Whether you work for a big company or on a small team, everyone has had to rethink work in 2020. Logistics, travel, or even just figuring out ways for employees and teams to carve out space to get meaningful work done at home has turned into a full-time job.
Maybe you had hoped to be back in the office by the new year, or maybe you’ve been thriving in the new mode of working from home. Either way, many of us are working from home, and the new office is an inconsistent concept, as our home landscapes differ widely. Maybe you have a separate room for your office, or maybe it’s the dining room table you share as a desk with your roommates. Or maybe your kids are doing virtual school next to you, sharing your office space. The range of home office experiences is vast, and full of similarly unique obstacles.
That said, we wanted to create a checklist for you or your employees home office, so everyone has options to elevate their space in 2021.
In the beginning of the pandemic, things were uncertain, and many of us approached our home workspaces as short-term solutions. We didn’t create our spaces with intention, we created them out of sudden necessity. And I’m willing to bet most of us didn’t make many changes.
However, we believe that making your office space work for you and your team will revolutionize the way you work. Being deliberate with workplace design helps you stay focused, calm, and inspired while you work, which means that you’re producing at a higher quality.
Rethinking your home office design or helping your employees and team invest in a space that feels good will also help in rebuilding that all important work-life boundary that seems to have all but dissolved.
This is a crucial step for home office design. If your workspace isn’t separate from the rest of your living space, problems arise. You get easily distracted, start doing chores or other tasks when you should be working, or are tempted to get back into bed mid-morning. And when the work day is over, you never really leave work. It’s always right there, and you can keep working well into the night. Besides being crucial for mental health and self-care, keeping work contained is good for your productivity. When you integrate your tasks too deeply into everyday home life, you get less done, and the work day takes much more energy.
If you have an entire room for your home office, congrats! This step is easily within your reach. Simply close the door to keep the outside world out, and when you are done working, you can close the door behind you.
If your workspace is more limited, don’t worry, you still have plenty of options. Consider a room divider, to create a separate spatial sphere for work and home. A simple wall tapestry, hung from the ceiling can create a division of space. Even rearranging existing furniture like book shelves can make a separate work nook.
But what if that’s not going to work either? If your desk is the dining room table, or you share the workspace with others, consider investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones or earbuds. Even this small step can make a big difference in productivity and focus. And it will help you keep those work conference calls a little calmer!
This step on the checklist is surprisingly effective at changing any home office experience. The majority of Chicago homes are old, and although this means characteristic Chicago charm, it also leads to less than ideal lighting. Lighting which is fine for everyday life doesn’t cut it when it comes to work. You need better lighting!
You know your situation best, so maybe this means a nice standing lamp, or rearranging your desk to be closer to the window. It can also mean upgrading your light bulbs. A brighter LED bulb (not glaringly bright though!) can make a world of difference. We recommend between 2000-6000 Lumens for a good work lightbulb. Consider a dimmable bulb which gives you more control over lighting as the natural light changes over the course of a day.
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