Is this the end of traditional office spaces? The work-from-home trend has been around for years, but only recently has it become a mainstream option. It should come as no surprise that with the rise of technology and remote work, people can easily do their jobs from anywhere in the world.
The ever-changing world of technology has offered many possibilities in the workforce, influencing how employees work. It has also helped them cope with this trying time during the pandemic. Working from home, or telecommuting refers to employees performing organisational tasks remotely rather than in the office.
Employees have increased freedom to make decisions and set their own pace when they work from home, leading to increased employee satisfaction and morale. Others may also appreciate the flexibility for more practical reasons: to provide childcare or eldercare or to be at home when the delivery person shows up.
Working from home also increases performance and productivity. Since employees can choose their working time and place, they can work according to their best convenience. Some employees reportedly concentrate better on their work and complete things much faster when there are no office distractions or interruptions from coworkers.
Employees may be required to travel to different locations as part of their job. However, when they work from home, commuting costs are reduced or eliminated altogether. This enables employees to save not just money, but also time.
Disadvantages of working from home
It is easy to feel isolated from society when there are no face-to-face interactions. You lose your sense of belonging and may even feel as though you are less a part of your workplace team. Furthermore, the lack of face-to-face interactions may also affect social relationships between employees and coworkers.
Difficulty in staying motivated
Motivation and self-discipline go hand in hand. But self-discipline is considerably more challenging to maintain when you lack the motivation to do so. Having the same view in a constant environment every day can be discouraging from time to time, as opposed to being in the office with like-minded people who share your goals to keep you driven and engaged.
Some employees may also struggle to distinguish between work and personal life. They would not know how to switch off from work, resulting in longer work hours which can lead to stress, and eventually burnout.
Working from home can eliminate the distractions that may occur in the office. But, if an employee does not have a dedicated workspace at home, distractions such as television, pets, and even household duties may negatively affect the quality of his or her work performance. Not to mention the fact that, given the freedom to wander and go for breaks whenever the mood strikes, it may prove tricky to remain productive.
This assumption is further supported as results of asurvey by Gartner show that 65% of employees pondered what role work should play in their lives amid the pandemic.
What’s more, a recent survey on Blind also revealed that one in three employees say that they will quit if they can no longer work from home.
So, why don’t people want to go back to work?
According toRandstad Malaysia, as a result of the work-from-home trend, 94% of Malaysian employees claimed that the pandemic caused them to want more flexibility in their jobs. More than four out of five respondents had “pandemic epiphanies”, meaning, they have a better understanding of their personal and professional goals since the pandemic began.
Resignation and quitting are synonymous, but it is crucial to make a distinction here since ‘The Great Resignation’ is more like a‘Great Reshuffle’ than it is about quitting.
Employees are not simply leaving their jobs; they are moving on to better opportunities in the job market. It is not just about the money though; employees nowplace greater importance on mental health than ever before.
What impact does working from home have on the real estate industry?
Much like other industries, the real estate industry has also been affected by the work-from-home trend. The shift to remote work has altered how and where people want to live, and the housing market is gradually adjusting to reflect this.
Changes in housing features
As more people choose to work from home, they are also choosing properties that allow them to do so.
All co-living spaces have a certain amount of shared spaces, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and entertainment areas. Workspaces may also be available in larger facilities.
Over 4.7 million people who work from home today spend at least half of their workdays working remotely, where some are freelancing or have their own businesses or the company that they work for have switched to remote work. This caused people to become digital nomads, resulting in the rise of the co-living trend.
Co-living spaces are a convenient option for people who need to work from home. This revolutionary way of living places emphasis on community, togetherness, and a sense of belonging.
Importance of proper work-from-home setup
A proper work-from-home setup is imperative when working from home as it can help restore productivity and create a more conducive working environment.
In addition to reduced productivity, improper workspace setup can also negatively impact your health and work life. These health issues could be blurred vision, migraines, neck and back pain,carpal tunnel syndrome, and of course, poor body posture.
Did you know that improper posture can affect your productivity?
Astudy about the correlation between body posture and workplace productivity by UpRight and Ernst & Young revealed that 71% of employees who worked with good body posture were more confident compared to those with poor body posture. Moreover, the results also showed that 75% of those study participants with proper body postures were more productive at work.
As a result, in order to perform at your optimal level while avoiding unnecessary health risks, you must have a proper office setup.
Now that we have established the importance of having a proper office setup, let us get into the topic at hand: what you will need to put together a functional workspace at home.
Tips for enhancing your home office
There are many benefits of working from home, but if you do not have a dedicated workspace, it can be difficult to concentrate and get work done efficiently.
As such, it is critical to set up your home office in a functional way so you can maximise productivity while minimising distraction. Well, here are ways for you to do just that:
Find the most suitable setting
When working from home, where should you do it? You can choose from a wide range of public workspaces nearby, including coffee shops, parks, and even co-working spaces.
However, since this article is about working from home, we will be concentrating on home-centric areas. Even if you may typically prefer an ‘outdoor office’, these options will act as your primary office.
Instead of working on the couch in the living room, your work-from-home office should have a dedicated space in the house or if it is possible, have a separate room. The following are some of the most pertinent elements to consider when finding the right spot for your home office setup:
It is not necessary to have a large space to work. It’s just a matter of making sure that you have enough space to move around comfortably. A bedroom is generally 200 square feet on average, which is more than enough space for a home office.
Your work-from-home home office should ideally be located away from busy areas of your home like the living room or a child’s playroom. This way you can avoid noises and check-ins from household members.
Seclusion & privacy:
Your workspace should have the ability to be completely enclosed. That said, having a separate room solely for work is the most ideal option if you want privacy.
You could get away with a little noise every now and then. But, there are times when you need to be in a quiet area, like answering calls or attending a meeting, for instance. Even if you enjoy a bit of noise in your environment, you should not be subjected to it. You can even modify some rooms for better insulation such as installing window seals, carpeting, and even noise-blocking sound dampeners.
Choose the right equipment
After deciding on a location for your work-from-home office setup, you must then decide on the right equipment. Make sure you thoroughly analyse each choice because they might have a significant impact on your productivity.
This may seem simple, but it goes a long way. If you are working from home, you would spend a lot of time stuck to the desk. Thus, you need to lighten things up. So make sure the desk and chair of your choice suit your style.
Speaking of chairs, since you will be sitting down a lot, it is advisable to invest in a comfortable chair. The most effective solution is to purchase an ergonomic chair. Due to the lumbar support, these chairs can enhance comfort and improve sitting posture, minimising the risk ofchronic pain associated with sedentary jobs.
Laptops are convenient for portability, but if you want superior performance, you will need to invest in better specs. A poor computer can not only slow you down but reduce your overall efficiency. To make your system run faster, make sure the system is updated regularly with enough storage space.
When you are working from home, online tools are basically your bread and butter. To combine efficiency and effectiveness, you need all the necessary tools to enhance productivity. These tools include Dropbox, ClickUp, Zoom, and Trello, to name a few.
A stable internet connection is vital if you work remotely. Make sure you have a high-quality router and a backup plan in case your internet shuts down, such as a smartphone with an internet tethering option or ‘mobile hotspot’.
Even if you rarely use a printer or scanner, it still makes sense to own one at home in case you need to scan or print something.
If your home office is not near a window, you can invest in a light that resembles natural sunlight, which can also help prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Add a plant or two
Bring some colour to your work-from-home setup. You could grow a few houseplants in this area to improve the overall aesthetics, giving the space a more refreshing and contemporary feel.
Adding plants around your workspace is like a breath of fresh air (literally) as it promotes a therapeutic environment. Keeping plants in your workspace is known to manage stress and tension and refocus energy. This, in turn,improves productivity and work performance.
Embrace the power of art
Keeping a workspace simple with only the necessities, and not overdoing the decorations, is vital. However, that does not mean that you cannot add some artwork to amp up your work-from-home office.
A beautifully decorated office is more than just aesthetics. Office decor plays a significant role in the mindset of employees because it can instil inspiration and improve moods.
Boost your spirits with scents
Some people work better when they are surrounded by a pleasant scent because it helps them concentrate better. You can either light a scented candle, burn incense, or even install a plug-in scent diffuser.
Peppermint and lavender are both wonderful options for beginners. But if you want energising and uplifting scents, you can try orange, grapefruit, or even lemon.
Work from home tips and tricks
Remember to reward yourself
After a hard day’s work, remember to reward yourself. Small rewards can truly go a long way in keeping you motivated. It enables you to see how much you can get done in a given day or time.
Self-rewarding with small indulgences can make one feel more energised and content, improving efficiency and productivity.
For example, if you finish work by 6 p.m., you may promise yourself a cup of your favourite beverage or binge-watch the latest season of your favourite Netflix show.
You may find it difficult to finish a task sometimes. By minimising interruptions and outside distractions, you can stay focused and motivated.
Manage distractions by turning off the notifications on your phone, checking your email only once every hour, and avoiding social media when you are not taking a break. You can also set your device to “Do Not Disturb.”
Declutter and organise
Most people look past this, but adisorganised and cluttered desk could affect your workperformance. A disorganised desk leads to misplaced documents, and lost information, resulting in increased stress levels. It also affects how others perceive you, which may cause you to feel more self-conscious – and this, in turn, disrupts focus.
Exercise and meditate
In order to cope with stress, it is a wise idea to take time off between work assignments. You can do so by including exercise in your routine – regardless of whether it is a quick 20-minute walk around the neighbourhood or a full-body workout.
Besides that, meditation also helps to ease the mind and relieves stress. People who meditate claim that they sleep better and focus more.
Our work life consumes a significant portion of our time. Therefore, having the right office setup, especially when you are working from home, is very significant to ensure favourable working conditions.
That said, the only way you can optimise your workspace to cater for your needs and surroundings is to experiment with adjustments while trying various methods and tracking the outcomes. Which methods make work more enjoyable and increase your productivity? How can I make the most of my tools?
Working from home and being your own boss is great, but it is easy for your personal life to interfere with your work life. Hopefully, with these useful tips, you are able to remain motivated without compromising productivity and fun even in the most challenging situations.
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