Home is Where the Office Is

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Making the change and working or studying from home can be a difficult adjustment for a number of different reasons. From curating a professional approach, to helping with your concentration, taking control of your home office can really make the difference when it comes to your productivity.  Here is our complete guide for making the most of your home working space.

Home Office: Expert Tips

1. Location, Location, Location

Not everybody has the luxury of ample spare bedrooms in which to set up a home office. If you do, more power to you; however if – like the rest of us – space is limited for you, this presents a certain set of challenges. Location is the number one item you need to consider. For instance, while your kitchen space might be lovely, photogenic and bright – if you share a household with a Gordon Ramsey wannabe, concentrating in that space, or dialling into a meeting with an open mic will be difficult. Genuinely – when it comes to sound, an airing cupboard might be better if the alternative is making your colleagues listen to your partner/flatmate effing and blinding while chopping onions. Functionality is the most important factor when setting up your workspace.

2. Keeping Good Routines

Curating the ideal home office is as much about state of mind, as it is about physical space – and how maintaining the two can be a delicate balancing act. Creating an air of professionalism around your new workplace will help you stay focussed. Getting dressed, having a designated space (separate to the area you relax in in the evening), and maintaining that schedule as best you can – will all help you get and stay in that illusive ‘zone’. And don’t be concerned if you falter here and there, even the most disciplined of brains can struggle when it comes to staying on task when the pressure is on.

3.  A Distraction-Free Zone

Distractions, be it a sensational news website with constant updates, a meme-filled WhatsApp group or the neighbour’s juicy phone conversation wafting in through the window, can be hard to avoid. But maintaining discipline is important, as when you open the door to a little procrastination, you can be opening the floodgates to a wealth of bad habits. Our advice is to avoid temptation altogether, and take your access to certain apps or sites completely off the table. Mute non-relevant notifications while you’re ‘on the clock’, create a separate login for your working day and check out this handy list of working-from-home-friendly software.

4. Putting Your Stamp on It

Psychologically, it’s important to set up that difference from your home office to the rest your home. Whether it’s a laptop on a table, or an elaborate, multiscreen rig that you’ve been building for years, this is your workspace; don’t be afraid to invest a little time and elbow grease when you’re setting it up. Get online shopping and pick up that spinny chair that makes you feel like a supervillain, or buy in that impressive fern or funky lamp.

5. Declutter

If this is a space you’ll be using for the foreseeable future, then it’s in your best interest to keep on top of the physical organisation of the area. Have a filing system, keep the space neat and as functional as possible. Maintaining good habits when it comes to working from home, means your workflow is manageable and sustainable. A well-maintained desk, with easy access to files and stationary means less stress and work in the long run, as well as meaning your physical space is pleasant to be in. Avoid mouldy cups, or out-of-control misc piles at all costs!

6. Space for Body and Mind

What’s very, very important, is to make sure that your home office is as ergonomic as possible. No, a dining chair will not do long term – trust us. To avoid repetitive strain injury, you must have your screen at eye level, and make sure that when you’re sitting down at your desk, you’re not slumping. If possible, pick a space where you can look out a window; regular eye breaks are vital. Over the course of a work day, stand up from time to time and, make sure you move around. On your lunch, go out for a stroll – your dog will be delighted. Bad habits in this area can lead to migraines, stress and health problems further down the line and will impact your productivity in the long run, so saying ‘I don’t have time’ isn’t a viable excuse.

7. Have Fun

Once you’ve settled into your new space, be creative. Make it more liveable, invest in a kooky pen holder, a plant named Cecil, that catch-phrase mug – all those little touches and accoutrements that you have in your desk at the office, start cultivating those at home. If you’re video conferencing, and you’re able to – get a bit of your personality into the frame. Your favourite books, perhaps, a piece of artwork you’ve purchased (or that your kids have created for you), a guitar, a splash of colour – these all do wonders for lifting spirits and act as  great conversation starters.

8. Maintain Those Boundaries

And finally, it’s time to set up rules for your household and live by them. When the office door is closed, when you have your headphones on, or your makeshift divider pulled across – that’s your ‘red light’. No offers of cups of tea, no kids wandering in announcing they are bored. It’s important to create your boundaries and stick to them.

Like these tips? Then watch this space, as we’ll have plenty more in the coming weeks. Check out OnlineCampus.ie for a number of classes and online courses where you can upskill and take the next step in your career. 


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