How to Create the Perfect WFH Environment
Ten months after the United States’ initial Coronavirus shutdowns and we are still holed up inside, working out of makeshift home offices. Major tech companies have even allowed employees to continue telecommuting through Summer 2021. Clearly, work from home is here to stay. But it doesn’t have to be torture. Take the time to invest in yourself and your space, and make your home office comfortable and enjoyable.
Here are four steps to create the perfect WFH environment. Because a good office requires more than power outlets and stable wifi connection.
1. Designate a Workspace
No more zoom meetings from the kitchen counter. Try to create definitive boundaries between work and home by setting up a designated office workspace. The goal is to establish a routine where you can “go to the office” in the morning and “come home” in the evening. Even if the “office” is only a few feet away.
This doesn’t have to be a whole separate room. And if you have small children, you may need to place your workspace within range of their distance learning. But whichever corner of the house or apartment you choose, make sure there’s plenty of light. And be sure to add lamps or other light sources if needed.
Now that video conferencing is the new norm, you might also want to consider which wall would make a good zoom background. Or maybe you choose to invest in a green screen to make those virtual backgrounds really pop (and to easily hide any disorganization behind you).
2. Reduce Clutter
Speaking of messes. We recommend reducing clutter to avoid too many distracting sight lines. If your desk is operating as both a WFH office and a personal workspace, try to keep work documents separate from personal documents. Keeping business and personal files separate also helps you “log in” and “log out” of work. During work hours you’re not distracted by personal bills, and after work, all the business documents remain out of sight and out of mind.
This might mean getting a good desk organizer or mini filing cabinet. And don’t forget the “junk drawer.” Try to allocate at least one drawer or shelf specifically for junk (e.g. all the clutter and random knick-knacks that magically find their way onto every desk). This way things stay neat and organized with minimal effort on your part.
3. Get Comfortable
If the WFH life really is here for the long haul, then we might as well get comfortable. And no, I don’t mean work from a bed or sofa. The good news: unlike working at a company office, you now have total control of the thermostat.
More good news: you can choose exactly which office chair and desk to use. We’ve done a whole blog post on the basics of good office ergonomics[LINK], but now’s your chance to invest in the materials, finishes, and colors that make your work environment comfortable for you. Think beyond a piece’s necessary dimensions. Choose a smoked walnut finish for warmth, or look for extra built-in storage to further reduce clutter. Maybe our fire-engine red color option inspires your creativity and drive. Or maybe you opt for more calming hues.
The point is to make your work from home space--whether that be a corner in the living room or a designated office--somewhere you can comfortably work for hours at a time. Light a scented candle and go crazy with throw pillows if you want.
A functional WFH environment can always be aesthetically pleasing, too. And the perfect office for one person may be drastically different from another. Our advice is to personalize your workspace to suit you and your work routine. As Marie Kondo would say, find what sparks joy.
Decorate with plants and faerie lights. Keep a mug of hot coffee or tea (or cider) close. Turn on your aromatherapy diffuser. Display framed photographs of your family (or beloved pet). Place your bluetooth speaker nearby for some Dolly Parton Christmas tunes--whatever makes working during a pandemic even just a little less stressful.
And I hope that a year or two from now, when we all return to a semblance of normal pre-pandemic life, we can bring these actions into regular offices, transforming even our “Work-From-Company” workspaces into enjoyable environments.