Home offices saw a lot of use over the past year and a half. This is thanks in large part to the wave of remote workers who settled in at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Working from home kept individuals and families safe from the spread of the virus while still enabling them to get their jobs done.
Since restrictions have been lifted, numerous workers have opted to keep working remotely at least part of the time. Being closer to family, enjoying greater flexibility, and avoiding tedious commutes are some of the many reasons why more people are choosing to stay home. The rise of hybrid work — toiling at home some days and in the office on others — is an interesting trend to follow.
If hybrid work is calling to you, you’ll have some preparations to make. Your home office will be glad that you’re still putting it to use, but there are a few alterations you can make this summer to prepare for a brand-new year of work in 2022:
When your home office becomes a part-time arrangement, the last thing you want to do is have to tidy it up on the days you work remotely. Since summer is usually more flexible, use the time you have to deep clean your home office so that it’s spotless and orderly for the winter months. As you settle into a hybrid schedule, you won’t have to worry about your office not being ready for use.
In addition to giving the physical space a deep clean, the computer system you use to stay connected with work could also use a reboot. Clear your computer of unused data or documents that might be slowing it down or taking up space. Cancel any software subscriptions that you’re no longer using or will no longer need as you transition away from full-time remote work.
Optimize Your Efficiency
After you’ve handled the tangible aspects of your home office, it’s time to work out the kinks in your system of operations. Quarantine habits aren’t always the greatest, and there are probably a few things about your home office that should be changed to ensure maximum productivity.
While sheltering in place, you might have gotten too accustomed to the flexibility of schedule you were able to enjoy. Clients, customers, and co-workers could call or message whenever because they could largely count on you being at home. Now that life and work are reverting back to normal, this won’t always be the case.
In this situation, you would benefit greatly from implementing appointment software into your system of operations. Use scheduling links and an online calendar to book meetings and phone calls so that your new hybrid schedule doesn’t get tangled up. Look for other tools to help improve your efficiency as well as productivity hacks that will make your hybrid work setup run smoothly.
Enable Easy Transitioning
During the long months of lockdown during the pandemic, workers settled into their home offices and got comfortable. Now many companies are expecting their employees to show up at least a few times a week to the main office. If you fall into this hybrid category, you’ll fare much better by arranging your home office for easy transitioning.
Start by determining how many things you need to take from home to your work location. If all you need to transfer is your laptop, this will be easy. However, if you have other materials and paperwork that need to be moved back and forth, you’ll need to be better organized.
For example, you can implement a filing system that allows you to quickly withdraw any needed paperwork from a folder or cabinet to take to the office. You won’t have to go hunting it down, and a neat folder can be easily slid into a backpack or briefcase. Keeping your favorite writing materials or other office supplies in a carrying case also enables easy transitioning from site to site.
Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales
Classes are starting up again in August and September. Each year this means stores are putting on sales for all back-to-school essentials, from backpacks and three-hole punches to jackets and jeans. While these sales are geared toward students and their parents, you’ll be able to stock up on materials for your home office, too.
If your line of work relies on a number of paper products, hit up a back-to-school sale to stock up on everything you need at a more affordable price. This ensures that your home office will always be equipped even if you don’t know for certain the next time you’ll be working remotely.
Upgrade Your Video Technology
At the beginning of the pandemic, having poor video quality or a bad microphone was fine since the shift to remote work was new to many. Employees were doing the best they could to manage with the resources available during lockdown. Now that businesses are fully reopened, if you plan on working from home at all, you will be expected to do it right.
In anticipation of any team meetings or customer calls over videoconferencing software, amp up your home office with a better camera and mic system — if you haven’t already. You can purchase an inexpensive microphone with a USB plug-in that will work much better than your generic Apple earbuds or the microphone built into your computer. A simple webcam will give you an enhanced video feed, which will leave a better impression on any clients or shareholders you may ever meet with online.
As you continue to utilize your home office, don’t shy away making improvements to it this summer and beyond. It is yours to mold, and it doesn’t have the same restrictions a cubicle might. Above all else, prioritize productivity, and your home office will be the residence of one of America’s best workers.