It’s not a stretch to say that COVID completely revamped the way education is approached around the world. Now, virtual learning is almost as common, if not more so, as in-person classrooms. As many students make the switch to an online environment, teachers and professors must adjust to this remote system, as well.
Whether you’re excited to work from home or it’s something you’d rather not do, much of your productivity and success depends on your home office work environment. The right atmosphere encourages you to wake up, start your day, and stay in a flow, but the wrong space does the opposite. It’s distracting and can discourage you from being productive.
Even if your “home office” is a desk tucked away in the corner of your living room, you can still do a few things to ensure you’re creating a positive work environment. Let these tips guide you as you make the transition into a remote workspace.
How to Turn Your Home Office Into a Productive Atmosphere
Let’s start with the basic foundation: You need a desk. It’s tempting to work from your couch or even (gasp) your bed if you can get away with it. While this sounds like a dream job, it’s highly dangerous to your productivity and your health.
Working away from a desk encourages you to slouch and plays havoc with your back, neck, and gluteal muscles. With a computer chair and a desk at the right level for your body size, you’re more likely to have good posture and limit the pain that comes from desk work.
With that said, the proper placement of your desk is important if you want to enhance productivity. Place your desk where everything you’ll need, such as your printer and office supplies, are easily reached. You don’t want to have to get up and move every time you need to get something.
Try to limit how much open space you have without being cluttered. Large, open spaces tend to be noisier, so when you hear something, it’s extra distracting. But there’s a necessary balance here. When you’re surrounded by clutter, it’s nearly impossible to concentrate truly. Your brain consistently processes all the stimuli it sees, hears, and smells.
Whether you notice it or not, it’s doing this. When you think you’re working without distraction, your body is still processing things, and you’ll notice that you get tired quickly. Less clutter improves productivity and keeps you from becoming overly stimulated.
A few simple ways you can minimize clutter are:
● Wrapping up power cords, so they’re not roaming freely and messily
● Go wireless where you can, such as with your printer and internet
● Keep as few items on your desk as you can get away with
● Limit personal items to only those that truly inspire and motivate you to work harder
● Use storage solutions that hide your clutter
● Clean your desk area at the end of every day, so you start the next day fresh
However, just as vital as how you set up your clutter-free desk with the ideal setup is what you shouldn’t do.
What to Avoid When Working From Home
Once again, if you’re not on a video call the whole workday, you will have to work hard to push yourself to be productive. This starts from the beginning of the day when you decide what to wear “to work.” By dressing as though you were heading to the classroom or office, you’re more likely to convince your brain that it’s time to get to work. Yes, those pajamas are comfy, and so are yoga pants and t-shirts. But how you dress is part of your home office work environment, and you should dress like you’re ready to be productive.
Finally, and possibly one of the most vital things to remember when you’re a hard-working, incessantly busy researcher and professor, is to keep to a schedule. What hours would you be working if you weren’t at home? Try to stick to those as much as possible. It’s easy to become a workaholic if you don’t have structure.
You need a personal life, too. Include some time in your week to go to lunch with friends and family, run your errands, and engage in your favorite hobbies. Don’t let the fact that you can work any time you want keep you doing it so much that you forget to live your life.