Over the past few months many of us have experienced significant changes in our employment. For some, working from home has become a realistic long-term option and, in some cases, a necessity. Sam Funnell from Fine & Country Rugby discusses how to make working at home, work for you.

At the start of lockdown, many workers scrambled to organise a work area at short notice. If this is now a long-term or permanent change, it is time to make sure the space supports your efficiency and productivity.

The ideal situation is to have a physical separation from the main living areas of your home. If you have the luxury of a room with a door that can be shut to separate work life from home life, this is likely to support productivity. The minimum requirement is that the area is well-lit, preferably with natural light, and there is enough room to comfortably hold a computer and a desk. A desk is an important psychological signifier for work and can help define any area as a work area, even if a separate room is not available.

The type of work you are involved in will define the amount of room you need, as well as the location and size of the room. You may need filing cabinets, an extra desk and additional storage space. Reducing clutter helps to maintain efficiency in purpose and creating a work triangle where everything you need is within easy reach adds to a sense of control and helps with productivity.

Obviously, advances in technology have made working from home easier, but at the same time, it can also blur the lines between personal and work time. Purge your work space of everything that isn’t work-related to assist in remaining focussed. Small adjustments, such as having a different work phone from your personal phone, not only assist in limiting distractions but also make it easier at tax time.

Managing work time is essential. While you may be saving time by not having to commute to an office, research shows that people working from home often work longer hours. Ensure you have formal breaks that involve physically moving away from the work space. Resist the temptation to take your lunchtime sandwich back to the desk to eat while you continue working.

People in small or shared houses can dedicate a shared portion of the house to work, like an open- plan office, in an area that has limited foot traffic. Do not let children, family or housemates take over. It is a workspace during your allocated office hours and needs to stay that way.

Personalising your office provides a sense of control and satisfaction. Be careful, however, to avoid clutter through over decorating. Do use houseplants in your décor. Studies show that employees are 15% more productive when workplaces have house plants.

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Sam Funnell on 07714 515484 or visit www.fineandcountry.com