Surely, you’ve gotten used to working from home by now, so transitioning back to the office can be difficult. Here are some tips that can help you!
As workplaces reopen, many of us are returning to physical offices. This can be frustrating, and the sudden shift can lead to a drop in productivity. But it is possible to take some of the things that helped us be productive at home, and bring them with us when we return!
By changing four crucial elements of your workstation, you can maintain your momentum. To keep your work fast and efficient when you go back to your workplace, follow these tips.
1. The Desk
At home, you got to choose your desk and chair, while office equipment is one-size-fits-all. For your ergonomic health, it’s important to make sure they’re the right height. Even if you can only make small adjustments in the office, it’s worth it!
If you’re suffering from a sore neck or back, it’s hard to get work done. Make sure your desk is at a height where you can look straight at the monitor. Your keyboard should allow your elbows to rest at a 90-degree angle. If your office desk setup can’t do that, you might want to invest in some accessories.
A monitor stand can raise the monitor’s height. If your chair is already too tall, try using a chair cushion instead to raise your sitting height. Purchase a keyboard stand if the keyboard is too low. Alternatively, if it is too high, you might want to consider using a small lap desk instead.
You can also re-arrange large features of your workspace to more closely mimic the layout at home. For instance, if the computer tower was on your right at home, it should be on the same side at work. This helps you get used to the office faster, by reducing the number of changes.
Of course, the best option is to simply replace the desk and chair with ones that work better. Talk to your manager about options, and explain the ergonomic health benefits. They may let you bring your own chair to work or even upgrade your desk to a standing one. You won’t know until you ask!
2. The Aesthetic
Aesthetic doesn’t seem like it should affect your work, but it does! A bland environment can be under-stimulating, making it difficult to stay motivated at work. But a cluttered desk might be distracting, so it’s important to take a minute and establish a balance.
If your workplace is a bit chaotic, there are things you can do to straighten it up. Use zip-ties or other easily-moved tools to manage computer cables. Use simple decorations to cover up scuffs and stains on the desk. If it’s okay with your manager, replace pen-holders and other small items so that they match in color and style.
To liven up a bland workplace, bring in your knickknacks and photos from home! Chair covers or even a table “runner” to put over your desk can also help too. Just make sure your decorations aren’t distracting or offensive to your neighbors.
If allowed, you should also keep any visuals you got used to at home. If you switched to a, for instance, pin it up at work. Your desk calendar, post-it notes, and similar miscellaneous objects should find a home in your office, too.
3. The Atmosphere
Some of the biggest productivity impacts are non-physical: temperature, light, and sound. It’s likely that when you worked at home, you had greater control over these factors. But returning to the office doesn’t mean surrendering to harsh lights and uncomfortable temperatures!
Keep a blanket at your desk when the office temperature drops, or invest in a heated chair cushion. Placing a rug under the desk can also help. You can find a small desk fan, a small humidifier, or a mister if you need to cool down. These can also go a long way; just make sure your electronics are safe from the spray.
Many offices suffer from a white light that makes everything look drained and stresses the eyes. You can counter it by installing a yellow-light lamp orat your desk. Also, decorating your desk with dark or warm colors can help counteract a too bright space.
Sound and smell can be a little harder to manage. Depending on your work, the management might let you use headphones, provided you keep the volume low and don’t bother your neighbors. Bringing a low-maintenance plant or a scent diffuser to your desk can help keep the air clear.
4. The Methods
Take a minute to think about the way you move through your workday when working from home. Consider the software you use, the order in which you tackle your task list, and the way you took breaks. Many of these changes can come to the office, too.
Your work may require you to use proprietary software. If you’ve found you work better with a different program, ask about your options. For example, you may be allowed to use your preferred word processor to assemble a report, so long as you still submit it using the company’s program.
Customize Your Workplace for Productivity
With creativity and some helpful tech, you can make the shift back to office work much easier. Accessories like monitor stands and desk lamps can improve your setup.
Reflecting on the details of how your workday changed at home can reveal methods you can use at work. By taking control of your workspace, you can keep the productivity boost going!