Setting Up a Home Workspace
By Kaitlin Hurtado
Whether you are going to school online or working remotely, the way you work and be productive is surely changing due to the current coronavirus pandemic. While working remotely or taking online classes a few months ago would mean going to the campus library or your favorite coffee shop. Unfortunately, due to many businesses being closed and social distancing orders, most are left to learn and work online from the safety of their own homes. In order to maximize your productivity, you may be considering setting up a home workspace or improving the one you already have to suit your needs. Keep reading to see how you can set up the perfect home set up for yourself.
Choose the perfect space
When setting up a home work area, choosing the right space to get your work done is going to the basis of your decision. You’ll want to consider multiple factors in choosing the right space, such as noise level, internet connection, lighting, and so on.
If you know that your productivity or mood increases with natural light, try to pick a spot by a window so that you can make the most out of natural light, fresh air and a nice view even when you’re spending hours on your screen. Consider the noise level or how populated you expect your workspace to be, especially if you don’t have the ability to work in your own private office/bedroom because you’re back home with family or sharing a room. Tables such as your dining table or kitchen island can double as your workspace desk if needed. However, do be mindful of these spaces being shared by the other members of your household and that could come with people going in and out of your workspace.
If you expect to be on video calls you should also consider the background of your workspace if it’s something you do care about.
Have everything you need within reach
One mistake you may be making in choosing a workspace is not giving yourself enough space at your workstation. You want to be able to have everything you need within your reach. For example, don’t choose a spot that has a perfect view of your yard only to not have a functional electronic socket. Imagine being mid-meeting or mid-class only to have our laptop die of a low battery with your charger across the house. Luckily, this small problem can be fixed if you have an extension cord, or if the room you’re in lacks multiple sockets, get a power strip.
Try to replicate the space you are used to at your campus apartment or dorm. If you are used to using a double-monitor setup to complete your daily tasks, working on a single monitor or your laptop can be a bigger challenge than you anticipate. With an HDMI cord, you can transform your bedroom TV into a second monitor without having to go out and buy an extra monitor.
Opposite of having everything you need within reach, eliminate distractions that you absolutely don’t need. For example, if you’re in your bedroom and working at the desk you usually use to game with your friends, try to remove your gaming consoles to eliminate the temptation. Yes, going mute on meetings doesn’t mean you get to pick up your controller for a quick match. Likewise, if you have a TV near you, you may want to move it so that you don’t get the urge to scan your Netflix. While you may think it’s harmless to have some background noise, a distraction is still a distraction. What could take you thirty minutes can easily take you an entire hour because of a single episode on Netflix.
Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit
Never underestimate the power of a well set up and functioning home workspace. While the idea of spending the day in your bed as you get work done seems like a dream, it can get bad pretty quickly. Why would you want to turn your place of rest and comfort into a space where you stress over school work and deadlines? If setting up your home office means you may have to spend a little bit of money getting it to your liking, you should do so if you are able to.
While upcycling one of your dining table chairs into your desk chair may sound like a good and cheap idea, you may want to consider just getting a chair dedicated to your desk chair. The dining table chair may be comfortable enough for an hour-long meal but for an eight-hour workday? Treat yourself to a properly padded desk chair — your back will surely thank you.
Having a home workspace, or an area dedicated to getting work done, can help immensely when it comes to being productive while working at home. With these tips in mind, the process of setting up your home study area can be even easier.
Kaitlin Hurtado is a fourth-year literary journalism major at UC Irvine. She is a writer on Uloop.com’s national team and a campus editor for UCI.
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