Whether you've been working from home for ages or your world just got flipped and you're doing conference calls from the kitchen now, we're all learning how important a proper Work From Home setup can be.
Matt Finn, founder of Cognitive Design and expert on all things "Workspace" joined the show to help us learn how to cultivate the best Working-From-Home space.
- Reduce distractions so you can avoid the inefficiencies of being interrupted.
- Design a place where you can efficiently do great work in your home.
- Your home office doesn’t need to look like an office inside your home. The most important feature of a dedicated room is the door, which signals a separation from home. If a room with a door isn’t available, this signaling can effectively be achieved in other ways. I live in a two-bedroom condo with wife and daughters (5 years old and 2 months old). While working from home, I use the kitchen table as a desk and a blanket as the door to “daddy’s office”. The blanket is a psychological boundary for older daughter - it reminds her that daddy is “at work” and avoids his daughter feeling like a she’s not welcome. Being able to avoid interruptions makes the time he spends more efficient and allows him to spend quality time with his whole family when he’s done for the day.
- Use earbuds (with foam or rubber tips) to play white noise while you work. Our ears adjust to noise levels in a similar way to how our eyes adjust to light levels. A tight seal will block unwanted sounds (functioning as earplugs) while the white noise will mask others, like people talking. This is a much more effective strategy than using more advanced technologies that sounds like they would work well (pun intended) such as noise cancelling headphones. We also recommend using wired or wireless earbuds without Bluetooth, whenever possible, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EFMs. Warning: this will require you to be really honest with yourself. Depending on the situation, silence, white noise, or music may be best you’re your productivity. Choose an acoustic environment that helps you focus, which may not be the same as what you prefer in other situations, like your free time.
- Live a healthy lifestyle, it can benefit your health, work performance, and creativity. Make it a priority to spend time outside. Studies have even shown that improvements in health, performance, creativity and health can be gained by introducing daylight and greenery into workplace
- For many people there is a lot of overlap between personal and professional social groups. Precautions and outcomes of coronavirus have temporarily or permanently changed many people’s social groups. While your social environment may change, your social needs remain the same. As people are separated from their coworkers, people working from home still need interaction with others, this is typically the family, who now may be standing in for co-workers in this capacity. In addition to talking with the people in your household (and especially for people who live alone), make it a priority to keep in close contact with your friends and extended family. Schedule a virtual lunch, or go on a virtual date, or get together for a 6-foot-apart walk through your neighborhood.
- Try use all the spaces in your home to create variety and unique experiences. Turn the sofa into a fort for movie night, make messy art in the bathtub, eat dinner in the living room, exercise outside together.
- Do this while maintaining a healthy work/life boundary. One risk of working from home is that you can always be working. For example, bringing your laptop to bed can be disruptive to both your circadian rhythm and relationship with your significant other.