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Published March 24th 2020
Creating a comfortable and productive workspace
So you suddenly find yourself needing to work from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic. For some, this might be an easy transition. For others, this unexpected announcement has set the challenge to scramble to get a productive workspace to carry on doing tasks.
Here are some things to consider to set up a home office and workspace to get on with the job and make the most of your work from home experience
1. Decide how much space and what you will need. From the outset, it helps to have a clear purpose in mind. Let's start at the top by thinking about what you will really need to be effective. Do you need a full room or just need a small nook to answer some calls and rest a laptop or tablet? Answering these questions will help to fill in the details going forward.
Now that you are clear with a sense of purpose, you can get into the creative part. For those into design, this is the fun bit. It's time to select the type of style you want your workspace to have. Maybe you are into an edgy boho look, perhaps it's the coolness of Scandi or even the individuality of retro, vintage, or traditional.
Once you've chosen your style, then you can move onto colour combos like the black and white (monochrome), or the smooth softness of pastels (dusty pink and rose gold are currently on-trend).
Whatever you decide, be sure to pick something that reflects you and also fits with the style of your home.
3. Is there enough light in sight? You might be in this space for a considerable time, so it might be good to consider the level of light in your workspace. Does it have natural light or will you be relying on artificial light? This will be important for your eye health to avoid eye strain or headaches. A space with a view will also bring the outside in.
4. Getting tech ready. This one is important. Think about the level of wifi you have. Is your phone and devices up to the job you will need them to do? Also think about technology support equipment like device stands, power boards, adaptors, leads, footrest, batteries and floor mat.
5. Make it ergonomic. Okay, so it might look good but is it good for your body? Keep in mind comfort and ergonomic considerations for good posture and easy access to materials. Bear in mind the desk and chair height, backrests and whether you need a footstool for example.
Consider where you will file and store materials and if you will need a filing draw or cabinets. We find ourselves clicking more than we are sliding pencils these days, but some slick stationery always feels good.
6. Be Inspired. You want this workspace to help inspire your productivity but also your creativity, so consider softening the room with paintings (even some kids artwork is nice), photos, and inspirational quotes.
You can even create a mood board. This is an inspirational piece as a collection or collage of ideas. Images can be taken from magazine clippings, pictures, concepts and ideas to help spark your imagination.
Some people thrive on noise but for others, it is another distraction. Will your workspace be near the lounge room, which could be the epicentre of noise and activity when you are trying to make an important video call?
8. Make it furry friendly.
This is actually my favourite consideration. Are you likely to have 4 little paws wander in your workspace to sit by your side to make the day all that better? If that's you, you might want to make your workspace pet friendly.
9. Bring in some green.
Plants are a great addition to a workspace and also purify the air. Some great varieties include peace lilies, figs and palms for pots. You could add a balcony or planter boxes and hanging baskets near your office window. Plants can help filtrate the air which is an added bonus.
Cutting from fresh flowers from the garden and adding to a vase can cheer any room and are good for the soul.
Photo courtesy Alesia Kazantceva
10. Separate the personal and the professional.
It can help if you can to separate your workspace from your personal space. Try and keep laptops out of the bed and the phone off the bed stand so you can create some space between work and your personal space.
Many of these items may already be lying around the house or can be borrowed or purchased at low-cost (e.g second hand or online).
Once you get the space the way you (and significant others) are happy with it, it will make your work from home experience more enjoyable and productive.