Many of us were sent home from the office in March with expectations to ride out the lockdown for a few weeks at most. So we set up shop at the kitchen table or tried out corner closets for focused workspaces. 10 months later and walking into a new year, some of us may be looking at these effective enough but far from inspiring situations with some amount of dissatisfaction.
Whether your firm is discussing plans to return to the office in the coming months or you are home for the long haul, here are some simple ways to add inspiration to your at-home workspace.
#1: Invest in your space
If you haven’t already, give yourself permission this year to do a little more for your workspace. Maybe this means upgrading your desk to one that actually fits your needs. Or maybe it means finally buying those noise-canceling headphones to block out the background noise at your house. Consider what would make a real difference in your workday and give yourself the gift of that life and work improvement.
#2: Level up your organization
Who says organizational systems need to be boring? Take a look at where the messiest areas of your desk or tabletop are and figure out what you are missing. Then go beyond the office supply store to find paper trays, adjustable shelves, and filing solutions.
Browse Etsy for unique and stylish solutions. Here you’ll often find handmade items or artistic creations that will inspire far more than a plastic tchotchke ever could.
Consider projects you could take on to turn practical items from drab to fab. Maybe painting or decoupage is your side hobby and this is the chance you’ve been waiting for to combine the fun with the practical.
#3: Lighten up the mood with music
If you ever wanted a reason to listen to more music, you’ll appreciate that studies have found that music can help to reduce work tension and aid the swift completion of tasks. Data also showed that employees who listen to music while working come up with better proposals than those who didn’t.
#4: Create a to-do-list
Spontaneity can be great for rising to challenges that come up, creating a schedule is extremely important. It keeps you on track and helps you monitor your progress. Figure out which processes and methods work best for you. Think especially about what kinds of processes actually motivate you to get things done and lean into that knowledge about yourself to maximize your own efficiency.
Read more: 8 to-do list tips for busy WFH legal professionals
#5: Improve the decor
Legal tasks are mostly repetitious. But working in a well-decorated room could lift your spirits. So, cover the walls with colors that could lighten your mood. A study by Kwellek and others suggests that interior colors affect worker’s productivity.
Houseplants significantly improve the decor of an environment. Apart from adding a dash of color to your workspace, plants also help to purify the air. Research suggests that potted plants help to reduce volatile organic compound pollution in our homes and offices. Transform your workplace with great houseplants such as pothos, bromeliads, or aglaonema.
#6: Keep snacks nearby
It’s normal to get bored or hungry while at work. Having to run out for a snack could disrupt your concentration and stop workflow. The 2016 CareerBuilder Survey reveals 27 percent of employees are distracted by snacks during work hours.
Instead of leaving work to grab a bite, keep some snacks in your desk drawer. However, eat healthy snacks and fruits only. Moreover, don’t keep oily snacks or chocolates that could stain paperwork in your at-home workspace.
#7: Ventilate your room
2018 research cited by the National Library of Medicine proves that indoor air pollution affects the mental performance of adults. So, how can you improve the quality of air in your at-home workspace?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency explains that proper ventilation improves indoor air. That means, your workspace must have a window. Moreover, instead of having a television, a window view is more entertaining and less distracting. Also, clean your workspace daily. That will help to neutralize the air and reduce air pollution.
#8: Update your housemates on your work schedule
There’s nothing like working from home during a global pandemic to challenge a work-life balance. But one of the best things you can do is let your family or housemates know when you are in do-not-interrupt work phases. Shut the door during work hours or hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door.
Of course, the most inspiring piece of information we can share here is to give yourself some slack. Particularly if you are working from home with small children buzzing around. Keep in mind that no one has solved this challenge yet…
#9: Simulate proper office ergonomics
Have you ever wondered why the office is better suited for work than the home? The secret is in the office ergonomics. Sitting posture and equipment positioning affect our comfort in the workspace. The office place is designed to create a comfortable work environment and increase employee productivity.
In a study of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, 20-80 percent of the performance of employees were affected by ergonomic elements. Picture how desks, computers, fax machines are positioned in your law firm. Then simulate that arrangement in your at-home workspace, as much as possible.
#10: Post what inspires you
To truly make your office workspace inspiring, you’ll need to connect with what actually inspires of you. That may mean adding photos of your kids to your desk. Or maybe you want pictures of Irish landscapes that you know you’ll one day visit (once travel is a thing again). Perhaps you chose a mantra or a motivational statement for your year that you don’t want to forget.
Customize your workspace with whatever truly inspires you and enjoy knowing that you work each day for reasons that are personal and inspiring to you in their own ways.
Although you might not be aware of it, your workspace affects your productivity. The home is not originally designed for work. So, if you are working remotely, to be productive, you must make conscious efforts to reform your at-home workspace.
Try out these changes to make your at-home workspace more inspiring and get the added benefit of more productivity. You spend eight or more hours each workday working where you live, it’s time to make it just a bit more enjoyable.