Say goodbye to the cubicle for good.
A healthy work-life balance is a laudable goal that most people aspire to. In fact, a flexible schedule has become one of the most sought-after elements of a job.
Part of this flexibility includes the ability to work from home — something 76 percent of women say is necessary for companies to retain long term staff.
There are many reasons women want to work at home — increased flexibility within their current position, to take care of children and save on daycare expenses, or even to be their own boss or start their own online company.
No matter the reason you want to get away from the cubicle world, it’s absolutely essential to create a designated work space that, well, works. Here are five factors to consider when creating your own at-home office:
Determine What Type of Space You Need
The beauty of working from home is that you get to create your own work space and a routine that are suited to your needs, style, and schedule. No more uncomfortable chairs or required clock-in times. But before you begin revamping your home office, ask yourself this question: What type of environment works best for me?
You know yourself better than anyone else, so it only makes sense to design an office space that meets your needs. When decorating, determine if you’d like to use a standing desk or work from the kitchen table. Do you want your desk to face the window’s open views or would you rather face the wall and avoid outside distractions? Consider whether you work better while listening to music or if ambient noise is a better fit. What components of the environment increase your productivity and energy? Design your space according to those needs.
Create a Schedule and Plan for Distractions
Although working from home has many perks, it’s easy to get sidetracked. You see a pile of unfolded laundry out of the corner of your eye, want to get in a quick workout, or feel the pull of important family errands.
However, it’s wise to treat your at-home office time as you would a set schedule in a brick-and-mortar space. During working hours, you are unavailable for anything outside of your job duties. Create an action plan to deal with distractions and stay organized when working from home.
Additionally, consider establishing cues for your roommate, spouse, or other family members. Maybe a closed door means “do not disturb,” or certain hours are quiet hours in the home. Whatever your plan is, communicate it to others to minimize distractions.
Incorporate Elements You Love Into the Design
Most corporate offices don’t allow you to decorate your space. You might get to have a family picture at your desk, but not much else.
At home, though, you are at liberty to decorate your office any way you like. One great place to start is by painting the walls. Color is an easy and effective way to boost your mood and productivity. Colors can impact the way you think, behave, and perform, and the right color could have subtle effects on the overall success of your work.
You may also consider bringing in greenery, artwork, and unique furniture to your space. Consider purchasing a treadmill desk or yoga ball chair. If the space makes you feel good, then you’ll want to spend time there. And the more time you spend in your office, the more likely you’ll be to get more work done.
Incorporate Tech and IoT Features
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the latest craze in technology. Putting it simply, it’s the act of connecting everyday items to the internet, and employees are increasingly connected to everything on their smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Use smart technology in your new office by installing smart lights and a smart thermostat. If you connect these features to your smartphone, you can change the hue and brightness of your lights and temperature of the room while seated at your desk. Now you don’t have to freeze at your desk because the office air conditioning is blasting. Instead, you can control the space and adjust it to meet your exact needs and even the particular project or kind of work you’re engaged in at the moment.
Create a Home Safety Plan
In a traditional office space, you’re surrounded by people all day. But when you work from home, you may be isolated much of the time. Make sure to safeguard your space and take proper precautions. Here are a few security tips to consider when working from home:
- If you sell things as part of your business, never meet a stranger at your home.
- Install security cameras or a smart doorbell so you can see who is at the door.
- Communicate your schedule with a trusted friend or family member so people know your whereabouts.
- Be cautious when posting to social media. Don’t let strangers know you are home alone and don’t give them a clear view into your schedule.