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How to Be More Productive at the Home Office

According to a 2017 survey by Benefits Canada:

• 47% of Canadians work at home more than half of the week
• 11% of Canadians work from home full-time
• 54% said they work at home to stay productive if they travel for work

Since there is an increase in people working from home, the home office takes on greater importance in both design and functionality.

After all, if your home office doesn’t work efficiently, chances are you won’t be able to either.

If you’re one of the 47% of Canadians who has a home office, here are some tips to keep you productive, courtesy of Closets Plus.

Declutter often

It’s amazing how much one can accumulate around the house in no time flat:

• Old tools and junk in the garage
• Unwanted/unused small appliances in the kitchen pantry
• Stacks of boxes inside your walk-in closet

The home office is no different. Before long, it’ll be full of things like:

• Empty coffee cups
• Books
• Old smartphones or tablets you no longer use
• Piles and piles of paper
• Post-it notes all over the place

As tempting or convenient it is for you, (or your family) to use the home office as an extra storage solution, don’t. The more cluttered it is, the less productive you’ll be.

Frequently going through your office and getting rid of anything that serves no purpose will help.

Give your eyes a break from time-to-time

If you work alone while at home, it’s easy to get lost in what you’re doing and stare at a computer screen for hours on end.

That’s bad. Not only will it hamper your production, but it’s also not good for your eyes either.

Instead, set a running timer for 20 minutes and follow the “20-20-20” plan:

• EVERY 20 MINUTES: Look away from your screen
• 20 YARDS: Stare at an object (like a tree outside a window)
• 20 SECONDS: Look at that object for 20 seconds

That’s all it takes to quickly refocus your mind and gives your eyes a much-needed respite from glaring at a screen for hours on end.

Think ergonomically

A big part of working at home is being comfortable.

But if you’ve got constant back pain because your chair or desk isn’t at the right height, you’re not going to feel your best.

And your work will suffer for it.

Pay attention to ergonomic comfort when furnishing your home office with accessories like a:

• Desk
• Chair
• Table
• Keyboard
• Computer mouse

For most people, working at home involves using a computer for a majority of the day.

Here then, are some tips to help you work comfortably and safely:

• Maintain good posture and use a back or chair support if necessary
• Keep your feet firmly supported on the floor or use a footrest
• Get up and walk or stretch once an hour for 5 minutes
• Keep things close at hand, (like a computer mouse or phone), so you don’t have to reach for them
• Set up your computer monitor so it’s directly in front of you and slightly downward

Get good lighting

When setting up a home office, many people focus on the equipment and furniture they need.

But an often overlooked aspect is the lighting used throughout the home office.

For example:

• Does enough natural light shine through?
• Is your desk lamp too bright or too dim?
• Are there areas of your home office which could use extra light, (such as a floor lamp)?
• Does the light in your office glare off onto your computer screen?

The right light does more than illuminate your workspace.

It also helps you to concentrate, stay positive and can lead to better sleep too.

So when setting up lights and lamps, find the best bulbs for all your light fixtures. If they’re too bright, you might feel overwhelmed. If they’re too soft, you might find it hard to focus.

One last thing to remember: You’ll need perfect lighting to help you get through those all-night working sessions or cloudy days where no sunlight can get through.

Update your technology often

If your computer crashes, if the printer fails, or if your Internet connection goes down, you might not be able to call tech support to help you out.

Instead, you’ll want to invest in newer, more reliable products you can count on.

Here’s why:

• You’ll simply be more productive
• Less chance you’ll experience unwanted or unexpected downtime, (and the negative effect it has on your mood)
• You won’t have to worry about catastrophic data crashes

As you update your technology, you might want to supplement it with things like:

• External hard drive
• Additional monitors
• Charging stations
• New/latest computer antivirus software
• Cables and cords, (in case your wireless goes down)

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