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Where to Work from Home…In The Home

2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, most of them not very good. For better or for worse, this is the year that the work force dynamic drastically changed. People began working from home full time as the pandemic shut down offices and buildings across the world. Prior to this, many people never or rarely worked from home.  For the past three years, I have been working from home half of the week. When I first started to work from home, I would notice that the days would pass and I realized I hadn’t left my couch or bed and I wasn’t as productive as I had hoped.

So where is the best place to work in your house or apartment?

First, designate a regular work space. The rule of thumb is to designate work area in your house where you will spend most of your day. Note that I didn’t say the entire day. We’ll get back to that. Obviously, if you have a designated home office, this is the most ideal location. It is private and completely dedicated to work.

However, if you don’t have an official home office, you’ll need to find an area that is clean and clear from mess, chaos and toys. The dining room and the basement are usually prime locations to work. The dining room is optimal as most people only use this room for get-togethers and holidays (and who’s hosting those anytime soon?) and therefore, papers and files won’t get disturbed.  The basement is usually a quiet place with the least distractions during since most of the commotion is usually on the main level of the house.

Dens and living rooms fall somewhere in between. In a non-pandemic world, this could work if you are alone in the house or apartment. But again, be sure that there is a designated area to work in one of those rooms so that when the work day is done, your area remains undisturbed.  

The bedroom and the kitchen are probably the least ideal spaces to work, unless you are in apartment where space is limited. If you have to work in the bedroom, be sure there is a nook or corner where you can put a desk and as far away from the bed. A bedroom should be synonymous with relaxation, sleep, binge watching Netflix and pajamas. I found myself the least productive when I would work in my bed. Nap time always seemed like a better idea. Plus, even though you are working from home and there isn’t a commute, mentally, it is good to step out of your room (and pajamas) and have a change of scenery. If not, you will be in the same room all day and night. 

The kitchen is another least favorite spot of mine. First, it is usually has the most traffic and hard to keep papers/documents in order (and smudge free!). You will also tend to overeat when you are in very close proximity of food which is never good. 

So now you found your ideal spot to work… but who can really spend all day in the same spot? Many people, who are full time, work from home employees, have a desk top computer and printer set up in a designated area. This is great, but this also means that you are stuck working in the same spot all the time. If your company is able to provide a lap top as well, request it.  

We all need a change of scenery.  A lap top will allow you to move about freely. Some days, the basement with no windows can be depressing or even the home office can get stale. Go to another room with bright sunlight, or, if the weather is warm enough, work outside and get some Vitamin D!