Improving Efficiency in Your Home Office
You’re living the dream by working from home. Congratulations! Telecommuting or running your own business from the comfort of your home saves the aggravation and expense of commuting and puts you in control of your environment. While working in your pajamas is alluring, it could encourage slacking. Consider these tips for improving efficiency in your home office.
Treat Working from Home as Work
The dress code may be more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean skivvies and slippers all day. You might be meeting with clients, videoconferencing, or receiving deliveries. Dress comfortably, but still get dressed. Putting on acceptable business casual wear will inspire a more business-like, productive attitude and help you manage your time in your home office the same way you would if you were commuting to an employer’s worksite. Set regular hours and keep them, interspersed with a few breaks and a lunch hour.
Pick the Right Place in Your Home
Your workspace should be bright and uncluttered. If you have a quiet corner by a window, that’s a great place to put your desk. Keep in mind that you may need space for file cabinets and a printer-scanner combo; plan how you can stack them efficiently while still keeping essential files readily accessible. Add a small houseplant or two, as plants offer natural air purification. Be attentive to color as well. Certain soothing color schemes are known to be more conducive to productivity than others.
Keep Ahead of Technology
Working from home may actually require a higher grade of technology than working communally at an employer’s location. You can’t rely on the IT department to rescue you every time you experience a crash. Contact your home ISP to see if you can work out a deal for faster internet with greater bandwidth. Once you have your faster internet plan, make sure your Ethernet cables can handle it; there are notable differences between Cat5E and Cat6, so choose wisely.
Exercise Your Body and Your Eyes
Working at home or in another office involves a lot of sitting, and we’ve all heard the reports about how prolonged periods of sitting and sedentary lifestyles are bad for us. If your space accommodates one, invest in a standing desk. That way, you can take standing breaks while you continue to churn out your work product. Remember to be kind to your eyes as well. Looking at a computer screen all day is tough on them, so make a habit of looking away from your screen and focusing on objects in the distance out the window every once in a while. The rule of thumb for this is 20-20-20: every twenty minutes, look at something twenty yards away for twenty seconds. It’s a great way to give your eyes a break while mulling over your latest great idea.
Set and Maintain Boundaries
Nosy neighbors and bored bros make for irritating distractions. Be kind but clear and firm in the fact that you may be at home, but you are still working. Define your hours of availability for non-work related interaction, and stick to them.
Working from home can be satisfying and productive as long as you set the right tone, attend to your environment, and provide yourself with the right tools for improving efficiency in your home office.