Work Sweet Work: How To Optimize Your Work-From-Home Space
The modern workspace is evolving. Workers are fleeing fluorescent overhead lighting, open floor plans and bumbling water cooler conversations for the comfort of at-home pajama pants and the sweet, sweet nothings of their own lo-fi Spotify playlist.
And who needs coworkers when you have fluffy assistants to keep you company?
While no one will judge your questionable fashion choices or bewitch you with the latest office gossip, working from home still comes with its challenges. Namely, staying on task and steering clear of Netflix’s hypnotic siren call: ta-dum.
Fortunately, we’re saving you from the watery depths of idleness. We’ve summoned Coal Creative’s own team of remote employees to light your path as you navigate the ebb and flow of working from home.
Tip 1: Create a productive (and comfortable) workspace
Working from your couch in sweatpants, surrounded by a sea of half-eaten snacks and piles of laundry may suit a scrappy rom-com protagonist, but a cluttered workplace can significantly impact your productivity and increase your stress levels .
“I find that straightening my space up, like throwing away all my crumpled up Post-it notes and putting my mugs in the dishwasher after work helps me start the next day feeling less scattered,” said Samantha Bucher, Coal Creative’s Content Director.
In addition to separating your paper from your plastics, you’ll also want to designate a workplace that’s isolated from spaces where you’d normally wind down or eat .
“Sometimes it can be easy to get too comfortable in your workspace because you’re at home and that can distract you from working,” chimed in Video Production Coordinator Jay Nguyen.
“If you can,” she continued, “try to create a work space that is separate from your personal space. Some ways that have helped me in staying focused in my small working space is placing my desk in front of a window. The light helps me stay awake.”
And steer clear from your bed or couch. While it’s certainly tempting to snuggle up in a warm comforter and WFB (work from bed), distorting your body into awkward angles can deteriorate your posture and cause neck and back pain .
That’s where ergonomic furniture comes in—a personal at-home favorite of Jeremy Brown, Coal Creative’s Operations Director and designated Ergonomics Expert. He offered a few tips:
- Incorporate a good chair that can keep you comfortably seated for at least three hours at a time. While this may cost more, it’s worth it.
- Find a keyboard and mouse that keeps you comfortable and pain free. And don’t be afraid to test out a few models until you find the right fit.
- Invest in a sit-to-stand desk that can change heights, preferably with the push of a button.
Tip 2: Prioritize regular breaks and movement
Alright, so becoming a sedentary sloth when working from home is easier than we’d like to admit. To avoid looking like a beady-eyed jungle creature, climb down from your productivi-tree when you start to feel your energy lag.
Even our Web Developer and Technology Specialist Travis Antoniello peels his eyes away from the screens from time to time: “Personally, I feel a bit more refreshed, and more ready to tackle work upon returning.”
Others on our team embrace the sluggish sloth mentality. While his spine certainly doesn’t have the same curvature, Jeremy does adopt the tree-dwellers sleepy disposition—in the name of productivity, of course: “Taking a 15-minute power nap in the middle of the day helps me a lot, which is harder to get in an office setting.”
Work-life balance is important, even when working from home. And Jay knows this: “Whenever I run into a mental roadblock and am unable to check into my “work” headspace, I set aside at least five minutes to check out of my head. Sometimes I use that time to meditate, go outside with my dog if it’s nice out or read a page or two out of a book. The goal is to come back feeling refreshed and ready to work.”
Tip 3: Stay on task
Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on your proclivity to hot goss), your work-from-home space is likely lacking in tea spillage (unless we’re talking literal tea, in which case, we’re blaming the cat).
While this can certainly cut down on distractions, remote working isn’t completely free from interruptions that can disrupt your workflow and make it difficult to stay focused. With no management watching over you, you’ll have to take your productivity into your own hands.
“Practice self-awareness around what triggers you to become distracted,” said Jeremy. “Today’s phones have a lot of focus features built-in that allow hiding apps temporarily—check those out. Also—track your time! I recommend Timemator for Mac or Toggl on the web, because they both have auto-tracking options that will show you exactly what windows you were working in at any given time.”
You can also implement:
- Noise-canceling headphones to dampen barking dogs or noisy neighbors
- Pen-and-paper to-do lists to keep yourself on track
- A sun lamp to vaporize grogginess and improve alertness
Experience all that work-from-home expertise has to offer with Coal Creative
Remote work isn’t synonymous with unproductivity or slacking off (unless we’re talking WFH powerhouse Slack, in which case, you’d be entirely correct).
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. And our team proves it.
We specialize in full-service digital marketing—and we implement the correct tools and strategies to create top-quality work, whether we’re working in-office or at-home.
That’s the Coal Creative way.
- L. Sander. “The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk.” Harvard Business Review. March 25, 2019. [Online], Available: https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-case-for-finally-cleaning-your-desk. [Accessed March 20, 2023].
- J. Feldmann. “The Importance Of Separating Work And Personal Life In A Remote Environment.” Forbes. January 18, 2022. [Online], Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2022/01/18/the-importance-of-separating-work-and-personal-life-in-a-remote-environment/. [Accessed March 20, 2023].
- J. Birch, “Why Ergonomics is Important Even at Home,” Worksite International. September 8, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.worksiteinternational.com/blog/ergonomics-at-home. [Accessed March 20, 2023].