How to set up your home workspace
The idea of working from home can sound very attractive when you’re stuck in the office all day, or navigating rush hour traffic on your daily commute. It’s quite a different story when suddenly, you and your whole company are home every day, with no clear return date in sight.
Homeworking can be very rewarding, allowing you to structure your time around how you work best, affording the possibility of more time with family and less time wasted in travel. It does, however, present its own challenges.
In March, millions of businesses sent their workers home in line with new government guidelines. But we’ve had to do this without adequate time to put structures or support in place to tackle the potential negative impact of having a remote workforce.
At brightfive, we were better set up than many. We already have a homeworking policy allowing our employees up to two days homeworking per week, so in terms of technology and processes, we were ready. But working from home half the week and working from home every day are very different things. Both employers and workers need to be mindful of the mental and emotional (as well as practical) implications of this sudden shift.
We’ve been collecting simple, constructive suggestions to help our team maintain mental wellbeing under these challenging circumstances, work effectively and avoid distractions.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing some of this advice. If you find this useful, please feel free to share these guidelines with your community, or implement them in your own home working practice.
So, first thing’s first - how to set yourself up for success.
A good home-working environment
Your environment has a significant impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as your ability to concentrate and work effectively. Consider the following...
A tidy desk is a tidy mind, or something like that. Try to find a clean, uncluttered workspace. Move anything out of your direct eye-line that is messy or distracting (like that pile of laundry you need to sort).
It’s particularly important to try and establish a mental separation between work time and ‘home’ time when you’re working from home. You can help to establish this in your mind by creating a physical separation.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a home office, take over a section of the house you can ‘cordon off’ (even figuratively). The spare room, conservatory, a corner of the bedroom, even one end of the dining table. The main thing is to try and find a space in which you do not usually relax. Don’t make a habit of working on your sofa or bed.
Now, I’m writing about how important it is to find a quiet space, while listening to the sounds of my street which at this moment include: some children chanting into a voice-changing megaphone, a power drill and a constantly barking dog.
Obviously we can’t control everything in our physical environment, and those working at home with children will find this especially challenging.
However, there are probably a few small things you can do to find as quiet an environment as your home will provide. If noisy surroundings are testing your concentration, retreat to your own private space where possible, ideally with a door you can close. Noise cancelling headphones or playing work-friendly background music can also help.
We need sunlight, fresh air and the natural world to maintain our physical and mental health. Setting up your home working space to maximise your access to these things will help your overall well being. If you can, pick a spot near a window for natural light and fresh air.
There is research to suggest that houseplants have positive effects on both wellbeing and productivity, and could also improve the air quality of your home. If you don’t already have plants in your home, you can order some online from Amazon or B&Q. If you can, support a local florist or garden centre if they are offering a distanced purchasing option.
If you have any questions about or tips for setting up a home working space, or home working in general, please let us know on any of our social channels (links at bottom of homepage).
More home-working tips will be coming your way shortly.
NOTE: Some of our staff are now furloughed, these workspaces were implemented and used before their furlough date.