Work Environment And Ambience

Although some aspects of work-from-home arrangements are convenient (a more relaxed dress code, for example), working from home is proving be a very trying obstacle to overcome, with diverse realities based on different living conditions. Smaller apartment-based urban dwellings have a distinct challenge of maintaining suitable workspace in limited living amenities, while sub-urban and rural residences may face a challenge of not having suitable infrastructure or capacity available to support the work that needs to be done. We cannot do much to change the available infrastructure, but we can focus on those areas within our locus of control, and try to optimize these for greater impact.

Dedicated Work Area: The working-from-home reality tends to allow work to bleed into our other living spaces – the living room, the dining table, the bedroom and so on. Whilst this allows for you to be productive in relative comfort of your living quarters and make full use of the space you have, it has the double effect of allowing you ‘no-escape’ from your new working environment, which can contribute to faster burn-out or work-saturation. It is suggested that a suitable coping strategy is dedicating a specific area for work-related tasks. This can be a desk, room or floor (some persons have even built annexed home-studies) that allow you to dedicate to work-related material and tasks. This practice helps with mentally ‘signing-in’ to work, and allows you to ‘sign-out’ as per your time-sets, leaving other areas of your home to be work-free and help maintain balance in your life. If your living space is limited, consider having a work-kit that you set out in preparation for the start of work, and which can be packed-up and stowed when you are done, so that it’s no longer ‘in your face’ and in your space.

Ambient Temperature: Numerous studies have suggested that ambient temperature is a critical factor in work performance, and an optimal ambient temperature of 25.5° C (approx. 77° F) is best conducive to human comfort. If you are in a controlled temperature environment (e.g. air-conditioned space), this may be an easy setting to fix, but if not, you would want to select an area that is relatively cool (or warm, depending on your current climate) and conducive to operate from within your time-sets.

Work Attire: In many instances, working from the comfort of your home allows you to dress in relaxed attire, and even for online meetings persons have been sharing ‘behind-the-scenes’ views on social media of being dressed from the waist up, with much more relaxed attire otherwise. For some, however, relaxed attire accompanies a relaxed mind-set, which can affect work-performance. If this affects you, consider having specific attire for work-hours that you maintain – maybe not as elaborate as if you were heading to the office, but at least to get you in the mindset for performing in the tasks you have slated.