Guest post by Carrie Spencer
Of all the changes COVID has brought to the workplace, none have been as significant as the popularization of remote working. More and more parents are working exclusively from home and a great many more have incorporated home working into their weekly routines. If you’re spending anywhere around 40 hours a week in one room, then these tips are essential for helping you streamline your schedule – and save your sanity.
Obviously, when children are involved, the first step is setting some ground rules – especially regarding interruptions when you work. That means making sure they’re occupied (and entertained) and you have an office that’s conducive to work and concentration.
When it comes to creating a home office that maximizes productivity, design is key. If you’re unsure of where to start, don’t worry – you can achieve a bright, professional appearance easily and without overspending. Try first looking at the seven elements of interior design. An ideal workstation is usually attainable through changes to space, lines, shapes, patterns, colors, light, or texture. You can address these elements through the purchase of new furniture, drapery, or just small alterations, like the color of your bulbs.
Perhaps the simplest fix for a stale office comes in the form of decoration. Houseplants are a great way to give the place some color and are believed to help increase concentration. An aloe vera plant, for example, looks great, boosts brain power, and requires minimum upkeep so you won’t need to worry too much about maintaining it. Or, if you’re struggling for space, try fitting a mirror as these can often make a room look bigger.
A more drastic solution to poor home working conditions is renovation. If this seems like an extreme measure, remember that home office extensions have been estimated to increase property value by over 8% and might represent a good investment in the long term. There are a number of alterations you can make to your home to improve its working functionality but it’s not always easy to gauge costs.
The main areas of interest when making renovations are space and light. By adding new windows, for example, you can completely alter the ambiance of a room and enjoy the productivity benefits of natural light. Alternatively, you could try knocking down walls to increase space in your office and its capacity for storage, face-to-face meetings, or co-workers. Remember, if you plan to make any major changes, first check with an expert to ensure your plans are legal and advised.
If your home can’t accommodate a home office, you wouldn’t be amiss for considering an altogether new purchase. If you find yourself tempted, then remember to be open-minded in your approach – oftentimes, a property with a run-down garden shed (perfect for renovating) or a misused basement gets overlooked. If you can use your imagination, you may be able to spot something that others haven’t.
In the quest for an office space of your own, it helps if you’re willing to do most of the legwork yourself. Some have even gone as far as to buy a house “as is”, despite structural problems, leaky roofs, or mildew problems. These are all issues that a seller will leave unfixed prior to listing. Although a good fixer-upper can represent excellent value for money, it can also prove disastrous if you enter a purchase without expert guidance.
Although the future is unclear, it would appear that remote working is here to stay – so working parents need to adapt as best they can. Whatever action you take now towards better remote working, may end up benefiting you in the long term.
Author Bio: Carrie Spencer created The Spencers Adventures to share her family’s homesteading adventures. On the site, she shares tips on living self-sufficiently, fruit and vegetable gardening, parenting, conservation, and more. She and her wife have 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 goats, 32 chickens, and a whole bunch of bees. Their goal is to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible.
Office Skills Training offers online classes that will teach you valuable office skills and prepare you for working in the 21st century.