In today’s world, so many of us have working environments that are no longer at, well, work. If quarantine has you holed up at home, you might find every day presents a challenge (or twenty) when it comes to staying productive, focused, and clear-headed (especially when that dryer won’t stop buzzing). Today, then, we wanted to serve up five game-changing tips for establishing a winning work from home environment. Read on—and get ready to feel that focus and fire once more (yes, even on Monday mornings).
1. Define your space.
We’re starting here because this one is, by far, the most important tip. Designating a single space as your “office” will help keep things compartmentalized in your mind. You don’t want to work from somewhere where you typically watch movies or play with your kids, because your brain has already learned to associate those spaces with other activities (none of which are work).
By creating a singular space that is meant for work and only work, you’ll be able to switch into “work mode” much quicker—and with far fewer distractions. Keep in mind: this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have an entire spare bedroom to dedicate to your office (though a space with a door is always preferred). Even if you’re in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in New York City, it’s simply about carving out one little nook that’s solely meant for work, where no outside items or distractions are stored. A few tips as you choose your space?
- Windows will do you well: There are an array of benefits around having good natural lighting in your workspace—including boosted creativity and improved overall health and wellness.
- Opt for a low-traffic area: Try to select a location where the risk of others walking by and distracting you is low. Avoid rooms or areas near spaces that are used regularly throughout the day (i.e. the kitchen and bathrooms).
- Keep things in sight, but at a distance: Your kids playing in the backyard, your husband’s office across the way, that herb garden you’re growing by the window in the hallway—these can all add a little joy to your workday when they’re visible from a distance. Opt for an area where you can still see some outside activity, without being too close to it.
PRO TIP: Make sure you have everything you need to work within your dedicated office space. This helps minimize the need to wander about the house looking for things, which in turn minimizes your chance of getting distracted.
2. Set clear boundaries around your work from home environment.
The quickest way to muddy the waters of your work from home environment? Allowing it to operate as a total free-for-all. (We know—we’re no fun today.) Set designated office hours and have a chat with your family members, roommates, or anyone else you share a living space with about your needs. If you have little ones, it’s obviously not feasible to lock them out for hours on end—but you can talk to them about the importance of knocking and “quiet time.” We also love the idea of setting up a sign system—create a tag you can hang on your office door (or, if you don’t have a door, anywhere near the perimeter of your space) that lets others know when you’re on a call, when you’re hard at work and need some silence, and when you’re open to visitors.
3. Invest in items that enhance your comfort.
If you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, investing in items that enhance your comfort can make a massive difference in your everyday happiness. A few things we recommend?
- A comfortable chair: Anyone else have a love-affair with lumbar support? Ergonomic chairs can be a bit of an investment, but the comfort they’ll bring you (and the pain they’ll save you) makes them invaluable.
- A stand-up desk or stand-up desk topper: From lowering your risk of back pain to improving your energy levels and mood, the benefits of standing desks are pretty indisputable. Even if you don’t want to invest in a brand-new standing desk, you can find a number of affordable options for a standing desk “topper” that you can set on top of your existing desk surface and raise to the proper height.
- Proper lighting: This one is particularly important for jobs that involve drawing, drafting, writing, or reviewing printed materials. Consider switching out the bulbs in your ceiling fan to something a little more warm, investing in a dimmer system, and/or purchasing a separate, high-quality standing lamp to layer additional lighting in your office space. Straining to see your computer can make you feel fatigued—so adding a task light near or behind your screen is another small switch that makes a major difference.
- Blue light blockers: If you’re someone who stares at a screen all day (as so many of us do), blue light blocker glasses are a must. They can reduce glare, ease eye strain, and help reduce the amount of melatonin-interference that happens when we’re on our computers late at night. The best part? They’re inexpensive and easy to find online.
4. Include something that makes you smile.
While your work from home environment should be free from distractions, that doesn’t mean it has to be void of personality. Including something that makes you smile, inspires you, or motivates you is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and help soften the blow of a Monday morning. Frame that motivational quote you love and hang it on the wall across from your desk. Send yourself fresh flowers on the first Friday of every month. Diffuse your favorite essential oils in the space. Create a gallery wall that displays all of your child’s artwork. Invest in a great piece of art or pottery that has meaning to you. The options are endless—it’s simply about finding a few items that speak to you and using them to elevate your workspace and your mood.
5. Set yourself up for virtual meeting success.
We can’t stress this one enough—especially if you’ll be taking multiple virtual meetings each week. Create a consistent, designated space where the lighting and background is right for virtual calls, so you don’t have to scramble every time you click on that dreaded Zoom link. A few things to keep in mind?
- Avoid side-lighting and backlighting: A window at your back will turn you into a shady silhouette—and one by your side will cause your face to be half-shaded by moving shadows. Instead, face a window directly or have a lamp on right in front of you (and right behind your computer screen) for steady, consistent lighting throughout the call.
- Pull back from the camera: Finding the right perspective is key. You’ll want to position yourself a few feet back from the camera so your features aren’t distorted by the wide-angle lens on webcams and smartphones.
- Set the camera at eye-level: If you’re working from a laptop on a desk surface that’s lower than your eyes (as many of us do), the camera will be looking right up those nostrils (sorry, boss). Prop your computer up on a few books to avoid this. (Psst…this is a great place to employ that stand-up desk converter you invested in!)
Ready for more goodness? Browse the rest of the CF Nutrition blog for empowering health, wellness, and lifestyle tips. And don’t forget to bring your A-game to your work from home environment every day by hydrating with the clean, clinical replenishment of CF(Rehyrdate)® and nourishing with the powerful plant-based protein in CF(protein)®, our fan-favorite immunonutrition drink.