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7 Ways to Create the Perfect Home Office

7 Ways to Create the Perfect Home Office

As millennials in or entering the work force, we value a healthy work-life balance. Flexibility and time are seen as some of the most important benefits of a job—even over health insurance.

Part of this flexibility includes the option to work from home—something that over 92 percent of millennials would prefer. Whether you are an entrepreneur launching a business from home, a parent working part time, or a full-time remote employee, you need to create an appropriate home office space to increase productivity.

How do you create the perfect work space that will facilitate concentration and hard work? These tips and tricks can help the young working professional create the perfect home office space.

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1. Figure Out What Works for You

The beauty of working from home is that you get to create your own personal work space and a routine that is suited to your needs, style, and schedule. No more cubicle seating or required clock-in times. But before you begin revamping your home office, ask yourself this question:

What type of environment works for me?

You know yourself better than anyone else, so it only makes sense to design an office space that works for YOU. When decorating, determine if you’d like to use a standing desk or prefer to work from the kitchen table. Decide if you’d like to position your desk to face the window’s open views or if you’d rather face the wall and avoid outside distractions. Consider whether you work better while listening to music or if ambient noise is a better fit. Ask yourself what increases your productivity and energy and design your space according to those needs.

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2. Create an Action Plan for Distractions

While working from home has many perks, it’s often easy to get sidetracked. Create an action plan to deal with distractions and stay organized when working from home. Set boundaries and let people know your dedicated office hours. Additionally, consider establishing cues for your roommate, spouse, or other family members. Maybe a closed door means “do not disturb” or certain hours are quiet hours in the home. Whatever your plan is, communicate it to others to make your home office the perfect working space.

3. Paint the Walls a Color You Love

Color is an easy and effective way to boost your mood and productivity. As you will spend at least 40 hours a week in your office, take the time to choose a color that excites you each day. Colors can impact the way you think, behave, and perform, and the right color could have subtle effects on the overall success of your work.

4. Write with Nice Pens

While a Bic will get the job done, a nice pen makes taking notes a little bit better. While you can’t control the office supply purchasing at a brick-and-mortar office, you can control which supplies you stock in your home office. It’s your office, and you get to choose what products you use.

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5. Install Automated Lighting

With a growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use, millennials are increasingly connected to everything on their smart phone or tablet. Use smart technology in your new office by installing smart lights. If you connect these lights to your smartphone, you can change the hue and brightness of your lights while seated at your desk. Home automation features in your home office give you a better range of control over your workspace, ultimately leading to more productivity and progress at the end of the day.

6. Get a Delicious-smelling Candle

Purchase a candle with an aroma you can’t resist. A fresh scent is a great way to feel relaxed and focused throughout the day.  Because smell is associated with experience, you can choose a smell that reminds you of a have a happy time in order to boost your mood. While it’s a simple idea, a nice smell could make you more inclined to enjoy your work.

7. Install an Indoor Camera

Do you ever wonder how much time you spend working on legitimate projects versus how much time you spend surfing the internet each day? Consider installing an indoor camera in your home office. At the end of the business day, check the recorded feed and see how you actually spent your time. From the recordings, you can learn when you are most productive, what triggers sidetrack you, and how to avoid distractions in the future. An indoor camera can also come in handy if you want to check in on children or pets throughout the day without having to leave your office.

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Creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing home-office will help you increase productivity in your work day and career. Whether you remodel your entire office or add a few small fixtures to your desk, updating your home-office space is the perfect way to stay up-to-date with the other working millennial women.

Featured photo credit: Gabriel Beaudry via unsplash.com

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Sage Singleton

Outreach Strategist

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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