By Milan Code, Interior Designer
Covid-19 has remarkably influenced our everyday lives, impacting the way many of us work. Working from home has rapidly become the new norm for many professionals across the globe. How do we keep up with this new way of working while still performing our job? Milan, from our Workplace Interiors team has 5 strategies to successfully work from home below.
1. Maintain a consistent workspace
Set up a main workspace in your home that you consistently work at everyday. For some, this may be a corner of your apartment, for others, this could be a quiet office within your home. Regardless of your situation, find a space that is functional for the work you typically do everyday. Creating a consistent workspace not only establishes structure for your daily workflow, but it allows you to clearly distinguish work life, from your personal life. When your work set up is consistent everyday, you are communicating to other members of your household to give you privacy when you are doing focused, heads down work or attending conference calls.
2. Take Breaks
Taking care of our physical health should always be a top priority, especially during a pandemic. During times of stress, we may tend to tense up and forget to take the necessary breaks our bodies need throughout our workday. Set a timer on your phone for your scheduled breaks and stretch, look out the window, play with your dog, or take a quick walk around the block (while maintaining social distancing of course!) In an office setting, these small breaks come more naturally to us as we are collaborating with colleagues, running to meetings, grabbing a coffee, or walking to the printer. At home, it requires more effort to take these small breaks throughout the day. By scheduling them into your workday you are not only taking care of your health by getting up and moving around, but you will be more productive when you return from your break.
3. Allow for Variety
When designing commercial workplaces, we often provide a variety of spaces to support different ways of working throughout the day. These spaces range from open collaborative areas with lounge furniture, to closed focus rooms. As outlined above, maintaining a consistent primary workspace is essential, however allowing yourself to work in a dynamic and flexible way is equally as important. For example, if you are working on a task that does not require a quiet focused space, you could sit and work from your deck for an hour or make a call from your sunroom. By creating variety in the way you work, just like taking breaks, you are allowing for higher productivity levels.
4. Incorporate Wellness
Part of creating a successful work environment is incorporating wellness into your everyday work environment. Using the appropriate ergonomic furniture at your desk is a great way to ensure a healthy workspace. While you may not have access to commercial office furniture in your home, you can still practice proper posture, use an adjustable office chair, place your screen at eye level, and rest your arms at a 90 degree angle to ensure you are not straining any muscles. As part of integrating variety in your workday, try standing at your countertop in your kitchen for a break from sitting if you do not have access to a height adjustable desk. If possible, set up your workstation in a room with natural light or near a window. Access to daylight and clean air during your workday, is a key factor contributing to overall wellness.
5. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!
Staying connected with people is crucial right now. You may be physically distant, but that does not mean you can’t collaborate with colleagues and clients. Using technology to communicate can be a very successful tool when working from home. There are many software programs that support this type of remote working. Take the time to research the features of the particular software you are using to fully take advantage of its capabilities. When attending virtual meetings, try to use the video conferencing feature if possible. Visually connecting with people on a screen makes interactions more natural and personal. Use the chat feature to check up on your team members or host a meeting on a Friday afternoon for happy hour with the office. It’s important to make an effort to keep up your office culture to stay as connected as possible.
As our world increasingly changes by the day, we can look to workplace strategies that we integrate in commercial interiors outlined above to ensure we are productive, healthy, and collaborative at our home workspaces.
Milan Code is an interior designer at Number TEN Architectural Group