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Top Tips to Creating a Home Office

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

Working from home has become the new normal for a third of the world’s population. South Africans are no exception in this reality. Besides our heroic essential workers, most of the population has had to quickly create a home workspace in order to keep working. 

Since the lockdown will be lifted in phases, many employees won’t be able to return to work after the 30th of April. The South African government encourages industries to adapt to a work from home strategy and recommends that all staff who can work remotely should be allowed to do so. Moreover, some employees would prefer to keep working from home even after the lockdown period has passed. 

At The Mattress Warehouse, we’ve also had to learn how to adapt to this new normal. Therefore, we thought it’d be great to provide you with a couple of tips on how you can work effectively from home, whilst still maintaining a good balance between personal and professional life. 

1) Pick your spot

By now, you’ve probably chosen a place in your home where you commit to your daily work activities. However, is this the best place for you to work from? For instance, working from your bed is not a good idea. Moving your “workplace” around every other day – also not a good idea. 

Your workplace should, preferably, satisfy the following:

  • Quiet (behind closed doors)
  • Well lit
  • Neat and clean
  • Enough fresh air (close to an open window)
  • Not the bedroom
  • Not in the entertainment room

The study

Usually, the room that satisfies all the above is the study of the house. Here, you can close the door when it’s time to work. However, a lot of people don’t have a room like this in their house. If this is your case, you’ll have to improvise. 

A room behind closed doors

If you don’t have a study, look for the first room in the house where you can close a door. Closing a door will allow you to work in a quiet environment without distractions. If this room is a popular room in the house (like an entertainment room, dining area or family room) make sure you set some ground rules (more on this later). 

Avoid the bedroom

If you can help it, don’t set up station in your bedroom. If you do this, it’ll be way too easy to get in bed for a nap or relax on your bed scrolling through Social Media for hours on end (trust us, we know!). Moreover, changing your bedroom into a home office can destroy the restful atmosphere you’ve created in your bedroom.

How do I split a room in two?

If you can’t find a room in the house where you can’t close a door or modify the area to work for your office, you can split a room, that meets some of the requirements mentioned above, in two. Here are a few ways how you can split a room in two:

  • Use a room divider (if you have one)
  • Hang a sheet or curtain between two walls
  • Move a bookcase to form a “wall”
  • Split the room in half with other furniture (chairs, couch, table)

2) Make it personal

Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot for your office, it’s time to arrange the space to perfectly fit your workplace needs. This will allow you to reach optimal productivity whilst working from home. 

Clean the area or room

As a first step, completely clean the room or space you’re going to work with. If you’ve been working in this spot for the last couple of weeks, chances are it has gotten quite a bit messy. 

  1. Remove all clutter and get rid of anything that might distract you during the workday. A clean and decluttered area allows you to think clearly throughout the workday. 
  2. Completely wipe down all surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner. 
  3. If you have wooden surfaces, remember to treat these furniture pieces with teak oil afterwards. 

Decorating with what you have

Working from home doesn’t mean you have to sit in a boring space, equipped with only the bare minimum items. Have a look at decor items you have lying around at home to add a touch of personality to your new office. Remember, this isn’t a permanent situation, but temporarily relocating some decor items to the area you’ll be spending most of your time in will do wonders for your mood.

Here are a few items you might already have at home:

  • Picture frames
  • Small potted plants
  • A beautiful vase
  • Coasters (for all the cups of coffee and tea)
  • Candles
  • Wall art
  • Comfy throw pillow (to support your lower back)
  • Blanket or throw (to keep your legs and feet warm)
  • Table lamp

Making your home office a happy place where you want to be in makes your workday so much more productive and fulfilling. Just remember not to over-decorate. You still want enough space to move around when you’re working; which brings us to our next point. 

Keep your home office neat and tidy

Whilst working from home, make sure you follow a regular cleaning routine. Like we’ve mentioned before, having a clean area to work from allows for a clean headspace and heightened productivity. 

3) Set some rules

Like any workplace, your home office also needs some rules to allow you to remain productive and professional. Here are some suggestions:

Noise levels

Have a talk with your children/housemates to set some ground rules in regards to noise levels close to your workspace. Constant noise will not only be distracting to you while you work, but it’s also distracting to others when you’re partaking in a conference call. 

No entertainment in the home office

A mentioned previously, you want to keep the work atmosphere at strong as possible in your home office. Watching movies in your workspace when relaxing after a long day may be counterproductive in this matter. Therefore, try to keep the movies and other entertainment contained in other rooms, like your bedroom or the family room.

Best of luck!

Suddenly remote work is a blessing to some, but an unknown situation for many. If you’re really struggling to keep this up, remember that this is only a temporary situation that’ll resolve with time. Make the most of your time at home by creating a wonderful workspace  that promotes productivity and outstanding work ethic. 

Find interior design and home décor ideas with The Mattress Warehouse’s blog about Bedroom Basics. We’ve got all the tips you need to create beautiful and functional rooms. 

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