2020 will be remembered as a year of home working, since the coronavirus pandemic has forced so many people to set up shop in their back rooms. By late March, four million people were working from home in Britain – an unprecedented number, with many millions more in the US.
Many office workers remain at home as employers contemplate the necessary regulations for a safe return. Some companies, including Twitter, have announced they will allow employees to work from home indefinitely, while others have suggested home working will be a key factor in their operations beyond 2020.
If you’re in it for the long haul, then one simple way to boost your spirits and productivity is to maintain your new workplace. Here are six simple ways to do just that.
Mess is the enemy of a clear mind, so tidying up goes without saying. But one simple way to keep your space clutter-free is to set clear boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘home’ – and stick to them. Your desk should be for one purpose – work – so eat dinner, exercise and hang the laundry elsewhere.
This helps home workers to mentally switch off, but it also helps to keep the work environment clean and clear. If you regularly participate in important Zoom calls, then clothes horses and crisp packets may not be ideal backgrounds.
Protect the flooring
By now, you’ve probably figured out the ultimate secret to successful home working – an ergonomic office chair. But chair wheels, like desk legs, can damage flooring – and if you want this space to return to its former glory next year, then it makes sense to protect the ground.
There are several ways to protect wooden flooring or carpet from scratches and dents, ranging from protective rugs to castor cups and stylish furniture feet.
There are even specialist types of swivel chair wheels, including low-impact silicone and rubber wheels, which can be attached to chairs for comfort and protection. Take a look at this guide on how to fit castor wheels if you need to update yours.
Use coasters for hot drinks
If you’re lucky enough to have a desk, and it’s made of wood, then protecting the surface is imperative. If you’re working on a temporary surface such as a kitchen table, then this is even more important – you don’t want unsightly rings to act as an unwelcome memo of 2020.
Heat and water marks can permanently damage wood. Liquids can also damage electrical equipment such as phones and computers, so it’s a good idea to be generally careful with refreshments in the office.
Give it a lick of paint
Feeling a little boxed in? A lick of paint can make all the difference to how your space feels. Use a light, bright and relaxing colour palette to channel your desired mood into the space.
Add finishing touches in the form of bookshelves and you’ll be able to showcase intellectual credentials in every Zoom meeting. It’s a win-win.
Screen time causes eye strain – that’s why employers take steps to ensure offices have a supply of balanced lighting. When you’re working from home, this responsibility falls to you.
Invest in a desk lamp, or position your desk close to a window to make good use of natural lighting and calming views.
Invest in tech equipment
Settling in at home means creating a set-up with everything you need – including second screens, printers, keyboards and a mouse.
These investments can make working from home a more comfortable and efficient experience. After all, staying safe doesn’t have to mean making do, and any home workplace can stay in tip-top condition with a little effort.