The 15 Must-Have Items You Need to Stay Productive When Working From Home
Creating a More Productive Work From Home Experience
1. Designated workspace
The most important factor for having a productive work from home -life is to have a designated workspace. While it can be very tempting to just cosy up on the couch or stay under the sheets in the company of your laptop, having a place in the home dedicated just for work will help get you in a working, game-on mindset.
With a dedicated workspace, you are more able to avoid a host of productivity-murdering activities like watching TV, playing on your console, napping, fiddling with the phone and so on. A solid level of comfort in your workspace can improve your productivity when you are working from home. That is why it is best to get a desk and chair that work for you. Chair-desk height, armrests, cushion and back support are things that are often overlooked but are just as important to consider.
2. Window for Natural Lighting
Ideally, your workspace should have windows and ample natural light. There have been countless studies showing how natural light can improve one’s productivity and mood, and thats what you need when you are working from home.
You may have noticed how tired and sluggish you feel during the winter months and that is because of the effect of sunlight in your energy level. There have also been a lot of research showing that windows and a pleasant view can help people feel less cooped-up and isolated while working.
So if you can, position your workspace as close to a window as possible for sunlight and an occasional glance of the world outside.
3. Good artificial lighting
In addition to natural lighting, you also need a good artificial light source to facilitate reading, writing and other activities. As you are well too familiar with, we often experience overcast, grey skies in the UK so a proper desk or overhead lamp would be a necessary supplement. Adjust your lighting throughout the day as you see fit, while working from your own home.
4. Planner, to-do list
Keep a planner and to-do list at arm’s reach when you are working from home. In that way you can write down your assignments, manage your time and keep track of what is due and what is on deck. With your planner, develop a realistic plan for the week so you can establish a routine and train yourself in being productive in the rhythm.
We also recommend getting one of those wall calendars that you can see everyday from your desk so you can easily view, at a glance, when tasks are due and when you need to start a new one. A calendar with fun, artsy design can also add a personal touch to your workspace.
Bring a little of the outdoors by adding a green plant or two to your workspace. Not only does it add a positive aesthetic to your workspace, but is also believed to keep you stay calm and focused, while you are working from home. Scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Uppsala University of Sweden recommend putting plants in the work area as it can lower your stress level by detoxifying the air around you.
7. Computer, phone and Wifi
It goes without saying that your computer, phone and a good wifi connection are the most basic things you need to stay connected and get your job done at home. Almost ironically, the same device you use for working is also the same potentially big productivity sucker for many of us.
If you cannot restrain yourself from stalking your crush on social media, cute cat videos and other forms of web surfing, consider installing programs that limit you from viewing time-wasting websites.
Needless to say, the printer is an essential item in your workspace. Whether it be for printing invoices, docs or photos, it is always more convenient to have a trusty printer at home rather than running around town to find somewhere that prints documents.
Efficiency gurus have said it time and time again that a messy and cluttered workspace can hinder productivity. Avoid having to navigate through the clutter by keeping things (aka. mess) orderly and even great looking using a good storage and organisation system. Working from home can already be stressful and the last thing you really want to worry about is having to deal with a stressful environment.
There have been studies linking listening to music to increased productivity and concentration, which you definitely should take advantage of when you are working from home.
A research by Mindlab International suggests listening to a specific music genre depending on the task at hand. Classical music works best for those whose jobs involve numbers and attention to detail while pop is recommended for data entry and catching deadlines. For those solving equations, ambient music is best; dance beats, on the other hand, boosts accuracy for proofreading and abstract reasoning.
Having a clock in your workspace can be debatable. Many may even throw in the saying “a watched pot never boils” as an argument. While this may be true on many occasions, bear in mind though that when working from home, it is much easier to lose track of time and get sucked in by work. Use the clock to keep track of the day and as a reminder to get up from the seat from time to time.
12. Office Supplies
How many times have you had to scramble for a pen and paper to jot down something important? Just because you are working from home does not mean that you should skimp on the office basics like pencil, notepad, pens, tape, scissors etc. Be sure to keep them tidy and on hand at all times.
13. A cuppa tea, coffee or whatever you fancy
If a jolt of caffeine or freshly brewed tea is what you need to get the day going then by all means, have your your favourite beverage available and on hand. It is a simple pleasure that will help you get through the work day.
14. Inspiration board
Keep a poster that motivates you the best when you are working from home. Put up pictures of your loved ones. Even that photo of that gadget or shoes that you have been saving up for can be up in your inspiration board. This part of your workspace will be your constant visual affirmation why you do what you do, thus keeping your motivation always in check.
15. A needed break
Last, but not the least - take a well-deserved break during the workday at home! And yes, that grey cat on that infographic is there for a reason. It is meant to say that you should welcome a distraction when you need it and when you feel that you earned it.
Get up from that seat, walk outside and take a breath of fresh air. Give your brain a rest and you’ll come back more effective and productive at your work.