At this point, you’ve probably received more than an earful of advice on how to effectively work from home, from changing out of your pajamas to setting up a Zoom background. But do you know how to add joy to your remote work experience?
According to ‘tidying’ and organizing guru, Marie Kondo, creating the right work environment from home is not only essential to productivity, but to maintaining a positive state of mind, something we could all use these days. Here are a few tips from Kondo for “working joyfully” from home:
1. Declutter. A work surface scattered with papers, office supplies and coffee mugs will make it difficult to focus and be productive. Kondo advises first deciding exactly what tools are essential to your workday. Once you’ve selectively made that decision, move all of those items to a designated spot, either your home office or a box. Then, remove all nonessentials from your workspace and add one item that “sparks joy.” For Kondo, it’s a crystal or a small vase of flowers. For you, it could be a favorite photo or a special seashell—whatever makes you feel peaceful and happy. Remember, at the end of your workday, store all your work-related items out of sight.
2. Start With a Ritual. If you’re used to working in a location outside of the home, then the start of your workday is clearly marked the minute you enter your workplace. At home, it’s often not as obvious, so Kondo recommends creating a small, symbolic activity to signal the start of your workday. She strikes a tuning fork and diffuses a stimulating essential oil, but it can be anything you like. You could light a candle, repeat a mantra or prayer, or write a quick journal entry stating your intention for the day. The idea is to make it simple and brief.
3. Create Boundaries. Distractions and interruptions may be multiplied at home, so setting boundaries to focus on what’s most important work-wise is essential. Close email and turn off notifications, and let family members know that you’re off limits for certain periods during the day. Be sure to schedule breaks into your calendar to take a walk, have lunch at the kitchen table (provided it’s not currently serving as your workspace), or play with your kids or pets.
4. Stay Connected. The hardest part of working from home can be the separation from your colleagues, so be sure to make time for connecting by video or phone. As Kondo says, the element of human warmth gets lost in emails and texts, so make time to see and hear other people.