As a student, you spend a lot of time studying and completing assignments. You need a study space conducive to getting work done, like a library or your favorite coffee shop. However, COVID-19 has eliminated public study spaces as an option, leaving students to work in their homes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 29% of Americans have jobs that let them work from home. However, this number has since increased exponentially. While it’s nice being able to work in the comfort of your home, it can be a struggle to stay focused, especially if you have children to look after. However, you can create your own dedicated home workspace by following these five steps:
1. Separate your living space from your workspace
Where you relax and where you work should be two separate areas to help you create a mental boundary between “work” and “play.” Some might think that their work area must be in its own room. While this might be ideal, it’s not always possible if you’re in a small living environment. If that’s the case, designate one area of a kitchen or bedroom that you can use for work, like a table or desk.
2. Make it comfortable
Your work zone should be comfortable to sit in for long periods. Consider investing in a comfortable chair to eliminate any aches and pains in your back or neck. A good pair of headphones can also help you tune out distractions to focus on work and school. Speaking of distractions, it’s also a good idea to store your phone in a drawer or on a shelf to avoid checking it while studying.
3. Find the right lighting
Lighting can make all the difference in your home workspace, as a well-lit space avoids putting unnecessary strain on your eyes. If possible, position your workspace close to a window so that you get plenty of natural light throughout the day, which can enhance your mood and boost energy. If you can’t get any natural light in your work zone, illuminate your workspace with a desk lamp or two. If you’re working with a small table and don’t have room for a desk lamp, consider a wall-mounted lamp.
4. Creatively store supplies
Having readily accessible study supplies in your work area is important for a productive space. Get creative with storage by adding some bins to your desk or hanging wall shelves to keep supplies out of your workspace but still nearby. You can also buy desk organizers to store things like pens, papers and files. Brighten your work area by including some plants, pictures or fun knickknacks to make your space reflect your personality.
5. Designate work zones
When setting up your workspace, it can be helpful to separate your space by zones. These zones are the strategic placement of materials and tools to stay focused and productive during your workday or study session.
- Zone 1: You should have everything that you need immediate access to in this zone. The point of this zone is to enable you to work uninterrupted without having to get up or stop what you are doing. Some items that you might have near you could include your laptop, mousepad, notebook, pens and phone.
- Zone 2: This area is within arm’s reach and includes things that are used throughout the day, but not as often as items in the first zone. This could include research materials, a calculator, sticky notes or a style guide.
- Zone 3: If you use something less than once a day, it should go in this area. This zone should be in or near your workspace, but it might require you to get up to get to it. Some items that you could put here are your stapler, printer or filing cabinets. This can also be where you store your coffee maker and healthy snacks.
Keep these tips in mind to help you create a workspace that is not only unique but also productive and comfortable!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.