As more and more students and professionals are opting to work or study from home, the need for a dedicated work or study space in the home has never been more important for many families. And while it is easy to imagine working the day away in a sunny nook free from clutter and distraction, finding a separate space to set up your dream home office or school room isn’t always possible.
The magazine pictures woo us with cute succulents and cheery coffee mugs, but when it comes to productivity, there are some key factors to take into consideration when creating a space that is conducive to working and studying from home amidst all of the chaos that the environment can bring.
Regardless of whether you have a spacious single family home with a spare room that can be transformed into a dedicated home office, or if you’re navigating the pandemic from a small apartment or condominium and need to study in the limited space that’s available, here are 5 tips from the Bob Blake Team for setting up the perfect home office or study room.
Potted succulent plant and steaming coffee mug optional!
1. Plugged In
Before settling down to work or study, take a minute to identify your needs in terms of plugging in to electricity, the internet, HDMI, telephone, printer, etc. If you have to run a cable or cord more than a couple of feet, we encourage you to move somewhere else! Nothing says disaster like power cords and connection cables criss-crossing high traffic areas in your home.
And while you’re at it, make sure that no one else in the home intends to swipe or borrow your outlets and cables. Investing in extra power bars and charging cables will be worth it when it comes time to get down to work without interruptions or delays because you can’t plug in.
2. The Right Light
Natural light from a window or patio door can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to working and studying from home. On the plus side, a bright window can inject much needed motivation and provide inspiring views to get the creative juices going, but at the same time, a glare of sunlight can make working from a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone impossible or at least uncomfortable.
As such, choose your angles wisely if working near a natural light source, and top up as needed with comfortable desk lighting. If you don’t want to have more cables running across the floor, check out the sleek USB desk lights now on the market. We think they’re pretty neat!
3. Managing Noise + Interruptions
Unless you are in the rare situation of having a perfectly quiet home office or study environment, you will most likely have to get creative when trying to block out distracting noises around you. If you’ve got the luxury, shut the door. If not, find a noise cancelling headset or earphones, or play some white noise tracks in the background. We love a good rain storm with rolling thunder to block out the noise of the family when trying to work.
These same tactics work for managing interruptions. Make sure that your family and house mates know the signs: a closed door, or headset on your head is a signal that you are hard at work and not to be disturbed.
4. Take a Seat
If there’s any one item that you should splurge on when setting up your home office or study space, it’s your desk chair. Making sure that you’re sitting in a safe and comfortable position is really important to your spine health if you’re planning to spend more than a couple of hours a day at your desk. Choose a seat that can be adjusted to the height of your work station (desk, table, counter) and can tuck away all neat and tidy when you’re done.
And then tell everyone else in your home to back off. That seat is YOURS!
5. Identify your Kryptonite
This tip is for renters or homeowners who don’t have the space for a home office or work space that is completely private. If you have no choice but to work in your bedroom, the living room or the dining room, we appreciate the challenges that come with trying to work and study from home when you live in an apartment or condominium, or are renting a room.
Small space dwellers: no matter how much effort you put into setting up the perfect desk or work station, if you’re susceptible to distraction, your success will be sabotaged and you’ll never be as productive as you want. If distractions in your workspace make it too easy to stop working to take a nap, grab a snack, or get sucked into the social media abyss, fix the issues before you settle into your daily work. Identify your weak spot, your kryptonite, and eliminate access to your triggers and distractions.
• If the TV is on the wall, move the remote to another room.
• If the bed is handy and inviting, cover it with laundry baskets or books.
• If the snack pantry or fridge won’t stop calling your name, plan out and pre-pack your snacks so you won’t miss a beat when hunger strikes
• If your social media itch won’t stop, change your notifications to daily updates
To all of you nativating the new norm as you work and study from home, the Bob Blake family wish you the best. And should you decide it’s time to upgrade to a home that has that dream home-office or study space, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be happy to help you in the search for your new home!