With the Covid-19 pandemic lingering, new spikes in cases - and working from home becoming the new normal for droves of Americans - caretaking, homeschooling and staying focused on work can become a real challenge. Even as vaccinations rise, and the end is on the horizon, many are choosing to stay home, either for convenience or out of necessity.
Here's a few tips to keep your chosen space functioning well and looking sleek, and a few products that might help you along the way.
1. Find a space and commit to it.
If you don't have a dedicated home-office (most of us), working from home can quickly become and all-encompassing burden with little function and even less productivity. The first step is to find a spot and commit. Even if it's just the kitchen table, make the decision and stick to it. The last thing you want is to be on the middle of a Zoom call only to realize you left those important papers in the bedroom or your headphones on the couch.
This seems like a given, but look around at your current setup and see if you can streamline your space. Throw out any outdated paperwork and post-it notes. Collect all those stray pens and store them in a decorative mug or buy a simple desk organizer like this one from Amazon. Keep the essentials within arms reach, but consider a bookshelf or even a folio or binder for items you only need from time to time. Go wireless whenever and wherever you can. Nothing creates a mess like a tangle of electronic cords.
3. Set the scene.
If your new work from home life includes video calls, take a moment to check behind you. Are the dishes piled high? Is the laundry from 3 weeks ago still on the couch? Do your newly homeschooled kids need to trek a path behind you to get to the kitchen or bathroom? Keep your background clean and uncluttered but don't be afraid to show your style. Art, plants, a bookshelf or even the view to your garden will keep things professional without making it look like you're taking part in a hostage video.
Whether making video calls or just working long hours, lighting is important. Eye strain is a real concern and again... we don't want to look like we are being held in a basement against our will. Natural lighting is best, but if the space you've chosen isn't the brightest, consider a portable ring light for calls and add a lamp or two. Even reflective surfaces like lacquered tables or mirrors can redirect natural light and provide a more comfortable experience.
5. Get comfortable.
Okay, it's not your dream corner office with a view, but it could be the moment to create a more inspiring space to work. Break some general office etiquette while you have the chance and indulge a little. Ditch the headphones and stream your favorite playlist out loud! Light an aromatherapy candle and wear your slippers. Take a five minute dance break and pet the dog. Finally, don't forget to stock up on snacks. Creature comforts will help with the transition.
Click here for some home office inspiration. Who knows, maybe by the time this all ends, you'll be a little upset to go back to the "real world".