As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, in a week I’m temporarily relocating to my home office. My students have their finals next Tuesday, and after that, campus gets pretty quiet until after the new year.
Now, it goes without saying that working from home has its benefits. You have the freedom to set your own hours. Rush hour traffic is non-existent. AND, you don’t have to pack a lunch each day. Yes!
With that being said, working from home also has its challenges. Personally, I get distracted very easily. And when I say very easily, I mean I’m distracted by nearly everything that does not involve my work. (It’s amazing how fun vacuuming sounds when I have a book to edit…) To combat this distraction, Sunday’s post offers 25 ways to stay productive when working from home.
The other big obstacle when working from home concerns motivation. And while there are several different reasons why we lose motivation, today I want to focus specifically on our workspace. Because believe it or not, our physical surroundings play a big role in raising or lowering our motivation levels.
Are you wondering how to make the most of your work space? Then keep reading and discover 3 ways to increase your motivation when working from home.
3 ways to increase motivation working from home
There is an overarching rule for all three of these strategies. And this rule is: make your home office emulate a “workplace” environment. By establishing an area in your home with a distinct “workplace” feel, you’ll have an easier time shifting from “home life” to “work life” when you enter that space. This, in turn, strengthens the (often elusive) work-life balance.
So how do you create a workplace environment? Let’s start with your work station.
Getting the right level of comfort
While it might be tempting to work from your bed or curled up on the couch, I urge you to think twice before doing so. (I just heard you groan at this piece of advice, but hear me out.) Yes, working on these spaces are incredibly comfortable.
Unfortunately, when we get so cozy, our motivation often dips. And this is because of the scientifically proven fact that a nap almost always sounds more appealing than work. (Yes, I am absolutely speaking from experience.)
So instead of turning your family room into a temporary office, try personalizing your own version of an “ideal” office environment. And make the space yours.
Do you deal with a lot of paperwork? Then invest in some fun filing cabinets. Are you a person who likes to spread out your materials? Then you’ll thrive with a large desk. How is your back? Do you need extra lumbar support? Seek out a chair that will help with your posture.
In other words, make sure your office has the workplace essentials. Because when you have everything you need, motivation immediately improves.
As the same time, it’s also important to take breaks throughout the workday. And if possible, create a location in your office specifically for those breaks.
Now, this space doesn’t need to be large. I have a futon in my office, which Bruno likes to sleep on while I work. And my husband has a comfysacks beanbag chair in the corner of his room, which we both love. In fact, when we’re both working from home, I usually take my breaks in there – ha! (If you haven’t heard of these beanbag chairs before, I definitely recommend checking them out. You can visit comfysacks.com for more information.)
By having two distinguished areas in your office, your work section and your break section, you’ll have a much easier time transitioning from work to break and back again.
Choose your colors carefully
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you might consider painting your new workspace to increase your motivation. There are multiple studies on the impact of color on a person’s mood and productivity levels. And it turns out that each shade of the color palette has a slightly different effect.
In fact, companies have been using color for years to improve the moods of both their employees and their customers. Blue, for example, “stimulates the mind. Strong blues clear thought while soft blues aid concentration and have a calming effect.” Green, on the other hand, is often associated with nature and new life. In fact, “one study found that 95 percent of university students associated the color with positive emotions, and it is the color most often used in institutions because it has been found to be soothing.” (Read more here.)
So if you’re interested in using color to boost your motivation, do some research. Find what shade will help you reach your personal goals, and get painting!
The office details
While we’ve talked about the big stuff – desks, chairs, office color etc. – there are many little details that also help you increase your motivation working from home.
Firstly, make sure your office has plenty of light. Focus first on your overhead lighting, and check that it brightens the majority of your office. Then, focus on task lighting. This involves desk lamps or floor lamps, which help illuminate your specific work space.
Second, use a dedicated phone line specifically for work. Why? Because it can be both confusing and off putting to customers when they’re calling a home phone number. Just think about it; how often do you call a business and have someone’s child answer by mistake? Not very often, I bet.
So invest in a work-specific phone – either land line, cell phone, or Voice over IP (Internet-based phone). This increased level of professionalism will both boost your motivation and benefit your company. It’s a win-win.
Thirdly, take a real lunch break. It’s easy to get absorbed in your work and never leave the office. Especially when you have a great workspace with beautifully painted walls ;-). But as I mentioned before, it’s important to step away and take a break from work.
So at lunch time, leave your office. Eat your meal at the kitchen table, outside on the deck, on that incredibly comfortable couch in the family room, wherever. Just keep it separate from your work space. Again, when you have clearly designated working and living spaces, you’ll have a much easier time switching from one to the other.
Finally, as tempting as it is to stay in your PJs all day, push yourself to “get ready for work” each morning. Dressing professionally further boosts that motivation and puts you in the right frame of mind to crush your day’s to-do list. You can always change back into those sweatpants at the end of the day 🙂
So tell me, how does your workspace impact your motivation? Have you ever painted your walls to boost your mood? Do you have separate working and living spaces? Let me know below!