I’m naturally an extroverted person and therefore invigorated and inspired by being around other people. I liked nothing more than heading into my company head office, walking down the hallways and stopping to chat with our staff members. Yes. I’m THAT annoying person who bounds in the morning with a sunny disposition, goofy grin and a peal of ever-ready laughter on my lips.
As like most Australians, I’ve had to adjust to the new landscape of working from home. The concept of working most of my productive hours by myself from my house left me with some trepidation I have to admit. How would I cope? What would happen to my productivity? Could I still enjoy working when I’m not around people? How would I stop myself getting distracted by the ever enticement of Netflix? (hmm maybe that’s just me!)
When we bought our house many years ago the study/office was a nice addition but not something that I thought would be a crucial factor in our lives.
I never really paid attention to the room as I rarely used it nor needed it as I had my company office. Let’s be honest it was used mainly to store the kids old school reports, photographs, books and anything else that fell into the “miscellaneous” category. However, now that I’m sitting in there daily, I now have a much better appreciation for the design and layout within our abode and how it’s suited my purposes.
Apart from the obvious office set up, furniture, IT and for a ‘people person’, the connectivity platforms (ie. Zoom, GoToMeeting), I’ve been able to identify a few aspects that have ensured that I’ve been able to maintain productivity and interestingly, enjoyment levels. Yes, this extrovert can still thrive in a remote isolated environment. Who knew?!
Here are a few things that I’ve noted about our study/office that have had a profoundly positive effect on my working from home lifestyle:
Now if you’re able to work within an open space, then I commend you. For myself, even though I loved talking and interacting with people in my company office, I always found that when I sat down to do work, I was better suited to be in a separate office (though my door was always open).
As my study/office is a separate dedicated room within the home I was able to continue this practice. It’s also located away from the heart and busyness of the family home which has been a much-needed barrier to distractions. I can mentally prepare myself and separate (literally) work environment and home life.
2. Bathroom Access
I know it sounds silly, but there is a bathroom (powder room) close to the study/office which means I’m not moving through the household to visit the ‘ladies’. Easy bathroom access means I am able to continue the separation of work and home life when I need a quick bathroom break and also prevents me from being enticed into distractions.
3. Look up!
I knew I always liked the look and vibe of the high ceilings throughout our house, but now that I’m spending so many hours within the confines of a room, I appreciate them even more. The high ceilings provide a feeling of a larger space and prevent you from feeling closed in and claustrophobic.
4. Look outwards!
One thing I’ve loved about working from home is that the design of the house has meant that the study/office windows are in a location that face into the garden which has been absolutely wonderful. Nothing better to motivate, inspire or recharge than having a view.
5. Light, light and more light
Let there be light. Lots of natural light to be precise. Lighting is so important in any dwelling and much thought and planning goes into a lighting plan, but mother nature also provides us with wonderful globes all year round.
In my study/office there are floor to ceiling windows that take up one side of the room. The feeling of letting the outside in has been fantastic and a much-needed aspect of the room to reinvigorate me when I’ve been feeling somewhat sluggish.
6. Sound reduction
As much as I love listening to music, sometimes my 20-year-old daughters Spotify playlist at high decibels is not something I want to be hearing when I’m on a video teleconference call. Thankfully thick solid sealed doors and insulation to the study/office provides a barrier to the latest Jay Z tune.
7. Power Outlets
How many times have we been on our hands and knees feeling along the skirting board or wall to find power points for our gadgets, only to discover that a.) there weren’t enough and b.) weren’t located in the position you needed? Not only did I have enough power outlets to accommodate my additional devices, but they were situated in the correct locations which meant I didn’t need to use extension cords or power boards.
With COVI -19, our normal working landscape has fundamentally changed. To what exactly I don’t know, but I do know working remotely in some format is a part of the working psyche for the current and imminent future.
With that in mind, I hope some of these small observations might be considerations to think about when you’re renovating or building your new project to help you to work from home successfully and happily.