COVID 19 has changed our reality and the way we are now looking at our home. The lock down has prompted may of us to design and redo our spaces to fit in a number of needs – home schooling, work from home, recreation and relaxation, among many others. Work from home is the new reality that we are all looking at, with companies like Twitter, Facebook and even Shopify having reworked their policies to offer their employees lifelong work from home options in the face of the pandemic. The reality is not just that we have to stay indoors due to the pandemic – the new reality is that working from home is also possible.
Let’s understand how we can create an ideal set up. First things first, it is important to clear the clutter to make space. You will find all that you need in a house to feed yourself, rest, dress, play, exercise and unwind. Yet, many of us find that we are struggling to find the right space to set the right space for financial gains within our homes. This is where we need to understand what makes the perfect HOME OFFICE.
- “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less”. – SOCRATES.
Creating space in that corner for you to work would be challenging at the beginning. Head out to seek lesser used places in the house, or less often used rooms, the artifacts from the living room corners can leave to give you the much wanted space. You can even take the side table out to fit your workstation in your bedroom, a dead corner in your balcony can lend space too. The dinning table might be pushed to the wall to make way for your desk. The easiest way to make space is observe your footfall during the day, and take a fresh look at the spaces which are less often visited and used.
- “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn.
Work from home requirements have a simple thing at the top of the list: a desk. Designing the desk depends on the quantum of work that you and the kind of work from home you are looking to take on. Ask yourself if a drawer needed or even a few cabinets to line the walls of the area that would demarcate the work from home space. Are you a PC person or does the laptop work best for you? Chalk down how do you want to be equipped to deliver. Ergonomics play a major role here, for a good posture and productivity. See that the desk holds all your essentials from your writing pad to your video conferences even as it supports your back and your wrist well. An ideal size of the table should be 5’ in width , 30 inches in depth and height 2’6” according to the set standards, to protect your neck, back and shoulder. Always use a footrest to protect your spine. The chair definitely needs to be revolving with lumbar support to help you stretch and let you have your essentials at a one arm distance. Try keeping all your files on cloud to be organized and also, to save physical space.
- “Shadow owes its birth to light” – John Gay.
A well lit place is required once your desk is set. With multiple options in the market, I suggest task lightning with a suspended pendant light on the desk or an incandescent light from the opposite wall. Do everything to avoid the daylight on falling on your screen you don’t want that screen to reflect any kind of harsh light. But never miss a chance to get a view of the window – it relaxes your pupils and will keep you from thinking you are stuck indoors. Good lighting in your work from home space can make up for the dearth of space. Make sure all your sockets and switches are lined up close by for better accessibility and to ensure that you do not have to take constant and unnecessary breaks from work. Keep your air conditioner on a set temperature once your area is sanitized and be sure to open windows and doors for ventilation, followed by disinfecting or use exhaust fans.
- “Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life” – Pablo Picasso.
Work stations do not merely have to keep you active and progressive – they have to inspire you too. Add a few pieces of cherished memories like photographs, a painting, a mug of moments to hold your stationery or even place a green leafy plant adding life. This breaks the cycle of monotony and lets a breeze of fresh air into your work from home space. A cork board can be close by to hold your laurels and a few reminders to map your day. A bright color that stands out better than the rest of the wall colors will always keep you refreshed and focused.
- “Continuous improvement is better than a delayed perfection” – Mark Twain.
Acoustics is a major concern to micro manage sound for workplaces at home. For all those important calls you can surround yourself in closed spaces or add on to a foldable wooden partition to absorb sound. In such a case, a wooden flooring works best too. To start with, identify gaps or weak points in the room which carry sound for example: doors and windows, use UPVC to seal sound leaks which are airborne. Wooden doors are heavy and are the best option to absorb sound if paneled from both sides. Thick fabric curtains and floor rugs act as sound buffers. False ceilings with composite panels work best to keep you away from the domestic noises. You can leave a “Do not disturb” board at your door when in middle of meetings.If nothing else, take a walk around the house and indulge in some activities to zone in and zone out. Grab a bite at your dinning table reading. Moving around your house to mobilize your work is best too.
- “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity, survival is not the goal, transformative success is.” – Seth Godin.
When it comes to choosing materials which need frequent handling like racks and cabinets to hold your documents, be wise to choose essentials with waterproof finishes and furniture that can lend ample flexibility to alter shelves. If your requirements fit into smaller cabinets it’s best with castors to drag it to your convenience. Metal chest of drawers are the best when it comes to organizing files and are easy to wipe and sanitize. Glass shelves fitted on walls and corners come handy too. Table top file organizers are a good option for your work from home space as well.
In such cases, technology also plays a great role. Home automation is a smart choice, especially when it comes to social distancing. A video bell, motion sensing lights with panel operations offer all that the current times need.
Cut the commute and let work from home become the new normal.
We are at home, we are at work.
Work from home is here to stay.