The pandemic has changed the way millions of Canadians work: currently, around 5.1 million Canadians are working from home. Moreover, since the lockdown back in 2020, many of us have realized we actually likeworking from home, with 80% of us not wanting to return to the office. The latest figures from Statistics Canada suggest that 90% of us feel we are just as productive – if not more productive – in our home offices, versus the company office. Is your home office set up to maximize your productivity? If you’re looking for ways to get your home office working harder, here are 6 easy hacks.
1.Clearly delineate your workspace.
Carving out your workspace is important for three key reasons. First, without physical boundaries in place, it becomes very easy for work to “leak” into your private time. That laptop by your bed will serve as a tempting reminder about what needs to be done, even though the workday is over. In fact, while people are saying they’re more productive at home, it’s often because they are working longer hours. To curb this, keep your work stuff out site, so it stays out of mind. Second, it’s hard to stay organized and efficient if papers and files are scattered across your personal space. Third, experts advise setting up your workspace away from your living space because it helps your work “commute”. It signals your mind that it’s time to change gears into “work” mode. So, pick a spot – even if it’s a nook – and keep your files, your laptop and other work-related items there.
2.Minimize distractions in your home office.
It has been proven that a tidy workspace increases productivity significantly. Conversely, cluttered spaces boost stress and anxiety levels. Furthermore, cluttered spaces encourage procrastination and actually causes poor eating choices. So, how do you minimize distractions and boost productivity when working from home? Clear your home office of anything not work-related. Consider a monochromatic colour scheme to create a sense of calm. Need to clear some physical space and have nowhere to store extra items? Consider a local short-term storage solution.
3.Create boundaries for the kids.
Working from home while having kids in the house can be a challenging balancing act. While we’ve all learned to overlook kids popping into video calls now and then, having this happen often is not ideal. This is when smart workarounds come in handy. First, when kids are running loose, keep your camera off. Second, when you’re not speaking, turn off your sound. There’s also the option to use the group chat function so you don’t have to use the camera or sound. If your kids are old enough to manage on their own, post a sign that lets them know it’s work time and you can’t be disturbed.
4. Stay connected to work.
While chatting with colleagues can be a time-sucker, connecting with others is actually a good thing. Those chats around the water cooler gave our brains a break and helped create much-needed human connections. While working from home has its definite advantages, it’s also isolating.
Many of us thrive on interacting with others. Happily, staying connected is easy. Instead of emailing, schedule a video call. Plan a virtual “coffee break” with a colleague. Or at the very least, join the chat in the sidebar during a meeting.
5. Get dressed for work.
Have you only gotten dressed for work from the waist up? You’re not alone.
But you’re doing yourself a disservice. First, the actual act of getting dressed signals your brain that it’s time to start work and puts you in a productive mindset.
Secondly, there also seem to be mental health benefits to getting into work clothes. Lastly, when you’re dressed professionally, others will look at you more professionally.
6. Download apps that block distractions.
At the office, colleagues wandering around behind served as a deterrent to falling down the internet rabbit hole. Now that your workday is unmonitored, you’ll have to find other ways to keep online distractions at bay. Happily, there’s an app for that. Look into Focus or Freedom to block websites like Facebook or Pinterest from sending you messagesfor a specified period of time so you can focus on work. Other apps like Off the Grid help keep you off your phone. Time Out forces you to take breaks to help you focus better between breaks. There are other apps that lock you off the internet, encourage only mindful browsing and even help reduce web page clutter. You’ll need to do a little research (after work hours!) to figure out what works best to boost your productivity.
In summary, working from home can be liberating, productive and extremely gratifying. It can also have the opposite effect if you haven’t properly organized your home office. Following these simple 6 office hacks can help boost your productivity and have you joining the ranks of those who love working from home. Now… get to work!
Found this article on organizing your home office helpful? You may enjoy these articles on how to organize other rooms in your home.