If you had asked us 8 months ago if we thought we'd be writing a blog post about working from home, we probably would have laughed. In our line of work, most days are very hands on. Whether we are conducting consultations in clients homes, sourcing for our projects at vender showrooms or meeting with trades on site, often times our job takes us away from our desks.
For many, work is simply at a desk. With all the changes the world has faced in 2020, WFH (working from home) has become the new norm, and there's no telling if the commercial real estate market will be making a come back in the near future.
At NFG Designs, we truly belive that having a dedicated work space at home is key for both your productivity and sanity during these times. Let's be honest, the distractions at home are oh so real. For this weeks blog, we have complied a few tips to create an awesome WFH environment, and how to maximize your productivity throughout the week.
Find the perfect chair.
Making sure you have a chair that suits your bodies needs is essential for an ideal workspace. Having your feet be able to rest firmly on the ground, or even introducing a small foot rest can help you ergonomically and keep you more comfortable for longer. Also, incorporating a lumbar pillow with your desk chair gives support to the lower back, alleviating any pain you may have from long hours of sitting. It may seem obvious, but you should love the chair you're sitting on. If you don't, you'll never sit at your desk.
Another tip for better ergonomics is to keep your computer screen at eye level or a bit below eye level. While scanning the screen, your eye lids naturally close a bit. This moisturizes your eyes which helps avoid eye fatigue and dryness.
Aim to maximize natural light.
Without even realizing it, most people tend to put their desks right up against the wall. This creates a very dark and uninspiring corner, similar to a cubicle. Our tip would be to move your desk close to the window, but consider positioning it so that you are facing the window or on a perpendicular angle. This allows you to reap all the benefits of natural light, such as improved mood, reduced eye strain, less drowsiness and better sleeps due to the regulation of the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Count us in!
If you are unable to do so based on what is available to you, try to get outside a couple times throughout your work day to stretch your legs, breathe some fresh air and connect to nature. We promise you will notice the grounding benefits of this practice.
You'll need lamps, too!
Although we encourage you to use the most natural light as possible, we absolutely suggest using layered lighting for task work and darker hours or days. Majority of standard overhead lighting is inadequate for working long hours, so try some table lamps or floor lamps to bring more diffused light into your space. Not only do they provide a beautiful glow, but it adds tons of opportunity to incorporate interesting design elements and character to your WFH environment.
Switch up your storage.
The biggest issue that most people face with home offices is paper everywhere. Some people need to be able to see things such as to-do lists or important documents to remember that they actually exist (guilty!). For this, we would recommend adding wall storage to your space. Try magazine racks or library style display shelves to keep things in plain sight, but still uniform and organized. You can also try a cork board (check out our custom cork board below!).
Other options we could suggest would be either utilizing any closet space you have, bookcases or filing cabinets. If you are lucky enough to have a closet in your home office, or built in cabinetry, this allows you to tuck away the mess and keep your space decluttered with shelving and organizational solutions. Bookcases are great for binders, bins or standing magazine holders and filing cabinets are a tried and true method, however, not the most beautiful. Luckily, both of these options can be jazzed up with some of your own decor and memorabilia.
Add your own personal touch.
At NFG Designs, we always say "without accessories and finishing touches, your home is only half done." Bringing the space together through styling and accents is always the last step, but one of the most important. This gives you the chance to add your own personalized mark on a space and makes it special.
For at-home offices, we would suggest adding some greenery into the mix. Plants make people happier and calmer, it's science. Also incorporating personal photos of family, friends or accomplishments in an array of frames is a great way to fill up wall or shelf space. Finish off by including memorabilia from your travels and life events to give you a boost of happiness throughout your day.
Our tips to stay productive...
1. Start the day off right, whatever that looks or feels like for you. Get a good breakfast in, spend some time alone, mediate, workout, read a book, pray or just relax and let your mind wander. Do what you gotta do to make sure that you don't have that lousy “I hate working” frame of mind, even if it means waking up a bit earlier. For us girls at NFG Designs, morning rituals consists of coffee and daily affirmations.
2. Always keep a notepad and pen near by. We love jotting down ideas all day long. This could either be for a current job we are working on, our next blog post, new products that we want to incorporate in our projects, or really anything that springs to mind. Stick your notes on a cork board or white board and try to look at them twice a week. This can refresh your mind of things that could be done. We believe some of the best work we do comes from random bits of inspiration.
3. Water, water, water! We all know water is mega important for proper brain function. After all, about 75% of our brains are made of up water. Don't skimp out on getting your H2O throughout the work day, even though it may be more natural to grab for coffee or tea. Not hydrating properly can reduce concentration and induce headaches and tiredness. Try and aim to drink ten glasses a day.
4. Be mindful of what you are listening to while you work. Whether its music, television or the news, anything and everything can influence our moods. Make sure that you surround yourself with and consume only the things that will give you the best frame of mind for whatever you’re about to do. Put on a motivational podcast, shuffle some of your favourite upbeat tracks or perhaps some classical music to set a calmer environment.
5. Give yourself breaks. Don’t be locked in your office all day long. For every hour you work, try to have a 15 minute break. Give your mind time to digest what it has just accomplished, then come back refreshed to knock off the next thing on your list. Breaks are crucial for improving the quality of your work and your overall well being.
6. Set boundaries for those around you. Schedule your work time and make sure that either your kids, spouse or housemates know that you are unavailable for playing, chores, visiting or whatever it may be during this time. The more you are able to focus during the work day, the better you will feel at the end of it. After work, make sure to spend quality time and give the ones you love the attention that they need. We can guarantee this will fuel you for tomorrow.