Not having a designated space for work can pose a couple of problems. First, there is no boundary between personal and professional. With work-from-home being the new normal, there is no choice but to do work at home. What used to be a safe space for relaxation has become associated with work stress.
Second, a person may be more prone to distractions when they don’t have a workspace. For example, sitting on the couch can be too comfortable, and it is easy to get lost in the world of a TV show. Working on the bed is also not conducive to productivity. Therefore, a home office conditions the brain that it is time for work and nothing else.
A lot of people are living in smaller homes because of financial constraints, especially when want to incur a massive debt on their mortgage home loan. For these people, an exclusive room for an office is a luxury. Especially for families, all the rooms are typically used as a bedroom. Thus, the home office is squeezed into a corner of another room. Some homes also do not have a designated space for work. People just find a spot and then stay there for hours.
When living in a small house or apartment, there are spaces that can fit a designated home office. With an office table and chair, anyone can set up a workspace in these areas of the home:
1. The Living Room
The living room is usually spacious. However, for some, this room is full of ornaments and whatnot to fill the space. If this is the case, consider replacing decorative items with an office table. It would also be optimal to have the chair face the opposite direction from the TV. This way, there are fewer distractions.
Living rooms also have big windows. Having the workspace face the window can help reduce stress while working because nature is soothing and relaxing. In one study, 95 percent of respondents reported a better mood after spending time outdoors with nature.
The downside of this is that people often gather in the living room. There might be kids running around or a roommate watching TV. The person working in the living room can be in an agreement with other members in the household that they use the space exclusively for a specific time of the day.
2. The Dining Room or The Kitchen
Using the kitchen or the dining area eliminates the need for an office table. It is one of those places where a person chooses a spot and stays there for hours.
The kitchen counter can recreate the feeling of a coffee shop. People sit on the counter, entertained by the barista, and secluded from everyone else in the shop. Some coffee shops also have wall counters for individual guests. To be committed to the coffee shop feel, you can light a coffee scented candle or brew coffee.
If there are several people in the house who are working from home, the dining area can be treated as a co-working space. Everyone is gathered quietly and in deep focus at work. There is a sense of camaraderie and a healthy amount of peer pressure to stay productive.
3. The Bedroom
The bedroom may contain the biggest hindrance to productivity yet: the bed. On days when people did not get enough sleep, it’s tempting to sneak in a few minutes of Z’s. Sometimes, the bed is just so comfortable to ignore.
Others tend to work on the bed. A study in the United Kingdom found that 56 percent of U.K. employees prefer working on the bed than the desk. This does not only affect productivity but also the quality of sleep. When you get used to working on the bed, the brain feels the same way. Every time a person is on the bed, their brain thinks it is time for work. As a result, it can be harder to sleep.
If a person is working on the bed, chances are their posture is not that great while working. They could be on the bed stomach down while they are supported by their elbows from the shoulders up. Another position would be sitting and slouching because the laptop is on the bed, and this is way too low for the eyes. Sustaining bad posture for a long time can cause physical problems such as back pain and discomfort on the neck.
There are times when the key to productivity is the environment. When the environment is conducive to work, the person can happily be in the zone. Consequently, they accomplish their dues for the day.