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So you may be adapting to the Pandemic with some resignation and newly forced to work from home. Many on the WFH (work from home) frontier may also benefit from this post as well. Here’s 7 tips on making your home office or work space better. Frequently your mood will follow!

There is an alternative

1. Break-down, analyze and reflect on your typical work day pre-pandemic– what functions did you do most often? These actions, and their intensity of use, will govern how you set up your space. For example if you’re on the computer mostly -be aware of your ability to see the screen comfortably, reach a printer effortlessly, conduct a video call with acoustical privacy.

2. Move some of your furniture around accordingly. Try to work from a room with a locking door -privacy both acoustical and visual is still key. If you can, orient your desk facing the door. This provides better Feng Shui, meaning the flow and energy of the space will be more conducive to concentration tasks. https://seconarchitect.com/feng-shui-jive-or-legit/

How temporary?

3. Consider your Lighting. Lighting has a tremendous affect on your ability to stay productive because your comfortable level of vision is the gateway to most comprehension and understanding. Many residential homes have lights that create harsher shadows than the ambient lighting in offices. Try using several desk lights or floor lights with the beam aimed at the ceiling, so that the reflected light that bounces back is softer and creates softer shadows which in turn prevent eye-strain at the computer. Natural light is important for your mood, but needs to be carefully considered in relation to the glare it can create on you monitor- will window blinds, shades or a folding screen help? Pay attention to the time of day when the suns position can create difficulty seeing your screen or desktop work . https://seconarchitect.com/see-the-light-a-lighting-primer/

4. Review your comfort and ergonomics. while it seems self-evident, most chairs and desks at home are not as comfortable for “production” as at work. Splurge or find a chair or chair that makes you want to put in the hours. Make sure you height of desk and chairs are compatible and not creating future carpal tunnel issues. Make sure that you take an occasional break to move around- I do 25 jumping jacks or burpees in between tasks-just because. Some swear that standing desks make a difference. Experiment. https://leadchangegroup.com/how-ergonomics-increase-productivity/

5. Storage is usually different at home and the office. Shelves, cabinets and a hint of Marie Kondo https://konmari.com/marie-kondo-productivity-tips/ is the antidote here. For example, don’t just stuff things in the space available. Think and pause what items need to be in proximity to others, and when (and how frequently) will they be needed. I.e. keep you paper and office supplies in a different cabinet close to where you are working- not mixed your canned goods. Try to keep your work life differentiated from your personal life….This is tough with the constant beep, ding and notifications allowed by technology. Mental health experts agree that physical and spiritual separation helps to distinguish ones attitude toward both parts of ones life.

6. Technology of course is the linchpin for remote work. Upgrade you internet service, since so the demand for speed is hampered by the greater number of users. Most laptop cameras/mic’s are so-so. For about than $80 pickup a simple Logitech c920 pro webcam with stereo audio-you wont be sorry. And naturally, try to get a good multi-function printer/scanner-avoid the cheaply alluring HP products that nail you on the high cost print cartridges. In our 20 years of heavy printer/scanner use, we’ve had the best luck with Brother Products. https://www.brother-usa.com/home/printers Our other basic tech includes remotepc http://www.remotepc.com (allows me to see my office computer), Dropbox (for file sharing with clients) Google sheets https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/0/ (sharing project organization and priority with staff), Zoom http://www.zoom.com meeting (spring for the Pro version so you don’t get cut off at 40 minutes), Google calendar (because it is so easy to integrate with other apps) Gtime https://beta.gbentimereport.com/ (great beta application that migrates staff calendars hours for billing/evaluation purposes). Have some fun- do a virtual Zoom background https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background.

7. Declutter your work area so that you can find things easily. This is simple and a real stress-reducer. Bear in mind, there is going to be a period of adjustment where you are not going to be fully productive. Try to be flexible and remember this is temporary and maybe there will be some benefits to trying this means of working. https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-case-for-finally-cleaning-your-desk

This too will pass. Let’s at least learn some lessons from this situation. Please call Steve to discuss your home-office needs or questions 914 980 5532.

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Article by Steven Secon