Home versus home office

Home versus home office

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

Contributors:

Judith Kays
Professional Communicator
judithkays@eastlink.ca

Just over a year ago, when the majority of us began working from home, we eased into new routines nicely. We became more collaborative, resourceful and efficient. We completed reports, got the laundry done, made sales, walked the dog, answered emails and had dinner on time. We mixed work with home because we were forced to; however, it soon became difficult for many of us to separate work from the rest of our lives, simply because our home also became our office.

The notion of ‘leaving work at the office’ and going home to your ‘balance’ has completely changed. This new way of working, from home, for many small and medium sized business employees may continue into the foreseeable future. A recent Stats Canada survey revealed that in Nova Scotia, 33 per cent of employees could work from home and once the pandemic ends, about 23 per cent of businesses expect that 10 per cent or more of their workforce will continue working remotely.

What does that mean for our home life? Many of us have lost our dining rooms, some have renovated rooms to become office space, and several people continue to find comfortable ways to sit on a couch with a laptop where it was originally meant to be… on our lap. To that end, many now have regular appointments with chiropractors and physiotherapists to heal our arms, shoulders and backs.

There are pros and cons to having a home office and depending on your unique situation, there are innovative ways to make it work. Here are a few things to consider when creating your home office.

1. Set up a unique office space. It doesn’t have to be fancy or pretty, but it should be a consistent space where you can leave your work behind at the end of the day.

2. Invest in yourself. Get a comfortable chair or arrange a standing desk by using a box under your laptop. There are creative ways to make your space as ergonomic and functional as possible.

3. Stay in communication with others. While we can’t have that face-to-face meeting with colleagues or chat by the water cooler, it’s important to stay in contact with others. Continue to participate in team meetings and even schedule regular ‘coffee chats’ with colleagues.

4. Appreciate the flexibility. Be strategic when scheduling meetings and calls. Studies have shown a clear increase in productivity while working from home. Take advantage of a break to fold clothes or prep dinner. In the end, this will allow for more ‘you’ or ‘family’ time.

5. Build a transition to and from work. Just because you don’t have an actual commute, take some time to create your own routine to ease into work and then do the reverse to ‘come home’.

Make the commitment to separate your home from your home office. The steps to distinguishing between the two are unique for each of us, as we all have different jobs, home lives, priorities and roles. There’s no one-size-fits-all, and we need not to strive for perfection.

Achieving a workable, comfortable and productive home office that doesn’t intrude on your home is achievable, though it can be challenging. It takes a commitment to careful thought and planning but should be a priority to help maintain good, positive mental health as we continue to enjoy our work at home and our home at work.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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