Working from your home office can be overwhelming. Today, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of employees are learning firsthand that working from a home office comes with a slew of challenges, especially when it comes to remaining productive and keeping efficiency high.
However, working from home can also be rewarding. It’s all about finding a balance between the new freedom and figuring out how to increase efficiency. The good news is that there is no shortage of ways to combat the productivity challenges.
Whether working from your home office is new to you or whether you’ve been doing it a while, there are several things you can do to increase your efficiency. If you think proactively, you can use your home office’s design to make sure you stay focused and get tasks completed.
These three ideas are fantastic places to start.
The distractions are the most difficult part of working from your home office. If you have children, pets, or a spouse who’s also working from home, this can be especially true. Even if you’re home alone, there’s Netflix, noisy neighbors, and more. Getting in the flow of work can be quite the task.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to eliminate and minimize those distractions.
- Declutter and Minimize: Get rid of any standing clutter or trash. If something doesn’t need to be in your office, take it out. A clean office leads to a clear mind.
- Invest in Soundproofing: If you have a lot of outside noise, consider soundproofing your walls with soundproofing panels. While it might seem extreme, sometimes a little quiet is all you need to increase efficiency.
- Create a Closed Space: If your office is in a common area, or if you have to share your office, consider architectural screen panels, which are sort of like decorative walls. You can block yourself off and create a cubicle or space that’s shut off from distractions.
Reducing distractions is an essential first step to increasing efficiency in your home office.
When it comes to decorating, you want your office to be a place you feel comfortable and relaxed. However, there are many ways to decorate that can improve your productivity and workflow.
- Add Plants: Plants not only look fantastic; they can actually make you a better worker. One study found that when employees had exposure to plants during the workday, they had higher job satisfaction and were more organized. They also had lower levels of anxiety and depression.
- Go with Hues of Blue: Colors can impact moods. Recent studies show that blue is the perfect color for increasing focus, promoting relaxation, and boosting productivity. So, consider painting your office blue, or decorating with blue accents.
- Add Exercise Equipment: While not technically a decoration, a dedicated exercise corner in your home office can do wonders for your efficiency. Light exercise during the workday can increase productivity by up to 72%. A simple yoga mat, hand weights, an exercise ball, or resistance bands are great examples of things to include in an exercise corner.
Thoughtfully decorating can go a long way towards boosting your efficiency while working in your home office.
Focus on the Lighting
Bad lighting is terrible news for productivity. If it’s too dim and difficult to see, you’ll struggle to get tasks done. Plus, you’ll likely feel pretty sleepy. Conversely, if the lights are too harsh and bright, it’s easy to feel agitated and get headaches. So, it’s essential to think about your lighting design.
- Go with Blue-Enriched Lights: Blue-enriched lights increase mental acuity and alertness. They reduce fatigue and improve work performance. Studies show that employees who work under blue-enriched lights reported higher levels of happiness and alertness and had lower levels of eyestrain.
- Let in the Natural Light: If you have the option, use natural light during the day. Natural light is known to reduce rates of anxiety and depression while increasing focus.
- Add Accent or Focus Lights: If overhead lights are too bright, they can actually cause our eyes to strain and struggle to see clearly. So, rather than increasing the wattage on your overhead light, consider adding focus lights, like a desk lamp, or other fixtures. These allow you to illuminate the areas you need to see without washing the whole room out.
There are some other things to keep in mind with lighting. Blue lighting, the kind that comes from computer screens, can be rough on your eyes. So, be sure to take plenty of eye breaks from your screen.
Also, while we’re talking about working efficiency here, let’s take a moment to talk about energy efficiency.
Be sure to use LED or energy-efficient bulbs when possible. This can save you money on your electric bill each month. If you’re newly working from home, your energy bill will likely increase a little bit, since you aren’t usually home all day using up the electricity. Making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs can help mitigate those rising electricity costs.
Increase Your Efficiency by Improving Your Home Office
These three ideas for your home office can help you boost your efficiency. With a little thought and planning, you can turn working from home into a rewarding experience rather than a challenging one.
Eliminate distractions, decorate thoughtfully, and focus on your lighting, and you’ll be well on your way to improved productivity in no time.
Mandy Lee is a contributor to Innovative Construction Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.