Love it or hate it, remote work is here to stay. The old model of reporting to cubicles or corner offices from 9 to 5 is out. Collaborating with far-flung colleagues from the comfort of your bedroom is in.
Chances are, if you work from home you love it. While some folks miss water cooler banter and lunch breaks with coworkers, poll after poll finds that people report being more productive at home. Job satisfaction is higher. Work-life balance is exponentially better.
This forced social experiment has shown that the old office-centric way wasn’t necessarily the best (more conventional wisdom bites the dust). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t downsides to the new hybrid or work-from-home models either. Social isolation is a real concern. So is the blurred line between personal time and work time, plus the loss of built-in daily structure. Some folks are just sick of the inside of their homes and, frankly, the people they live with.
Since working from home has solidified its place as the “new normal,” we’re chockablock with tips for work-from-home productivity: have a morning routine, maintain a consistent schedule, dress in real clothes (maybe not hard pants, but not pajamas either). We also know all about taking frequent work breaks, utilizing a sit-stand desk, and incorporating microworkouts.
Those things are all important, to be sure, but routines or work breaks aren’t the only keys to being more productive. Your physical environment also affects productivity for better or worse. One of the big advantages of working from home is having total control over your workspace. Even if you’re taking over half the dining table or squeezing into a closet (which can be nicer than it sounds!), you can spruce up your workspace and tailor it to your preferences. After all, it’s part of your home, so you want to like being there.
Most of us probably aren’t paying enough attention to the sensory environment—what we see, hear, and smell while we work. Easy, inexpensive touches can increase both happiness and productivity. Here’s where to start.