In just over one year, an unprecedented number of people have transitioned into working from home. More recently, many of those same workers have returned to the office. For many, however, that change has become a permanent one.
Whether you’ve moved into a new remote role or your job has evolved into a work-from-home position some or all of the time, you’ll inevitably need a home office or workspace to get the best results. From getting the best light for Zoom meetings to finding the ideal balance of being comfortable but not too comfortable, a lot goes into perfecting a professional home office.
Refine your idea of professionalism
When working in an in-person office environment, there are certain expectations you’re obligated to meet. Your at-home workday looks differently, whether that’s because you’ve started a new career path as a streamer or blogger or because you’re balancing your assignments with childcare and home maintenance. The image of a professional workspace, then, needs to change too.
Rather than the fluorescent brightness of a traditional overhead office light source, you might research the best lighting for streamers, even if it’s only to make a better impression on video calls. From adding a ring light to creating a whole new setup, your ideal professional workspace will almost certainly look different in a remote role.
Begin with yourself
Before you start diving into the pros and cons of fill versus key lighting, consider how you will function within your home office. Will you dress in your typical workwear or pair your favorite professional white blouse with pajama pants because no one will see your lower half on the webcam? Should you add particular details to improve your productivity at home, whether that’s a certain type of light, an essential oil diffuser stocked with energizing blends, or simply an extra surge protector for your necessary AC adapters on the average workday?
A beginner or experienced remote worker will each know themself better than any article could—consider how you can get yourself into a focused, productive mindset whenever you enter your home office, be it with a certain type of blouse or a particular sort of light bulb.
Prioritize your health and well-being
Despite its plentiful benefits, working from home can feature certain health risks and wellness concerns. From isolation and a lack of physical activity to screen-triggered headaches and poor work-life balance, it’s important that your home office—and the work you do within it—is crafted with mitigating these risks in mind. If you know that staring at your computer screen all day triggers migraines, consider investing in a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses, setting up good lighting to ease the strain of screen time, and taking regular breaks to look away from the laptop for a few moments each day.
If you find that your work-life balance is suffering, be it at one extreme or the other, implement stronger boundaries by signing off entirely at the end of the workday or hiding the remote control and turning off non-work-related smartphone notifications while you sit in meetings or reach your deadlines. By making sure your health and well-being are taken care of, you’ll not just feel better at work, but you’ll be more productive, motivated, and professional while you’re in this space.
As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent, it’s key that you create a healthy, professional workspace at home, be it a full home office or a set corner of the living room. A distinct place of work, even within your home, can make it easier to maintain a beneficial work-life balance, exceed your employer’s expectations, and generally make a better impression as a professional who’s working from home.