Working remotely from home has some huge benefits: your coworkers never know if you are wearing pajama pants, there’s no long commute drive to and from work each day, and nobody (besides your family!) cares that you are blasting your music or podcasts throughout your workday.
If you are new to remote working, it may feel like you got shoved into it, and once you set up your VPN and your laptop, you may not have thought much about the space that you occupy for about 8 hours a day. If you are spending that much time in one spot though, you might as well make the most of it! Let’s dig into some ways that you can change your office surroundings, even if your home office happens to be your dining room table.
1. Have a clean backdrop for any video conferencing. While it’s fun to look at everyone’s backgrounds with pictures of pets and kids, and try to guess which books on the bookshelf behind them they’ve cracked open to read recently, it’s distracting. The space behind you should be relatively boring so that you can keep a good work-life balance: something that can be hard to come by when you’re finding yourself working from home. Below are some tips to help keep distractions behind you to a minimum:
- Remove any personalized items including framed photos that your webcam may show.
- Take down any wall hangings that include quotes on them.
- If you have a large bookcase, aim to have the books be out of focus. (You can do this on some upscale webcams.)
- If you can’t easily blur out the background of your home office, opt for a simple backdrop, either by pinning a bed sheet behind you, or purchasing a simple background. (Zoom, for example, even has free backgrounds to blur out your actual room.)
2. Add some music! Instead of playing music from your laptop speakers, which, let’s be honest, probably aren’t great, consider investing in a real speaker to place beside your desk, or even in that bookshelf behind you that you’re trying hide. The KEF LS50 is a mini bookshelf speaker, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but does offer a lot better audio quality than any built-in computer speakers. After all, you can listen to your podcasts all day without anyone judging you. (Just don’t get mad if your productivity decreases a little.)
3. While you may be used to the fluorescent lights of many corporate offices, you don’t have to deal with that at home. In fact, you can choose to have different hued lights depending on the time of day. Add a welcoming lamp on your desk, or floor lamp beside you, and use a bulb that can switch from bright blue-based light in the morning to red-based or warmer tones in the afternoon. There are several bulb options on the market right now that allow you to switch hues, including the very popular Philips brand. Warmer toned lights in the afternoon help your body understand that the sun is getting lower in the sky, and has been linked to improving your ability to sleep.
4. The last thing you want to do when you see your home office it feels like it doesn’t represent you, or fit with the rest of the house. Although it’s advisable to keep your immediate background devoid of personalized things, you can add a cozy blanket to throw on your lap as you work, a fun rug to add color, and desk accessories or even a vase of fresh flowers from the garden. You may be working, you are doing it from the comfort of your home. If you’re craving a creative office space, check out these options. Searching for more inspiration to inspire productivity? Architecture Digest has an amazing selection that can help motivate you to get down to business.
5. Consider purchasing a standing desk. If you’re going to be working at home for the foreseeable future, it might be time to purchase a standing-sitting desk. People who have sitting jobs have an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, so if you can switch out some of your sitting with standing, you’ll reduce these risks. You’ll want to find an adjustable one so that you can stand or sit depending on your mood; make sure you also have a supportive rug where you stand, since standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time will end up hurting your feet.
Working from home might be a little strange for those of you who have spent years physically interacting with your coworkers, but it certainly does offer more freedom to your surroundings.