The idea of working from home is appealing to many people. But it often comes hand in hand with dreams of a big home office with perfect lighting and gorgeous decor.
For many people, though, this isn’t their reality. For people in smaller homes, the work-from-home lifestyle can be more of a pain than a blessing. Limited square footage can present unique obstacles when creating an efficient and comfortable workspace. Working from home in a compact environment poses unique challenges, necessitating innovative solutions to optimize productivity and foster a conducive work atmosphere. Here are some strategies tailored for those seeking to enhance their work-from-home experience when working from cozy quarters.
Create a Designated Workspace
Working from home can be challenging for people living in a smaller space. You don’t have the same separation between your living and working spaces as people who visit an office daily. It’s essential for our mental health, as well as our productivity levels, to be able to signal to ourselves that we’re at work.
If you live in a smaller home, try creating a designated workspace. Choose a corner, a nook, or an area to set up your desk and work essentials. Promise yourself you will only work there and hold yourself accountable. This designated spot will mentally signal the start and end of your workday, promoting a sense of structure and separation from personal space. This simple trick helps mimic the effect of having an office and does wonders for your well-being.
Establish Boundaries and Routines
Working from home in a smaller space can blur the lines between work and personal life. Establish clear boundaries by setting specific work hours and sticking to them. Communicate your schedule with household members to minimize disruptions during designated work times. Creating routines can help mentally separate work and leisure, fostering a healthier work-life balance.
If you share your living space with others, be it roommates or your spouse and kids, setting boundaries with them regarding your needs is essential. From others playing loud music to them initiating personal conversation, it can be challenging to navigate working from home when you share a small space. In this situation, ask yourself what boundaries you need to produce your best work. Are there specific hours where you need to be left alone? Decide what would be most helpful to you, and then have a chat with the rest of your household about your needs.
Just as it can be difficult to set boundaries around where you’ll work, it can also be challenging to set boundaries around the amount of time you’ll work. It’s all too easy to start answering emails during dinner or finishing up that report as you watch TV, but this can lead to burnout. For people with smaller homes, this is especially true. If that’s you, try setting boundaries around how you’ll spend your time. Even if you don’t follow a typical 9-5 schedule, try setting yourself a schedule and sticking to it. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should always be working.
Design Your Space Effectively
Make the most of natural light to make your space feel more open and inviting. Position your workspace near windows to maximize daylight, boosting your overall mood. If there is limited natural light near your workstation, good quality lighting sources can recreate the same effect and improve the work environment.
Maintaining a clutter-free workspace is essential for productivity. Clutter can quickly become overwhelming in a smaller workspace, so embrace minimalism by organizing and decluttering regularly. Keep only essential items on your desk. Use organizers, cable management solutions, and storage containers to maintain a tidy and efficient workspace. Storage solutions like under-desk cabinets, floating shelves, or stackable organizers to keep work essentials neatly stored and easily accessible. A tidy workspace can significantly improve focus and efficiency.
Maximize storage in small spaces by utilizing vertical wall space and underutilized areas. Install shelves, pegboards, or wall-mounted organizers to store items like stationery, documents, or office supplies. Choose multi-functional furniture with built-in storage to minimize visual clutter and maximize available space. Vertical storage solutions save floor space and keep your work items organized and easily accessible.
Multifunctional furniture, such as fold-away desks, storage ottomans for both seating and file storage, or a Murphy bed that converts into a desk during the day, among others, can optimize your space without sacrificing functionality. Consider space-saving options such as wall-mounted desks, foldable tables, or compact workstations that can be tucked away when unused.
Personalize and customize your space to transform your workspace into an inspiring area. Utilize décor elements such as plants, artwork, or motivational quotes to infuse positivity and creativity into the environment. Adding personal touches can make a small space feel more inviting and enjoyable to work in.
Remain Adaptable and Flexible
Flexibility is key when working in a compact home environment. Stay open to adjusting and refining your workspace setup to suit changing work needs and preferences. Experiment with different arrangements or furniture configurations to find what works best for your productivity and comfort. Be open to adapting and evolving your workspace setup.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Out of the House
Working from home can create a feeling of social isolation. If you are struggling, try working from somewhere else occasionally! Find a nearby coffee shop or look for coworking spaces in your town or city.
Even if you prefer to work from home, or if there is a legitimate reason why all your work must be done there, getting out of the house throughout the day can help maintain a healthy work/life balance. Try walking during your lunch break or stepping outside to stretch every few hours. Changing your scenery can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep yourself focused and productive all day.
We understand the challenges of working from a smaller home. It demands creativity and resourcefulness to optimize productivity and comfort. But you can make working from home a blessing. Thoughtful planning and creativity make it possible to create a functional and productive workspace. By optimizing your space, staying organized, and establishing boundaries, you can effectively navigate the demands of remote work while making the most of your cozy home environment. Strategically selecting furniture, maintaining organization, leveraging technology efficiently, and personalizing your space, you can create an inspiring and functional home office environment conducive to productivity and success in remote work endeavours.