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Making your home office your haven

People all over the U.S. have taken their jobs home with them for a while. With social distancing mandates in effect, a home is now a multi-function place — a place to work, caretake, and homeschool all rolled up into one. As for when you will be ordered to get into your car and return to the place you once called “the office,” no one seems to be able to predict which week or a month that will happen. So to stay focused on work, make your work area organized and visually appealing to help you feel more productive as well as relaxed. Many people now working from home are reporting that they are doing their best work ever.

If you never had a home office before sheltering-in-place became a thing, the first thing to do to keep you sane is to designate a sacrosanct work area. Zillow Porchlight’s Stephen Milioti writes, “That means adequate lighting, a comfortable chair — the right height for typing without strain — a seamless tech setup that allows you to take and make video calls without having to fiddle with plugs or wires, and an overall lack of clutter on your desk and the surrounding area.”

Keeping your desk clutter-free sounds like an impossible task, but make it your goal each day. Milioti suggests that before you start work each day, toss anything that needs to be thrown out, pair like items with like, contain those stray pens in one nice decorative cup, and make sure you have all your workday essentials close at hand and non-essential items moved elsewhere.

Now look ahead. What do you see in front of you? A wall? Is it an inspiring wall? “This is as good a time as ever to put together an inspiration board and fill it with what makes you happy, from images of your favorite people and pets, to pics of your goals (like that fabulous vacation you are going to take once we’ve all gotten through this tough time!),” says Milioti. “And yes, you can put your to-dos and important reminders up there too — but keep the focus on the positive and uplifting, and keep it right in your line of sight.”

Some great advice he offers includes “setting the stage” if video calls are part of your new normal. What will colleagues see behind you — a pile of laundry or dirty breakfast dishes? “Keep things clean and uncluttered,” he says. “And if you have space, show off your style. Some good background options might be your favorite art piece, interesting souvenirs, or a not-overly-stuffed bookcase. Lastly, remember lighting: Your space should be adequately lit, or it’ll look like you’re dialing in from a submarine.”

The perks of working from home are abundant because you can pretty much make your own rules — anything from scented candles, music wafting in the background, or snacks on hand to avoid trips to the kitchen. Milioti adds, “It’s important to take time to indulge yourself with some creature comforts that feed your soul and make you feel calm and inspired.”

Source: Zillow | TBWS