When you’re working from home, the line between work and home often gets blurred. You can’t simply step out of your office building and call it a day. You often have to work in your bedroom, your living room, or any other room in your house — rooms that were often places where you could relax and unwind, not places where you could take your work. What’s more, having to work at home also compromises your privacy, especially if you live with your family, friends, or roommates.
But if you can have your very own office at home or at least a spare room where you can make a clear delineation between your work life and home life, then all the better! Even if the rest of your home is right outside your door, having a clear office or workspace where you can clock in and clock out when you’re done is an effective way to not only keep the work-life balance but also to increase your focus and productivity.
Treating our home workspace like our own office and designing it to look like one can help to get us in the right mood to do work. It can make us feel like we’re at work, not at home, and give some sense of normalcy amid these turbulent times. So here are some ways and tips to help make your home office feel more like your actual office and protect your privacy.
Install or use a lock
Seriously. Unless you share your workspace with someone else who needs it as much as you do, then locking your office door when you’re not around ensures that no one can go in and snoop around or mess up the order of things. Similarly, you can lock your door while you’re inside to make sure that nobody can come in and distract you unless it’s urgent. It’s the most basic option when it comes to separating your work from your fun. When you lock your door, you’re making the choice to be in work mode and not home mode by metaphorically “shutting and locking your front door” as if you’re leaving for work every day.
Decorate it like your office
If you had an office before you had to work at home, then making your home workspace look like your previous office, or at least more like an office, could help to fool your brain into thinking that you’re at work. Rearrange your furniture to the order they would be in your office or get some office furniture like a proper desk and den chair.
Get some paintings or houseplants to set the right mood and accentuate your interior. Having the right lighting or a well-lit space could also help to make you feel as if you’re somewhere else. But don’t forget about comfort, above everything else, and prioritize things that help your productivity or help you to focus on the task at hand.
Get mirrored windows
If privacy is your main concern, you might be wary of how you might look to people who can see you from outside your window. And in fact, you’re right to be worried, as it also allows potential thieves to see what kind of stuff you have inside that’s worth stealing. Not to mention the occasional creeper.
Getting a mirrored window with a protective film could help keep any unwanted peepers from looking inside your house. Whether it’s for your safety or your dignity, mirrored windows are always a safe bet. Plus it’ll make your house look really sleek, not to mention make it seem more like an office building.
Keep your workspace clean
Not only does it help to organize your workspace, but it also keeps potential distractions from interrupting your thoughts and ideas. Besides, you don’t want to spend precious minutes or even hours searching for something amid all the clutter or get distracted from work because you can’t stop thinking about how messy your desk is. It might be helpful to think of an incentive you can give yourself if you keep your desk tidy.
Maybe you can treat yourself to something, or give yourself an hour off work so you can be finished earlier. Or you can try thinking of it like you’d get in trouble with your boss or manager if they ever saw your desk in such a sorry state. In addition, keeping all your files organized and under reliable lock and key keeps your data away from prying eyes as well.