The Easy Ways To Enjoy Working From Home

Simple fixes to make your home office work.

It’s finally happening. Lockdown restrictions are starting to ease over the next few months, and a touch of normality is returning to our shores. For many of us this will mean being able to go back to our offices, but for others, working from home will continue to be the norm. It has been a long road and since the start a year ago, you may have slipped into some bad habits while getting used to working from home. (We did too… Guilty as charged!)

We’ve thought up some of our favourite ways to help you get back to enjoying working from home and get some of your productivity back. Feel more confident with your job and you’ll be in the swing of your workload in no time. With a whole year’s experience with working from home behind us, what have we learned makes for the best environment to work in when at home?

1. Remove Those Distractions

It can be easier said than done, but creating an environment where you have limited distractions can be crucial to maintaining a real sense of productivity. While you may be more used to a busy, noisy office space in some jobs, the noise is certainly different when at home! Whether it’s the kids learning at home, pets demanding cuddles (hard to resist, we know!), or general noise from a television, you may want to consider how you work at your best. More often than not, it is without most sources of home-life distraction. Find yourself a quiet corner of the house that you can repurpose into your office space. If you have a spare room with a door you can close off, this is ideal to make a bubble of peace. It may not always be possible to avoid the comings-and-goings involved with being at home (answering the door for mail, kids requiring attention, the list goes on) but having a place you can retire to away from most others is a valuable asset. Easier said than done, we know, but you’ll be glad you found somewhere quiet very quickly!

A word of caution (and of experience) when picking where you want to get settled. When working from home, it can seem tempting to put the television on for background noise, but more often than not you will end up sucked in. You may tell yourself you won’t, and then half an hour later you are still pondering over why that makeover on This Morning is taking a turn for the worse and not the better. Switch off your distractions, take a look at your work setup, and get started on a new round of productivity and focus. You can do it!

2. Music To Your Ears

It is one thing to remove our distractions from around us, but there is an importance to some noise-related additions when crafting your best working space. Some of us – like those used to those busy offices – need to have something around us to keep us going, and that brings a valid point: not all noise is bad noise. If music, radio, background television, or anything else you can listen to are what help you to focus, don’t let anyone put you off using them for silence. What works for you is for you alone.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube and playlists on apps like Spotify that have videos featuring soothing noises created for the purpose of helping you concentrate. Why not search up the sound of a crackling fireplace or rain pitter-pattering against a window? You would be surprised how much these simpler sounds can help you to stay focused on the task at hand. Settle down with a cup of tea, cosy up, and get into the sort of mood you enjoy for working.

If white noise and natural sounds are not suitable – and don’t worry, they’re not for everyone! – there are other playlists available that offer music with slower, more soothing beats. These lo-fi tracks are undeniably popular, and at the time of writing this article, I am also listening to a lo-fi playlist with music from some of my favourite video games. It’s a little sense of comfort as I focus on my tasks – have a listen to some available on your preferred audio platforms and who knows? You may just find the ideal musical distraction-muffler. Just over 50% of people admit to using music while working, and almost as many say that it also helps them to concentrate. (BBC, 2019) If it works for some, it’s worth a shot!

Another reason why having music or even a radio show playing is a good idea is, to be blunt, to alleviate loneliness. It is a fact that we are not made to be sitting alone for hours on end – we are social at our cores. Working in silence for smaller periods of time is great, but there is no denying that sometimes we need a little pick-me-up, a chat, and a little bit of laughter. Not being in an office space and living alone can have you sorely missing that chatter that makes you grin at your screen as it goes on – but playing a podcast in your ears or listening to soothing music and afternoon chats over the radio may be a great way for you to unwind a little of your stress and make you feel comforted and ready to finish the day off. Sounds good? Give it a whirl!

3. Keep Your Chin Up (and Back Straight!)

A word that many of us forget about when we are working: ergonomics. We are all guilty of getting ourselves into strange sitting positions while working. Be it tucking a leg up, leaning too far over your keyboard, or even the way you have your arm settled over your mousepad – there are little improvements you can make to improve the way you sit to undertake your office work without all of the pain. (Well, the physical pain at least. We can’t vouch for the rest of it or taking away the Monday morning blues.)

Start by checking that your feet are touching the ground. Sitting for long periods of time with your knees at awkward angles – such as sitting cross-legged on a chair – can lead to joint pains. Your arms should be able to comfortably rest on your desk without stretching over to your keyboard with a soft wrist-rest mousepad to take off pressure on your hand, and for your computer monitor always ensure that your line of vision does not sit too low. Push your monitor up until your chin is no longer needing to dip down to maintain your line of sight. This will help with your neck, and also the rest of your back’s posture. Speaking of your back – are you sitting up straight, or bent forward? Picking up a specially-made ergonomically-designed office chair can make all the difference. These chairs are often adjustable in height, and offer additional lower-back and neck supports. Do not underestimate just how valuable keeping a good posture can be.

Taking care of your body like this will help not only with your productivity, but it can also help you to remove a lot of the pain associated with day to day life. Sitting in an awkward position for hours can leave you with joint aches, and at worse, can turn to repetitive strain injury (particularly in the wrists).

Take control of your body’s health and look into ways you can improve your posture. Future you will thank your past self immensely.

4. Colourful Additions

Now for one of the largest changes you can make, but still easy once you know the direction you wish to take. A wave of a magic wand (or a credit card…) and you can start redecorating your space! We have seen an incredible amount of inventive takes on home offices over the last year, with some people going as far as to recreate their favourite places. We’ve even seen people turn their homes into a whole airport experience to give the illusion of foreign travel – it’s been an interesting time for creativity).

Start off small, such as investing in a new desk and helpful units such as stationery holders. It may not seem like much, but improvements to your visual enjoyment of your space can make your office feel more inviting and comfortable.

A plant or two is also a good choice for breaking up the ‘stale’ feeling of modern technology, allowing your space to blossom.

It’s also nice to simply watch flowers bloom over time, especially if you have a space close to a window with a lot of light streaming through.

Another investment you can make – that may require a little more planning and some permission from anyone else sharing the space – is to go for a brand new splash of colour. Green, blue, pink, yellow, white – whatever you love, go for it! We always say that there is no use in having a space to ourselves if we can’t make it our own, so why not invest in thinking up a brand new colour scheme? A little spring clean-up of your old paintwork, or even adding a beautiful feature wallpaper, could make all the difference in giving you a little corner of home that is a joy to work in. Take a look for some inspiration in design magazines or through the rest of our blog to find out what you can do.

5. Add A Little Happiness

For those finishing touches, think about what makes you happy. Really, that’s our advice! If you think about it, why would you want to work in an environment that is cold and stale when you could instead customise your little home base to be filled with what you enjoy? Working needn’t feel so tedious when you allow yourself to realise that, at least while you are working from home, you can make your workspace look any way you want it to – and that includes the minor decorations too! We’re not talking about shelving units or the paintwork here, no. It’s the little details.

Do you like having family memories around you? Are you a fan of a comic book series? Maybe you love a certain band? Or you just like a bit of the outdoors? The difference to your mood that a few ornamental pieces, plants, photographs, or something more whimsical like a soft plush toy from your childhood can make a world of change. Take my office space. Currently I have my work computer settled at my feet, desktop perched in front of me. The set-up itself is cool, dark and black. Not very enticing, but what have I done to liven it up and make it all my own? Around the screen I have placed pieces from video games I enjoy, alongside little bits of stationery that I find irresistibly cute. Looking at these things make me happy – so why not keep them where I spent a large portion of my time? I glance at them and they make me smile – something that I find valuable during my workday, especially when working on my own. If it proves a remedy for some missing happiness, then it is always worth adding.

(Caution: buying plants is highly addictive. Once you buy one, you end up with two, and a week later you have a whole greenhouse growing around you! Buy succulents responsibly. 

… Or don’t. Shh – plants are good. Buy more plants!)

Make Your House A Home

Above all, when looking for easy ways to make working from home more of a joy than a chore, it is up to your own personal decisions. Everybody’s optimal work environment is going to be different. After all, we are individuals by nature! If you are looking for more inspiration or want to go further with your DIY ventures, take a look at our range here at Shawfield Doors. You’ll find lots of fantastic new doors that could make all the difference to your little corner of home.