The COVID-19 crisis has prompted several organizations around the world to close their offices and force employees to work from home. Instead of commuting, workers had to dedicate spaces in their homes to complete work tasks.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost a third of the country’s workforce can work remotely. About 98% of its respondents stated that they would like to have the option of working from home for the rest of their careers.
However, not everything is positive about remote work. The same survey showed that the respondents struggled with working from home.
The Struggles of Remote Workers
The survey listed four main struggles of remote workers during the pandemic:
- Unplugging from Work: People have a hard time dividing their personal and professional time because of the lack of defined office hours and a clear change of location. Employees find it difficult to work by themselves at home without person-to-person communication with their colleagues.
- Collaboration and Communication. Several people struggle with having difficult conversations or flagging concerns to colleagues and superiors.
- Distractions at Home. The lack of distinction between work and home causes people to be distracted by family members and household chores.
Respondents also listed a lack of motivation, time zone differences, taking vacation time, and reliable internet connection as barriers to productivity.
Designing Your Home Office
With no signs of the pandemic ending, it’s expected that remote work will continue indefinitely. If you’re struggling with working from home, you can design your home office to combine comfort and efficiency:
1. Selecting a location
Think about the available spaces in your home and choose the best environment for your workspace. Ideally, your work area should be away from home distractions. However, if you’re a busy parent, the kitchen desk, dining table, or living room can be your dedicated workspace.
2. Choosing furniture
Select a desk that’s wide enough for your equipment—a desktop computer would require a bigger table, while a laptop would require less space. Ensure that you have enough space for office supplies and in-tray materials.
Ideally, your desk and chair should be adjustable and comfortable for work. However, if you’re making do with your existing handcrafted furniture, improve your comfort levels by adding cushions and back support tools.
3. Adding storage and shelving
Have enough cupboards, filing cabinets, and shelving for your storage needs. If possible, keep them close to your workspace, so it’s easy to search and store items.
4. Optimizing for comfort
Excellent lighting is essential for any office space. Choose a location that gives you natural light or an outdoor view to improve your energy and productivity levels. Reduce the glare from your windows by installing blinds of translucent window shades.
If your home office doesn’t have a view, position your desk to face an artwork. You can also spruce up your workspace with a potted plant and a desk lamp.
5. Installing technology
Minimize the clutter of wires in your home office by going wireless. Invest in a wireless mouse, printer, and router. Keep your desk clean of cables using a grommet or a cord tamer.
It may be difficult to transition to a remote work setting when you have been commuting to the office for most of your career. However, with the pandemic not ending anytime soon, it’s best to make the most of your current situation. If you’re working remotely, organize your space for an efficient and productive place for work.