Working from home has its advantage


s. The short commute is nice. The relaxed dress code allows for pajama pants under the right circumstances. And it's nice to work without the annoying officemate talking your ear off about stock tips or spoiling that TV show you haven't had a chance to stream yet.

Most of us are still working remotely, and while we've managed to meet our deadlines in this new normal, we've also picked up some bad habits. We're taking longer breaks in the middle of the workday, but that means the workday starts creeping into our nights and weekends. Or you may think that since you're not going into the office every day, you can work through lunch, not take breaks, or start working from the moment you get out of bed to the moment you go to sleep at night. These bad habits can impact your productivity and your health. The key to working from home is to develop some smart habits. And that starts with a dedicated workspace — here are DIY desk ideas to get you going:
A space for everything and everything in its place
The trick to staying productive at home is to have a place in your home that is only for work. That means no working on the couch while the TV is on, no working at the dinner table (if you can avoid it) and if you ever want a good night's sleep again, no working from bed. The good news is you don't need an abundance of space for productivity. All you need is the right frame of mind and a spot you can get up and leave when work is over. If you're lucky, you have a spare bedroom or other neutral location. But more than likely, you're going to have to clear some space.


Minimum investment, maximum productivity
Your new home office needs full functionality. It will live in your living room or in your bedroom, so it will need to check the following boxes: clean, low maintenance and you want to separate from it on Friday and not feel like deadlines and emails are piling up on your day off. You're working from home, but you're still entitled to some downtime. You want a table or desk to fit your space but not take over the room. And if you can't find furniture that fits your needs, you can easily learn how to build a desk.

A custom cut plank of pine, a couple of screw-in hairpin legs, and an afternoon of sanding and finishing and you can have a custom made workspace that fits your design aesthetic for under 50 bucks. This is a great home project for a first-time DIYer: limited pieces, easy to follow instructions and it will take just as much time to put together as anything you'd order online. And when you've mastered this, you can build your own bookcase that can double as a room divider.


Iron out some wrinkles in your workflow
The humble ironing board is one of the more useful and versatile items in your home. In addition to being the perfect low-profile buffet server, it can also be used in a pinch as a coffee table, ottoman or standing desk.

Let's face it…sitting all day isn't great for us. And we know that. Our watches now remind us to get up and walk around every few hours. And with lots of cities still on lockdown, it's not like there are very many places to go. So get off your butt and on your feet for a couple of hours a day! Just remember to wear shoes. Standing barefoot all day may seem fine because you're home and your floor has carpet, but it can still cause undue stress on your hips, knees, and back.

An adjustable height work surface is also just what the doctor ordered for all those Zoom meetings by keeping your camera higher up at eye level and not on the table pointing up your nose. Your coworkers don't want to see that.
Cubicle in a box
If you don't have an unutilized space in your apartment and if things are already a little cramped without adding another piece of furniture, then your best DIY desk idea is to use what's available and get creative. Get a box and use it to keep your laptop, work papers, files and maybe a couple of items you kept on your desk at work. At the beginning of your workday, set up your box wherever there's room. Kitchen table, on your couch or even an unused closet. Unpack your office in a box every morning and pack it back up at the end of your workday. Yes, you'll probably still need your computer for other stuff but if it lives in a box where it's not as accessible, it will reduce your work anxiety and help you cut back on your screen time.


Change your scenery but stay in your bubble
Remember how you'd sometimes go over to a friend's house after school to do homework? This is kind of like that. Working from home and being alone all the time is isolating. It's something that's come up a lot during quarantine. Now that the vaccines are rolling out, we can start to spend more time outside, as long as we all stay within our bubble.

If there's someone else in your bubble that's also tired of being by themselves all day long, hang out at one person's place while you both work remotely. Even just an hour or two of face-to-face human interaction (masked and distanced when necessary, of course) can do wonders for mood, overall health and productivity.
Maintain social distance from work
Working from home can be stressful and leave you with few options when you need to relax or blow off some steam. Keeping strict rules about how and where you work will be key to maintaining a proper work-life balance, which is especially tricky right now. Because when you're working from home, where do you go to get away from work? And when you're in a tiny apartment or living your life in one room, the idea that you need to keep everything going at the same time is a tempting one. That's where coming up with the right DIY desk idea can help. Just because everything is in one room doesn't mean it needs to dominate your attention 24/7.

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