Working from home – seems like the dream, doesn’t it? First, you can set about creating a perfect workspace at home. Second, there is no commute in Dubai traffic or ride to work on a crowded bus or metro. Third, no workmates with annoying habits. Fourth, no boss watching to see when you arrive, take lunch and go home. Bliss… Or is it? Well, it can be pretty great. You get to listen to your own music or radio choices, watch TV over lunch, snack from your fridge on your own food when you want. However, it can also be lonely. You find yourself talking to the pot plants, to the radio, and, it takes a lot of self discipline to ignore things like household tasks – the laundry that’s piling up, the cupboards that need clearing out – when you are meant to be working.
There are two key rules that will lead to your home working success. Number one: It is still work, and you need to treat it like work, to help you make the adjustment from home state of mind, over to work state of mind, or you will never get anything done. Yes, it is fair enough not to don a formal suit or business attire, but in order to feel like you are ready to get down to work, you need to leave your bed, get showered and get dressed. Plenty of people who have never worked from home assume that it involves a lot of not working and sitting around in bed watching Netflix in your pyjamas. No. Unless you have your own company, you will still have an employer to answer to, and if you don’t produce good work, you will find yourself out of a job just as fast as an office-based worker would. Rule number two, creating a home workspace or a home office. Yes, it may sound boring, and like a waste of space if you live in a small flat, but creating a space that is exclusively for work is the best way to ensure fewer distractions impinge on the time when you need to be productive.
so, how do I go about creating a perfect workspace at home?
1. make desk space
It sounds obvious, but the first thing you need when creating a perfect workspace at home is a desk, preferably one that is exclusively used for you to work at. If you can have a room you can turn into a small office exclusively used for work, even better. If this isn’t possible, a desk space is the next best thing. If you are really pushed for space, try to have a table space with some kind of storage next to it where you can stow your work computer and any notes, files, stationery and other paraphernalia related to your daily tasks, so you can keep them all safe in one place.
If you are using a corner of your living room or bedroom as your work area when creating a perfect workspace at home, try to make sure it is a light, airy part of the room, but, not one where you are sitting in direct sunlight as you will get increasingly irritable from the glare as the day goes on. You also need to not have piles of dirty dishes or laundry in your line of vision that will distract you from the tasks in hand. It makes sense to be close to a window with a nice view if you have one, but not directly in front of it. That way, you have something to look at when you need to take time to think, but, you won’t be constantly distracted by it being in your sight line. Another thing to remember, in these technology-obsessed days, is where you can work will depend on your power points. It is wise to avoid running extension cables across the room or overloading sockets.
This is why having some kind of desk is so useful. Creating a workspace at home makes the transition from home to work a lot easier, and part of that is having space to stow all your stuff when it is time to wrap up work for the day. If you have not got room for a desk with storage, there are fun storage options available out there. It might seem cliched, but places like IKEA specialise in making the most of small spaces when it comes to storage, and they are bound to have an inventive way to store your kit. If you want more formal office-style solutions, everyone’s favourite Chinese mega retailer Dragon Mart is bound to have something to suit. Either way, you needn’t break the budget in order to make a pleasant place to work.
It is also a good idea, when you have a workplace at home, to invest in a decent office chair, as sitting for long hours on a kitchen chair or lounging on the sofa while you work is unlikely to do your back or posture any favours.
5. keep it neat and ditch the clutter
This tip goes hand in hand with tip number three. Pack your papers away, stow your devices, and recycle any documents or other work that you do not need any more. Stacks of paper not only gather dust, they are a potential fire hazard, so it makes sense to get rid of what you do not need any more as you go. Regarding that ever present issue of technology, keep cables or wires tidy, gather them altogether. One of the downsides of working from home is that there is no friendly office cleaner to pick up after you, get rid of your coffee cups and spills, or sweep up snack crumbs and get the dust off your keyboard, so put aside a little time – 10 minutes per day should be more than sufficient – to get rid of any mess and wipe up any spills when you shut down for the day.
6. a little green goes a long way
A pot plant can be well worth the effort of watering it to have a small patch of green in your home office space. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, and increasing oxygen levels can help stimulate your brain. Having something fresh and green to look at is a good way of brightening up your work space too.
7. know when to stop
One of the reasons creating a perfect workspace at home is so important – you need a space for your work that you can walk away from and wind down when you have finished for the day. As well as starting on time in the morning, it is important to set yourself a time when you aim to stop working each day. Whether that is when the kids get home from school, or, in time to wind down listening to a favourite radio show is up to you, as long as you draw a line under the day at some point. Otherwise, you are in danger of burning yourself out. It is a good idea to log off and shut down after the working day ends, so you won’t be tempted to keep replying to messages until late at night or keep returning to that task that you have been having trouble with during the day. You will work better if you have rested properly and given your brain a break in between stints.
We hope you found these tips on creating a perfect home workspace useful. If you are working at home but want a bit of variation from looking at the same four walls, check out our blog on creative co-working spaces in Dubai. Stay tuned to the UAE’s best property blog for more home improvement ideas and tips and tricks!