay. Take a good look around your work area. Are there things you can do to make it better or more comfortable for you? Ensuring you are set up well ergonomically and adding little personal touches can make it feel like it was custom-made and will make your workday more efficient and happier.
Whatever space you are using for remote working, there are things you can do to make the space feel like it’s your own.
- Make sure your space works for your body.
- Take care of your eyes.
- Surround yourself with things that make you happy.
- Schedule declutter time every week.
- Organize for the way YOU work.
At AT-A-GLANCE, we believe you are an individual. You have your own way to organize and work while building your own unique story. No matter where your work takes you, AT-A-GLANCE products can help you create a seamless workspace where your mind can relax, create, and be productive.
Check your work area. Do you love the colors? Are there things in it that only annoy you? Take control of what you can in your important workspace where you spend so much of your day.
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