In collaboration with Southern Office Furniture
When you work from home, the environment you work in is so important. I’ve found over the years that the space around me impacts the way I work and how productive I am too. Too much clutter? It’s hard to focus. Distractions around me? Same problem.
So how do you stay focused when you work from home? By changing your environment. Here’s a few ways that I’ve created a home office that works for me.
Create a dedicated workspace
The number one thing that’s helped me stay focused is having a home office space.
It feels like such a luxury but it’s more of an essential, especially if your home is a busy place and you struggle to concentrate with the distractions of everyday life around you. It’s also easier to customise this space to work for you, rather than trying to work in a space that’s not built for it.
I know that lots of us live in small flats or houses and there’s no space for a traditional ‘office’. If this is you, try and find a corner of a room that’s usually quiet during your working hours. This is what we’ve done – my home office is in our bedroom and it works pretty well for us.
Decorate your home office for productivity and comfort
Once you’ve created a space to work from, the next step is to make it work for you. We all work differently and your priorities are unique, so figure out what’s important to you and build your space around that.
For me it’s all about feeling calm and focused, so the first thing we did was paint our room in a soft, calm pale blue – a colour that’s said by Southern Office Furniture to help you feel calm and motivated, which I can definitely get behind. I’ve also added more blue accents to the room, like this gorgeous planter from Sainsbury’s, which also adds some fresh greenery to the space.
Another thing that’s important is comfort. If you spend long days at your desk like me, finding the right chair, desk and setup can make such a positive difference. You don’t have to spend a lot – look for practicality and comfort over design aesthetics. For me having a clear, unfussy and neutral desk means it’s not a distraction from the work that I’m doing on my screen, which helps.
Home office spaces can easily become home to clutter, and while decluttering is so worthwhile you’ll need somewhere to store all your “stuff” – in my case paperwork, office supplies, photo props, and camera gear.
I always think it’s good to live in your space a little before you invest in storage solutions. Take some time and think about what you need – do you need bookcases, filing cabinets, deep drawers? Do you want your things hidden or on display? What do you need close by and what can be kept in another space? All these questions will help you work out what kind of storage you need.
Block out distractions
Even with your own workspace, distractions are everywhere. They can be as small as a magazine at the edge of your desk or trying to work through construction noise, neighbours coming and going, and the TV downstairs.
I used to really dislike working with headphones on, but actually it’s something I’ve come to really enjoy. If you can work with music on, finding the right playlist or album can help you to find the right mood – whether you’re looking for focus, calm, motivation, or to smile as you work. The same goes for podcasts, although I personally find it hard to listen to podcasts if I’m trying to write, for example.
Set office hours
Finally, setting office hours is something that’s really helped me to stay focused and productive while working from home.
In the past I’ve worked quite flexibly, doing a few hours here and there. This works for some people, but for me I found I wasn’t always in the right mood to focus and there was always the temptation to leave the things I loved the least until last.
Instead, I’ve set some office hours for myself based on our family schedule. I’ve also created a shared calendar so it’s easy for the two of us to check in and see who’s busy and when. This makes planning for events and appointments so much easier, and it’s also a useful way to stay accountable to my goals.
How do you stay focused while working from home?
I’d love to know your thoughts!