Productivity is the ever-elusive unicorn that most workers and employers spend a portion of their days chasing. What professional doesn’t want better focus, more energy and a higher output of quality work?
This quest for the best, most productive employees and work environment isn’t just confined to the office anymore. With remote and hybrid work now commonplace, more employees are finding their home office requires an upgrade to keep up with their work needs.
The good news is that customizing your home office environment is often much easier than making changes in the office. Better still, it doesn’t require your boss’ approval! Tired of fighting over the office thermostat? Your home office can be the best temperature for your productivity — no office cardigan is required. Should you need a soundproofed work environment, working from home makes that change possible.
If you’re looking to make the most of the hours you work, read on. Here are just a few ways that changing up your home office environment can also boost your productivity.
1. Customize Your Home Office Temperature
The office thermostat tug-of-war doesn’t have to apply to your home office environment. Setting your thermostat to the optimal temperature for you is one major perk that comes with working from home.
Plus, with improvements like a ductless mini split, you can even vary the temperature from room to room throughout your house. That way, you can always keep your home office at the best temperature for productivity, which studies show is 70-73 degrees. Meanwhile, the bathroom can remain at a shower-conducive 76 and your home gym at an invigorating 68.
2. Prioritize and Maximize Natural Light
Exposure to natural light is one of the simplest ways to change your mood and your performance at work. Natural light — or at least lighting that mimics it — offers a slew of health benefits that improve your ability to focus and perform.
For starters, natural or sun-simulating light helps reduce fatigue and eye strain that come from working in front of a screen all day. Studies have also shown that exposure to natural light improves mood, energy, and alertness and even reduces depression symptoms.
Furthermore, consistent access to daylight helps to regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which in turn improves your sleep quality. You’ll be much more productive if you’re not battling grogginess after a poor night’s slumber.
3. Minimize Noise Pollution and Tune Out Unwanted Distractions
One of the biggest perks of working from home is the level of control that you have over your working environment. Do you do your best work in silence with only the hum of a sound machine to keep you company? Or do you get the most done rocking out to your favorite playlist? Either option can be accommodated in your home office.
But if you’re finding that noises from your home or neighborhood are distracting, there are tactics you can use to maximize your WFH productivity. Noise-canceling headphones will screen out everything from your neighbor’s lawn mower to your kids running down the hall.
There are also some simple ways to soundproof your office itself. You can add an acoustic board or wall tiles to absorb sound or install a solid core door to block out noises. Even placing sound machines on both sides of your office door can go a long way toward reducing pesky distractions.
4. Create a Dedicated Office Space
One of the most effective ways to enhance your WFH productivity is to actually have a home office. Though it’s tempting to work from the comfort of your bed, creating a space solely designed for work is incredibly beneficial.
A separate office creates a physical and mental barrier that lets your brain know when your workday is beginning and ending. You can even use additional cues to let your brain know it’s time for work. Raise the window blinds, for example, or press play on the same playlist each day.
Maybe space is an issue, and devoting an entire room to your office isn’t feasible. In that case, zone off a portion of a room — or even half the kitchen table — to be used only for work purposes. But if at all possible, use a separate room for your home office, as that allows you to better control temperature, light, and noise.
5. Sit or Stand Your Way to Success
Standing desks have been a game-changer when it comes to improving productivity and overall well-being while you’re at work. Even if you’re not ready to commit to a standing desk, you can still benefit from taking standing and walking breaks throughout your workday.
Standing desks have been shown to improve focus, energy, and productivity. But you shouldn’t go from sitting all day to standing all day right away — or ever. Your body can experience fatigue in any prolonged position, so standing for eight hours isn’t the best option either.
Changing positions — from sitting to standing, or standing to walking — is really what jumpstarts productivity the most. This change in position gives you an energy boost that can be similar to the effects of exercise. That shouldn’t be surprising, given that changing your position also changes blood flow throughout your body.
Working from home doesn’t have to be filled with distractions, uncomfortable temperatures, or bad lighting. Your home office should amplify your work quality and overall productivity. Fortunately, it’s within your power to make changes that enable you to be the best employee you can be.