If there’s one thing we can thank the pandemic for, it’s increased work-from-home flexibility. Remote jobs are becoming more common in Winnipeg and beyond, and not just out of necessity. Many employees have the freedom to choose where they work from, whether that’s from the comfort of their home or anywhere in the world.
If you’re choosing to work at home, it’s important to keep your home and work spaces separate, no matter how small your space is. A dedicated space helps with productivity – while working from your bed or couch is tempting, it’s not good for your mind or body.
A separate space, with good internet connectivity, is ideal. Here are some other tips for optimizing your temporary or permanent WFH space.
Add Natural Light
Sunlight is essential for productivity and creative thinking. Picture yourself and your creative brain as a plant – you need sun to survive and thrive. Especially during long Winnipeg winters, when sunlight and fresh air can be hard to come by. This is when you need your vitamin D more than ever.
Take short, frequent breaks during the day to get some fresh air and recharge your creativity.
Find Storage Space
While “clean” and “organized” can be relative terms, especially in a pandemic, it’s generally easier to get things done when your space is free of clutter. Keep your space clean using storage like bins, baskets, or shelves.
If you’re a bookworm, this is your sign to create the bookshelf of your dreams: arrange your books by colour, size, author, or whatever you like. Add plants, frames, knick-knacks, or heirlooms. Look for texture and colour to make your shelves interesting and reflective of your personality.
If you’re working at your kitchen table or another multi-use space, save space on your shelf (or in a designated drawer or basket) to put your work or school materials away when you don’t need them.
Comfort is Key
Just because you’re not working from your bed or couch, doesn’t mean it has to feel like it. Look for a chair that has ergonomic support and encourages proper posture. If you’re using a kitchen table chair or bench, consider purchasing a cushion to make it more comfortable. Having options for standing and sitting, like a convertible desk, gives your body the opportunity to move and shift throughout the day.
Your body isn’t the only thing that needs a break. Remember the 20-20-20 rule to keep your eyes feeling fresh: after every 20 minutes of screen time, look at an object 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
There are also other accessories to help make your workspace more comfortable. A computer stand can keep your posture from collapsing and save your neck muscles. A matte screen filter can reduce glare from your computer. You can ask your employer if they can provide any of these accessories or help offset their cost.
Create a Clean Background
Virtual meetings now are synonymous with most workplaces and schools, so it’s best to prepare yourself to come across as professional and adaptable. It’s good practice to have your camera on when others do. This is where the laptop stand comes in handy to catch you at your best angles.
People may spend just as much time looking at your background as they do looking at you – even more so if your background is distracting. A bookshelf, art, or a clean wall are all good backgrounds to keep the focus on the meeting. Make sure there isn’t anything that looks like it’s sticking out of your head (plants are especially bad for this) and definitely avoid any movement behind you (your pet is cute, but can be distracting.)
Whether your home will be your short- or long-term office, you want it to contribute to good work, rather than hinder it. The most important thing to remember is to make your space into whatever makes you feel most comfortable and productive. If you build good habits and a positive environment, you’ll be off to a great start.
If you’re looking for a new Winnipeg rental that can accommodate office or study space, take a look at our Rentals page.