It may be awhile before many of us get back to the office. With the holiday season, flu season and COVID-19 spikes all happening this winter, many workers are still working from home or were just asked to start working from home. Though we’re still out in the field doing real estate business as needed, a good majority of our work is done from our home office. It’s like our mobile command center nowadays!
Even with vaccines potentially on the horizon soon, it may still be some time before a lot of people get back to the office. Many companies will forever change the way they operate with more employees working from home in the future. The technology is only evolving and this experience is showing many businesses how productive remote workers can be from home. It saves money on office space, equipment and utilities with a limited in-office staff or rotating schedules. We think it will be very interesting to see what happens at some offices when this virus is behind us.
This time of year, however, the work tends to slow down a bit anyway and it can be hard to stay motivated. In addition, so many people were suddenly forced to work from home and didn’t really have a proper home office space set up. They’ve been winging it that makes remote working less productive or rewarding.
Now that you might have a little more downtime during the holidays, you may want to consider improving your home office space. Whether you expect to be working from home for a long time or only a few more months, it will feel good to have a better working space free of clutter and distractions. Most importantly, you can stay comfortable and motivated by a pleasant at-home work environment. You are likely going to spend a lot more time indoors during the winter, so make your work space as inviting as possible.
Here are a few home office improvement tips to consider:
1. Designate a Proper Space
You might have an entire room that you can use as your home office. Maybe it’s one of the kids’ old rooms, a den, the garage or a utility room that isn’t being utilized right now. Even if it’s just the corner of another room where you have space for a table or desk, you want to designate your home office area and use it just for that. If your home office feels too much like your normal living space, it’s hard to separate home from work and stay focused.
2. Think About Your Day
What tasks do you need to complete each day? How does your overall work week flow with different projects and duties? Do you need a webcam for Zoom meetings or a land line for certain phone calls? Think about your work days and weeks to design a home office space that allows you to be efficient and productive.
3. Make it Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable
You want your work space to be comfortable with an ergonomic chair (try a yoga ball or a standing desk if you have back problems), desk, keyboard and other supplies. If it’s painful and uncomfortable to sit there all day, then it’s hard to be productive. At the same time, you don’t want your home work space to be too comfortable or “homey.” This goes back to tip #1 about having a designated home office area. If it’s too comfortable, then it’s easy to get lazy or distracted by home life.
4. Make it Your Own
Designing your own home office should be fun and exciting. Allow it to reflect your own personal style with colors, furniture and finishes that suit your eye. Find a spot with good natural light. One of the things we all hate about working in offices is sitting under harsh fluorescent lights all day. Make your home space a much nicer place to be so you enjoy your time working.
5. Declutter and Keep it Clean
Speaking of distractions, a messy work space will usually hamper your productivity. As you focus on having a dedicated, comfortable and personalized space to work from home, declutter it and stay organized. Just because you might be working in your pajamas or sweat pants, don’t let your home office look sloppy. A clean, professional office space really does make a major difference.
6. Sanitization and Air Quality
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep the surfaces you touch every day clean. This is especially true if more than one person uses your home office or computer/laptop/tablet throughout the day. Keep the surfaces clean and sanitized. Also think about air quality. Install a HEPA filter, dust and vacuum frequently, open windows when it’s not too cold outside and clean with non-toxic chemicals so that you have a healthy and happy home work space.
7. Don’t Procrastinate
Any time you find yourself with significant downtime, you should be looking for ways to improve your home office and make it the perfect remote work space. This winter will probably be an excellent time to do it, but it may be a never-ending goal to keep making your home office better and better as you get used to working from home.
8. Consider a Move
As Realtors®, we might be a little biased on this one. However, it may be time to consider a move if you expect remote working to be a long-term situation. You may want to find a home that has a better home office space that you can set up exactly the way you want it from the start. There may be features in your current home that buyers are looking for, but aren’t as important to you anymore. The market is hot, so you can get a good sales price for your property and a low-interest mortgage on your new house that is better suited to your new remote lifestyle. You can even consider moving to a new area if you know you’ll be able to work from home from now on.
These are just a few home office improvement tips to consider. If you are thinking about moving, contact The Cyr Team today for a no-obligation real estate consultation. Whether you are buying, selling or both, we’re here to help you make the right decisions for your future.