Whether you've been working remotely full-time since March 2020, or you're splitting your working hours between home and the office, working from home is now a permanent part of the weekly schedule for many of us. For people who thought their remote work would be temporary and are now accepting that it won't be, we're here for you! It's never too late to make improvements to your space and to optimize your home office experience.
Designate an office space
You've probably heard this before, but it's worth repeating: having a space that exists primarily for work is important for a strong sense of work and home life balance. That doesn't mean that you need an entire room as dedicated office space - after all, the majority of people do not have an extra room they can turn into an office on a whim. What you should try to do is make the space you have function for you. Do you have a desk in your home? If you're using it for both work and play, consider a tray or basket that you can place your work materials in at the end of the day or the end of the week. Items like notepads, headsets, and other documents can and should be out of sight and out of mind until Monday. The basket can sit just under your desk, or in a close-by drawer if you have one.
On Mondays, we enter data. On Saturdays, we get back to our favourite hobbies!
In more limited spaces, you may not have a desk. Not to worry—you can still make it work! Get creative and do what you need to do to separate your work from your personal life. The bottom line is that your home should not be a source of stress after a long day. A folding table is a great option that will store well in most spaces, and it can provide you with a sense of separation between work and home simply by being an item you only use for your work day.
Rearrange your furniture
This may sound extreme, but rearranging your furniture is a great way to refresh your space. When you're rearranging furniture, think about setting your work station up so you're facing a window - sunlight and being able to see the world beyond your four walls will boost your mood and keep the day from feeling too monotonous.
Speaking of sunlight, we also recommend natural touches like plants or flowers to add pops of colour and nature to your space. You won't realize the impact a few houseplants can have until they're sitting in front of you, keeping you company during the day! Did you know that lots of houseplants are known to purify air, too?
Claim your work from home tax deduction
This is something we don't hear being talked about enough - in Canada, you may be able to claim a tax deduction when you've used your home as your work space throughout the year. We don't represent the CRA, so we can't tell you if you're eligible for this type of deduction or how much you'll be eligible for, but we can certainly point you in the right direction to learn more for the upcoming tax season! You can learn more on Canada's official website by clicking here. If you meet the criteria, you may be able to get extra money back in your tax return—and who doesn't love that?
Keep a morning routine
One of the absolute best perks of working remotely is that you can roll out of bed five minutes before your day starts. While it's fine to do this once in a while, we strongly recommend sticking to a morning routine that will start your day off with something other than work! You're no longer commuting, so you probably don't need to rise and shine two hours prior to your work day—but giving yourself even 30-45 minutes in the morning to wake up, shower, and prepare your favourite breakfast can have a huge impact on how you feel throughout the remainder of your day.
Okay, so most of us do not wake up like this. But with the addition of a morning routine, maybe we could!
Leave work at work... even at home
Something we think a lot of people experienced when we first started working from home en masse was a difficulty when it came to leaving work at work. With everything you need right in front of you, it's easy to work a little later to get those last few tasks done, or to bring your laptop with you to the couch to casually work on upcoming projects throughout the evening while you binge your latest Netflix find.
While it can reduce stress to do this once in a while, we caution our readers to really pay attention to how often they're working late, and even set limitations on how often they'll put in those extra hours. Remember: home should be a place to relax, and your job should never become synonymous with your home routine. This can lead to burnout pretty quickly, and setting boundaries early on can prevent negative consequences to your mental health.
Looking for more work from home tips? Check out our past blog post, 5 Simple Tips to Decorate Your Office!