In the wake of COVID-19, an unprecedented wave of workers made the switch to working remotely. For many, this meant they needed a dedicated workspace or, better yet, a designated home office from which they can work. Having a separate space can help preserve the boundary between work time and home time, making sure to keep some semblance of a work-life balance despite working and living the rest of your life in the same general place.
This doesn’t mean that your home office necessarily has to be dull—all work and no play makes you (and your office) a dull employee! Incorporating a bit of fun into your remote workspace is similar to offering kids recess during the school day—the benefits are plentiful. By striking a balance between work and play, you can improve your productivity and focus, helping you get better results for both your company and your personal life.
Make sure it’s comfortable.
You likely already know how difficult it can be to accomplish a task when you’re stuck doing so in an uncomfortable space. Your home office is, of course, no exception. From opting for an adjustable desk or new chair to adding accessories like a desktop humidifier or a cup holder that clips to your desk, there are lots of ways you can make your workspace a more comfortable one. You might even consider ordering some free carpet samples to inspire some new, more comfortable flooring. Carpet tiles make installation of carpets easy, and a carpet or rug is a great option when it comes to comfort. By seeing the different colors and textures available, you can visualize your best option for maximum comfort, not to mention durability, price, and other factors. Because you’re utilizing free samples, you can make this upgrade more comfortable for your budget, too.
Let it play double-duty.
It’s true that, for the best results, you should clearly distinguish your work time from leisure time. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no blurring of that line, especially if you’re working with limited space. A gamer, for instance, might pick out the best computer gaming desk for their work area. This doesn’t mean they’re playing video games all day long (unless, of course, that happens to be their day job). Instead, this means they can make the most of their desk during the day, then switch to a bit of recreation after hours. Add a quality gaming chair with armrests and lumbar support and you’ll be as ready to conquer World of Warcraft as you will be to answer emails. You can make a clearer distinction by keeping gaming equipment out of sight during the workday, or even switching to the opposite side of the desk, if possible when it’s time to play.
Give yourself some peace of mind.
Working from home can be difficult in any context, but it’s especially challenging if you’re managing kids, pets, or other caregiving responsibilities simultaneously. If you can’t be watching your little ones or new puppy while trying to finish the report your boss needs by EOD, consider alternative methods of keeping an eye on their safety. This doesn’t need to be an expensive baby monitor, either—you can even find some spy equipment cheap and take advantage of a hidden camera (or not-so-secret spy gadget) as a unique option that lets you watch over your loved ones in a way that’s a little more exciting while still giving you enough space to focus on work-related tasks.
Upgrade your equipment.
Ordering spy gear or adding a headphone hook to your desk isn’t the only way you can improve your remote work area. How much could a keyboard tray or new mouse pad improve your setup? Is your work-related software up to date and the right choice for the tasks you need to complete? You might decide to research an Adobe Animate free trial to see whether the program’s additional features make a difference in your workday—there’s no more affordable price than free! Depending on your particular upgrades, you can likely use these new tools for work and leisure activities alike—and you’ll face a lot less frustration in both.
Add some extra fun.
Do you think a fidget toy could help you make the most of your at-home workday? There’s no one stopping you from keeping a few on your computer desk. Want to keep a desk toy around for the best workday breaks? Channel your inner Michael Scott and add some pure fun to the shelves around your office or on the desk itself, if you have enough space. Even details as simple as a plant, family photo, or aesthetically pleasing paperweight can help you make this space a great place to work—so long as you can distinguish between a quick gaming session and time you’re meant to be getting down to business.
Upgrade your work schedule.
In maintaining a work-life balance—and making the most of a fun office space in the process—few factors are as critical as maintaining a healthy schedule. If you have the flexibility that allows for it, consider moving your lunch hour to that inevitable afternoon slump, when you wouldn’t be focusing well anyway, or taking a walk mid-day to help clear your head. Even if you can’t adjust your working hours, be sure you’re looking away from the computer screen every so often and logging off when the day is done. Occasional overtime might show initiative but, if you’re working into the night each day just because you’re working from home, your daily productivity and overall mental health will inevitably suffer.
Take better breaks.
Hopefully, you’re taking at least some short breaks throughout your workday, but are you making the most of them? If you’re simply switching from your computer screen to scrolling through social media, you’re probably not helping yourself much in the long run. Checking Instagram might be a sort of fun, but it isn’t the sort of distraction that pays off with improved focus or a more enjoyable workday overall. Instead, use your break to stand on your porch and take in some fresh air, drink a glass of water, or even take a cat-nap to return to your laptop feeling refreshed. Making the most of your breaks will help keep you healthy and happy while letting your work-from-home routine become a little more enjoyable.
While you should be maintaining a clear boundary between work and home as a remote employee, there’s no reason your dedicated working area can’t have a bit of fun, too. Whether you’re using the same desk for activities on both ends of the spectrum or you’re just adding a playful paperweight to the stack of documents you’re working on, the smallest details can completely transform your work-from-home life.