We live in the age of remote work. As the pandemic has swept across the world and upended traditional ways of working and living, many businesses have survived by enabling a remote workforce.
The widespread adoption of such arrangements has also allowed employers and workers to discover other benefits. Both sides end up with substantial cost savings, and employees, in particular, can enjoy better work-life balance.
Remote work had already been gaining traction in previous years. And such benefits can go a long way towards establishing it as a permanent option even when the coronavirus comes under control.
But ultimately, it’s the employer’s call if working from home makes sense in the long term. And individuals also have some say in the matter.
If you want to continue to work remotely, you have to ensure better productivity. And smart home improvements can make a big difference in that regard. It’s time to break out those cordless Bosch power tools and take on DIY jobs that could boost your day job.
Identifying areas of impact
But before you go out and buy supplies, take time to consider what makes remote workers truly productive. Some of the barriers to better performance are external. They include company culture and support from management.
Others are technological. Your company should provide equipment, VPNs, cloud-based resources, and other tools to improve communication and collaboration.
Still, others are centered on your motivation and response to these new circumstances. They include the ability to focus amid distractions, have positive interactions with online colleagues, and maintain good physical and mental health.
Identifying and differentiating these opportunities for improvement allows you to bring them up at work. But more importantly, it lets you concentrate your efforts and make upgrades around the home that will truly boost your productivity.
Create an open-plan layout
Much like the pandemic itself, remote work wasn’t something many of us could plan for. It was thrust into our lives and superimposed on our homes.
Not everyone has the ability to set up a home office in a detached space on their property. Many remote workers have a limited floor area. They might have to watch over kids, who also happen to be studying from home.
An open-plan layout can be an easy solution to achieve a compromise between these needs. It makes use of existing space, with no need for expansion. Designers have innovated with folding bookcases, for example. These provide functional and attractive partitions that can be moved about and closed up at the end of each workday.
Open layouts don’t have to extend from floor to ceiling, either. For those with kids, a divider could be around standing eye level. This gives you privacy when sitting down in front of your screen while letting you occasionally take a peek at what’s going on around you.
Set up some soundproofing
One of the biggest problems for anybody who’s working from home is shutting out distractions. In an unfamiliar setting, movement and ambient noise can become soothing, even conducive to productivity. Face-to-face interactions in a traditional office or even a co-working space can enrich your day.
At home, however, distractions take on a greater sense of immediacy. Some things need to be done. Reminders on your devices add stress, and seeing others in the household using non-essential devices like the TV or gaming consoles will tempt you to dip into leisure time.
A headset with active noise cancellation solves those issues on your part, but what about the noises you make potentially distracting others? The solution is to soundproof a dedicated area with a layer of acoustic board and sealing holes and caulking gaps.
Improve your visuals
It’s no secret that remote work entails long hours of video calls instead of in-person interactions. People still feel the need to know each other better and develop a bond to collaborate effectively.
Clutter in the background and subpar lighting conditions are some of the biggest obstacles to making a good visual impression in your video calls. If you’re able to make smart upgrades to address those issues, it will indirectly improve your work interactions and facilitate smoother communication.
Storage solutions give you a place to pack up all the stuff you won’t be needing while the pandemic continues. A dedicated light source for your home office, positioned at the right angle, can help relay your facial expressions and nonverbal cues more clearly.
With these targeted home improvements, you can easily take steps towards better productivity and making a case for continuing to work from home in the future.