5 Tips For Improving Your Virtual Workspace In Quarantine

This article was originally published by Christopher Appello, for CLLCTVE, on The Medium. Click here to view the original article.

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As companies and higher education continue to implement virtual working and learning due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it has never been more imperative for Gen Z and Millennials to maintain a productive and comforting home office. Whether it be from reduced social interaction, a monotonous routine, or a general lack of inspiration, quarantining tends to promote lethargic, unmotivated behavior that is quite easy to normalize. Balancing home leisure and productivity can be a tricky task, especially during this unprecedented period. However, it’s not impossible to attain with some focus and persistence. Here are a few helpful tips for transforming your room into the ideal virtual workspace:

Plants, Plants, Plants.

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Buying a few plants for your workspace is not only inexpensive but also can ultimately improve your overall mood tenfold. In a 2018 NBC News article, author Anna Johansson wrote that humans have an intrinsic desire to be connected with nature; thus, a sight of natural scenery for just 40 seconds is enough to stimulate the brain into a more relaxed state. With four plants of my own, I not only spent under $30 in total (including terracotta pots which go for about $3 each), but my overall mental health and proactivity has drastically improved despite being socially isolated for so long. If plants aren’t your expertise, I recommend starting with succulents as they require much less water while still bringing your mind at ease. Regardless, adding more green to your room can do wonders for your work ethic, and you can only understand if you give it a try!

Make It Shine: Let In The Natural Light.

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If you plan on turning your room into a fully operable workspace, you also need to plan on letting in an adequate amount of natural light. While your bed may only be feet away from your office, it is crucial that you avoid the temptations of laying down and losing your concentration, both of which are easiest to do in a dark, poorly lit room. In a 2018 Harvard Business Review article, a research poll of 1,614 advisory firm employees found that 47% of the employees admitted they felt tired or very tired from the absence of natural light or a window at their office. Nevertheless, it is a commonly held idea that a brighter room promotes higher rates of productivity, lowers chances of lethargy and increases one’s general willingness to work. If you’re curious, open up your windows, let in the light and see for yourself!

Lighter and Softer Colors Are Your Best Friends.

As people have developed countless psychologically, culturally and biologically conditioned perspectives on colors and their meanings over the course of millennia, there are definitive emotions and feelings associated with every slice of the color wheel. When designing your ideal virtual workspace, look to lighter and softer colors like orange, yellow, green and blue (lighter shades of these colors work too). According to an article by Changing Minds, these colors collectively evoke feelings of creativity, enthusiasm, happiness, comfort, reliability and even liveliness. Incorporating these colors and tones into your room will not only help foster these feelings organically, but it will also help you recognize your room as a place of professionalism when you aren’t snoozing in bed.

Burn Baby, Burn

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Burning incense or sage is an ancient ritual that has been practiced for centuries among a diversity of cultures. According to Maha Living, the burning process produces negative ions, which help eliminate nearly 94% of airborne bacteria, calm the mind and increase focus. As an incense and sage consumer myself, I find that these products really aid your critical thinking while reducing your stress and anxiety levels with their aromatherapeutic capabilities. While these products are both more expensive and harder to obtain than plants, I personally find them to be more effective in motivating me to work for longer hours.

Background Music is Key.

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Have a record player or speaker lying around your room? If so, put it to good use whenever you’re in the office. While many psychological studies report that listening to music while you work is counterproductive, I have found that it is truly dependent on your personality and work style. Songs that are unfamiliar to you yet still align with your genre preference serve best for background music, especially if the track is instrumental. If you keep your music at a low, conversational volume, it can only reduce your tendency to become bored and unmotivated. As long as you feel confident that the music isn’t grabbing too much of your attention, you’re good to go.

By implementing these helpful tips into a virtual workspace of your own, both your willingness and motivation to work is guaranteed to increase. During a time of unfathomably low serotonin (I’ve been depressed in some capacity since March), it is incredibly important to develop healthy habits that keep you invigorated with life and energy. Follow this guide, and I can ensure that you’ll be ready to tackle all of your professional tasks with passion and efficiency, rare commodities in this age of uncertainty.

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