How to Improve Productivity at Your Home Office
As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, more and more employees are given the flexibility of working from home. Others telecommute a few days per week. Working in a home office offers perks as well as distractions. Here’s how to improve productivity at the home office.
Perks of Working from Home
Work environments have dramatically shifted amidst the coronavirus era—some permanently. Staff now communicate, connect, and produce via a hybrid model. A small number of employees welcome this change, while most long for the social interactions found next to the water cooler.
Once commuters who currently work from home have gained an extra hour to dedicate to the workday, and many work-related tasks can be accomplished at home without losing quality or productivity. Still, distractions in a home office can detract from an employee’s concentration.
Common distractions include children, a spouse, and neighbors. Those who work from home may find themselves diverted by pets who need care or laundry that must be done. Loved ones do not always grasp that non-emergency disruptions are not permissible in a virtual office.
Although working in a home office provides an employee with flexibility, a negligible commute to the home office and the comfort of working in pajamas, remaining productive demands attention, focus and a few proven tactics, like the ones that follow.
6 Tips to Improve Productivity when Working from Home
1. Design a Functional Space
A home office does not require a grand oak desk and a view of a calming pond in order to be functional. However, design does have an impact on productivity. The first task is to find a quiet space in the home in which to focus attention on work projects.
Select a room with windows. Natural light improves the work environment, boosting mood and overall wellbeing. An employee whose wellbeing is fulfilled tends to be more engaged and performs better. Plus, daylight reduces eyestrain, headaches, and drowsiness. Add plants for an optimal workspace.
2. Create a Schedule
Devices constantly send notifications; the neighbors call, and dishes pile up in the sink. While certain distractions require attention, it is important to prioritize responsibilities when working from a home office. One way to achieve this is to create a schedule for daily tasks.
Define blocks of time in which to check in with a manager and socialize with colleagues. In a virtual office, casual chats with coworkers are missing, making it important to be intentional about making up for the loss. Also schedule times to call loved ones and walk the dog.
An ideal work-from-home schedule starts at the same time each day. Rather than be tempted to do yardwork, stick to a pre-determined schedule—similar to working in the office. Without a familiar work schedule, sleeping in or performing housework diminishes productivity.
3. Turn Off Devices
An important part of staying focused is turning off devices. Social media notifications and online ads constantly appear. Work-related stress can cause an employee to distract himself by responding to devices. Instead, resist the urge and remain disciplined in order to stay productive.
4. Hang Do Not Disturb Signs
Especially in a household full of children, an employee working from home must establish clear boundaries. Visual cues that indicate availability are useful. Hang a sign on the office door that lets housemates know available times as well as specific time frames to not interrupt.
5. Schedule Breaks
Breaks from work activities offer relief and encourage improved engagement upon return to tasks. Keep items, like apps, books, or exercise equipment, within reach. However, ensure these favorites are stored out of sight so as not to be drawn to them during working hours.
Exercise equipment, including a treadmill or resistance bands, kept in the home office will facilitate short breaks. Bursts of physical activity re-energizes employees mentally and physically and helps them return to work activities with renewed focus. Exercise also reduces stress levels.
Brief blocks of physical activity during work hours boosts work performance, enhances creativity, allows employees to learn quicker, sharpens memory and improves concentration. Employees who schedule exercise into their workday also manage their time better and experience greater work satisfaction.
6. Prepare Meals in Advance
Balanced meals enhance cognitive performance, supplying an individual with the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to function throughout the workday. But meals and snacks can be distracting when attempting to figure out what to eat, how to prepare it and when.
Instead of unintentionally losing time during the workday to figure out what to eat, prepare meals and snacks in advance. Graze on foods, like almonds, protein bars and fruits, throughout the day to prevent a drop in blood sugar, and, consequently, a reduction in work performance.
Optimum work performance is readily achieved in part by consuming nutrients that foster the production of dopamine, which plays a key role in motivation and engagement. Healthy foods are beneficial for not only the physical body but the creative mind.
Once the current health crisis ends, employees will have the option to return to the office. Some staff will jump at the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues. When they return, however, the physical office may need to be redesigned to accommodate new coronavirus health safety guidelines.
Work with an Office Mover
Chicago Office Movers is prepared to provide the moving services for office renovation and remodeling to facilitate an upcoming project. Prior to the office renovation, our moving crews will carefully relocate furniture and equipment. We pack and label boxes and disassemble appliances and equipment.
Once the office renovation or update is complete, the moving crews at Chicago Office Movers will set up the new equipment and reinstall appliances. We also provide unpacking services. Our goal is to ensure your office space is ready for your employees as quickly and affordably as possible.
Whether your company is considering an office renovation, remodeling, or relocation, choose Chicago Office Movers for your moving needs. Our reputable moving company serves Chicagoland businesses with dedication, and countless satisfied customers can attest to our professionalism.
Call us at 312-244-2246 for a free estimate.
Relocating a business involves risk, and, therefore, several months of planning, negotiating with landlords and ensuring the transition causes the least disruption to operations. While small businesses can relocate sooner, large and average-sized offices can expect the following moving timetable.
An average office move can take up to 12 months, however, most office moves handled by Chicago Office Movers usually take between 5 and 9 months
1. Look for a New Space 12 Months in Advance
Business owners who anticipate relocating should begin planning at least 12 months in advance. Plans for moving start with looking for a new office space. Finding the right office can take a substantial amount of time, especially when multiple decision-makers are involved in the process.
The current office may no longer suit the needs of the business. Rapidly growing businesses require a larger office space. Downsizing also prompts business owners to search for a new, smaller space. A visit to the prospective location is important to get a sense of what the space affords.
Certain cities will require a larger or smaller budget, which can potentially exclude some locations from the search. Consider location, such as urban or suburban, and public transportation options for employees. Nearby neighborhood amenities also contribute to the quality of employee work life.
When on the hunt for a new office, factor in the lease terms. Short-term leases are attractive for small businesses, especially those that are likely to outgrow an existing space within a short span of time. It is also helpful to explore the community of tenants to determine affability.
2. Seal the Deal with a Landlord 3 to 6 Months in Advance
Once a desirable office space is found, negotiate the lease terms with the landlord. Commercial leases are flexible and typically average three years. Work with a tenant rep broker or a lawyer who can win favorable deals and help a business owner understand complex clauses.
Counteroffer asked base rent, initially offering 10 to 15 percent less than what the landlord asks. Try to negotiate on more than one location at a time, which allows business owners to walk away from at least one negotiation. Be aware that a longer lease term results in a better base rent.
3. Announce the Relocation 2 to 6 Months in Advance
Office staff should be informed of the upcoming move well in advance. Hold a staff meeting and provide each member of the office team with a detailed plan of the move. Ask for input from employees that would help make the relocation smoother and less disruptive to business operations.
If possible, allow a virtual tour of the new office space. Once team members see where they will be working, they will know what to expect and can continue performing without the tension often associated with being unprepared for the future.
Delegate tasks to each employee in preparation for the relocation. Check to see if any office employees require new equipment. An option to retain good employees is to offer a relocation package, which may include transportation expenses, temporary housing and finding a home.
4. Hire a Commercial Mover 4 to 8 Weeks in Advance
A commercial moving company experienced in corporate relocations will be a company’s biggest asset when it comes to facilitating a smooth office move. Research a handful of potential commercial movers, paying careful attention to customer reviews and ratings, affordability, and availability.
Spring and summer are the peak moving seasons, and moving companies are tightly booked. Relocating during the off-peak seasons of autumn and winter is cost effective and gives business owners increased flexibility and scheduling options. Plus, fall and winter’s less congested highways speed up the move.
5. Pack IT Equipment 1 to 3 Weeks in Advance
Once the relocation date is set, hire information technology (IT) professionals to back up all important business data. Experts are necessary to prevent risks, such as the loss of information. Technology can be replaced, but the sensitive business data cannot.
The process for packing and relocating IT equipment, including disconnecting services and shutting down systems, is lengthy and complex. Hire IT technicians if experienced employees are unavailable to disconnect all cables safely and correctly. Photograph wire connections so that reassembly is easier at the new destination.
6. Prepare the New Office Within 1 to 4 Months
Once the commercial mover arrives at the new office destination, it is time to unpack and prepare the new workspace. Depending on the size of the office and the number of personnel, this process can range from one to four months.
All office furniture and equipment will need to be unpacked and reassembled. Professionally set up the IT systems and equipment. Establish all utilities and internet connections. In the event any equipment is damaged during transport, be prepared to start immediate repairs or replace the units.
Work with a Commercial Mover
A corporate relocation is a stressful event but partnering with a commercial mover with experience shifting large and small companies to new destinations eliminates the tension. Chicago Office Movers is a highly rated commercial mover with services that will meet all your business relocation needs.
Crews at Chicago Office Movers are licensed, trained and background-checked to ensure your business goods are handled safely and securely. We have successfully moved fragile IT systems, delicate electronics, antiques, science lab equipment, artwork, heavy office furniture and cubicles.
Chicago Office Movers’ trucks are climate-controlled and feature air-ride suspensions, so that your technology remains protected during transport. With full access to our tracking equipment, business owners have the ability to track the movement of goods during the relocation process.
Follow in the footsteps of prestigious companies, like Alcatel Lucent and Northwestern University, that have utilized our commercial moving services with great satisfaction. Our multiple five-star ratings are a testimony to our commitment to excellence and dedication to serving area businesses.
Get a Free Estimate
Choose Chicago Office Movers for reliable and comprehensive corporate relocation services. We provide budget-friendly moving services, from long- and short-term storage to packing and unpacking.
Whether you plan to move locally, long distance or internationally, contact us for a free estimate at 312-244-2246 or by filling out a contact form.
An office renovation demands flexibility. The last thing a business owner needs is an interruption to workflow amidst the disruptions already caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The reduced workforce prompted by the health crisis might, however, provide a timely opportunity to renovate an office.
Here are some tips on how to complete the renovation project.
1. Develop a Strategy
Firstly, it is important to devise a renovation strategy. Develop a renovation budget to guide the project from the planning stage through completion. Evaluate the costs of construction, materials, labor and extras. Surprise costs are not uncommon, so budget to accommodate unanticipated expenses.
An office renovation is likely to disrupt workflow. Consider where to put employees, provided staff still work onsite. If the office is nearly empty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, repositioning existing personnel during the renovation will be less problematic.
When crafting an office renovation design, keep in mind important factors that will affect operations. Evaluate the potential for future growth, advancements in technology, functionality, employee work preferences and the number of office staff. Business owners may consider current office design trends.
A proposed timeline will be extremely beneficial to ensure a smooth renovation. In Chicagoland, the office building may be exposed to harsh winter weather. Certain phases of the renovation may be affected by snow and ice. Factor in delays due to inclement weather to avoid unexpected costs.
Keep lines of communication open with all the people involved in the office renovation project. These professionals include the design team, general contractor, office staff, landlord and stakeholders. Everyone should be informed about the anticipated work schedule and project plans.
Send out a proposed work schedule to everyone involved, and ensure it is updated whenever changes occur. Involve employees by holding a virtual meeting (due to COVID-19 concerns) and ask them to voice their concerns and design preferences before construction even starts.
3. Maintain Productivity
An office renovation can temporarily disrupt employee productivity, even when staff work remotely. Avoid a drop in productivity for office employees who continue to work onsite by communicating often, minimizing construction noise, and ensuring adequate artificial or natural light are available.
The current pandemic has forced many office staff to work from home. An office with minimal employees onsite is ideal for starting and finishing construction work. If staff still work onsite, schedule contractors in the late evening hours when employees are gone.
4. Build Health Safety Features
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced drastic changes to businesses. As lockdown measures encourage remote workforces, business owners may consider subdividing existing office space. The resulting smaller units make better use of the decreased employee footprint upon which businesses now rely.
Office floorplans must be altered in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing will continue, and the office must accommodate public health safety measures. Place workstations farther apart, and build cubicle dividers high enough to prevent respiratory droplets from reaching other staff.
If cubicles are too pricey for the budget or do not complement the office layout, install sneeze guards instead. Plastic or glass shields protect employees from respiratory droplets emitted through sneezing and coughing. Sneeze guards may be portable or permanent and are affordable.
Proper ventilation is critical in the coronavirus era, especially in offices with moderate- and high-risk exposure. Clean, fresh air (without re-circulation) is necessary inside offices. During the renovation, increase ventilation in the office via natural or artificial means. Clean air filters regularly, too.
5. Capitalize on Strengths
Most office buildings have strengths. Focus on what features made the building attractive when it was brand-new. The building might have solid structure. If so, consider taking down some walls to allow more natural light into the interior space. Or, open the space to increase the property’s value.
Update the property with finishes and graphics. Consider freshening up the signage, which is a cost-effective measure. The goal is to enhance the building’s curb appeal to create a positive first impression. Keep in mind that younger generation employees seek more daylight and open spacing.
Install environmentally friendly features during the office renovation. When designing or installing new electrical fixtures, plan on using technologies that save energy, such as long-lasting, low-energy light bulbs. Add sensors or time switches to lighting to prevent a waste of energy.
Build out the office using locally sourced recycled, refurbished and sustainable materials. Encourage efficient waste policies by adding centrally located recycling areas. Donate outdated furniture instead of discarding them in the trash. Environmentally friendly companies are more attractive to customers.
Once the office has been successfully renovated, employees who temporarily work remotely will return. Rather than expect them to jump in, introduce staff to the changes. Train employees on the new technologies and the space in which they will work. Provide tours and video training, too.
Commercial Moving Services
Commercial contractors are considered essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Locating a suitable contractor to begin renovations will require an investment of time and resources. When you’ve settled on a reliable contractor, you’ll require the commercial moving services of Chicago Office Movers.
An office renovation requires the physical ability to move all the desks, filing cabinets, chairs and equipment. Chicago Office Movers provides the manpower companies need to clear space for a renovation project. Our commercial movers are also available to disassemble equipment.
Chicago Office Movers are trained to skillfully and carefully pack, label and move office goods to an offsite storage facility or another building. Our office movers load all boxes into our secure moving truck. Our teams also dispose of or donate old office furniture.
Moving crews from Chicago Office Movers will unpack and reassemble any equipment and furniture once the renovation is complete. We also unpack small office supplies, plants and decorations so that your commercial space is usable immediately after the office renovation.
Chicago Office Movers takes every precaution during the turbulent pandemic. We clean and disinfect moving trucks and practice social distancing.
When your Chicago, Illinois, office will be renovated in the near future, consult Chicago Office Movers at 312-244-2246 or through a contact form for expert handling of your office goods. We provide free estimates.
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation and leaves offices empty, businesses are restructuring their work from home policies. Some staff may return to work, while others will permanently work from home. What can offices do with idle furniture? Donate used furniture to local organizations.
Company managers may be reassessing their need for office furniture during the coronavirus health crisis. Fewer team members work onsite, making some office goods no longer necessary. Or the staggered shifts will prompt managers to rethink the office floor plans.
What to do with Surplus Furniture
Surplus office furniture may be donated to help non-profits in need. Even large quantities of high-value items may be donated to organizations that sell them and use the profits to offset project costs. Reputable organizations keep used office furniture out of landfills.
Environmental pressures are relieved when office furniture is reused and kept out of landfills. Why throw away office furniture when a small business or family can utilize the goods? Upcycling used office furniture also gives the donation recipients an opportunity to turn them into something new.
Office furniture that is no longer needed as companies restructure their office floor plans in the coronavirus era may be sent to area schools, foundations, charities and social programs. Waste solutions are important to companies that want to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility.
Companies that donate used office furniture may also claim tax deductions when they donate to a qualified charitable organization or non-profit. Donations with a value of over $5000 require the services of an appraiser to provide the proper paperwork needed to claim a tax deduction.
Five steps to complete office furniture donations:
- Plan the donation process several weeks ahead of the scheduled pickup date, as agencies are extremely busy.
- Look for local charitable organizations, like the ones that follow.
- Appraise the furniture.
- Schedule the pickup.
- Get a receipt.
Many charitable organizations in Chicago offer free pickup services of the used office furniture. These organizations manage the labor and logistics surrounding the donation. Companies that donate their surplus office goods can rest easy knowing their excess furniture will be in good hands.
1. Chicago Furniture Bank
As the office sits nearly vacant amidst the coronavirus crisis, the break room will remain 100 percent unused. Work life may not return to the status quo once the pandemic ends. Now is a good time to donate the kitchen table and chairs from the lunch and break rooms.
Chicago Furniture Bank accepts kitchen furniture, as well as coffee tables, lamps, mirrors, desks, end tables, couches and chairs. The area non-profit donates its collection of used furniture to families in need. In a span of two years, the organization has kept 750 tons of furniture out of local landfills.
2. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Chicago
Habitat for Humanity will take a wide range of used office furniture, as well as cabinets, windows, doors, carpeting, knobs and hinges, countertops and functional appliances. The proceeds from the sales of donated goods go back into the non-profit to help Chicagoans find affordable housing.
All furniture donated to Habitat for Humanity must be in excellent condition. Upholstered furniture should not be ripped, stained or otherwise damaged. In order to schedule a pickup, donating companies are required to submit a photo of the office furniture.
Habitat for Humanity has the right to refuse any donation. The non-profit will not accept donations of furniture items that are known to have a low turnover rate. The organization will also not take donations of goods that are in need of repair.
3. Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, a well-known local charity, will take any type of used office furniture, even the television in the office breakroom. Chicagoans in need benefit from the Salvation Army’s charitable services. Donated items also help fund the Salvation Army’s rehabilitation programs.
The Salvation Army does not provide a valuation of donated items. Companies that donate are responsible for determining the approximate value of tax-deductible donations. The non-profit offers a Donation Value Guide to help companies determine the estimated value of some items.
For valuation purposes, for instance, the office desk and upholstered chair have a low value of $26 and a high value of between $104 and $145 each. The office waiting room sofa may be donated and carries a low value of $36 and a high value of $207.
4. Cancer Federation Chicago
The Cancer Federation Chicago accepts furniture of all types. Similar to Habitat for Humanity, the Cancer Federation Chicago will not accept furniture that is in need of repair. The non-profit will also not accept metal desks and used furniture made of particle board or pressed wood.
Private companies and stores benefit from the sale of items by the Federation. The funds from the sales support cancer research as well as education programs for cancer patients and their families. Pickups of donatable furniture may be conveniently scheduled on the organization’s website.
Get Help from a Commercial Mover
While local charitable organizations will pick up used office furniture, company managers may need professional help when they have to move office goods in preparation for a renovation. Chicago Office Movers is available to help you move furniture when you have a planned remodeling project.
Chicago Office Movers’ teams of experienced office movers will remove and install furniture, fixtures and large equipment. When you need to move items into storage, our skilled professionals will safely relocate the goods. We also provide a detailed inventory list of items relocated to our secure storage facilities.
Diverse local businesses utilize the invaluable moving services provided by Chicago Office Movers. Our satisfied customers include area businesses in the hospitality industry, government agencies, educational institutions and commercial businesses, among many others. We work with you to understand your business’ unique needs.
Consult Chicago Office Movers when you are planning a relocation within the Windy City, when you have goods to be moved into storage or when a renovation is on the horizon. As a reputable commercial mover, we proudly serve businesses in Chicago, Illinois.
Get a Free Estimate
Give us a call at 312-244-2246 or fill out a contact form to receive a free estimate regarding your next move or furniture donation.
Relocating an office is a major event. A lot goes into packing and unpacking the office goods. When you are looking to reduce the stress associated with relocating an office, consider color coding the moving boxes. Here are five practical tips to smoothly transition from office to office.
Before packing up the office, make a conscious decision to donate or sell any unused office equipment or items that will no longer serve a functional purpose in the new space. Moving fewer items will be more organized, less stressful—and preferable.
Importance of Color Coding Boxes
Also prior to the move, business managers should communicate the contents of the boxes to the commercial mover. When surrounded by mountains of plain cardboard boxes, it can be challenging to correctly identify each one. Color coded moving boxes are the solution to this common predicament!
Unpacking is manageable when the movers and office personnel know what box belongs in each room. Each color assigned to an individual moving box should represent a particular zone. The copy room, for instance, should be assigned a certain color, and the breakroom kitchen a different one.
A piece of red tape, for example, may be placed on all the boxes containing storage items. The office supplies may be packed into multiple boxes with purple tape adhered to them. Color coding in such a way helps to quickly identify the contents of the boxes without unpacking them.
Such a tactic is extremely useful since the items that require immediate unpacking can be quickly identified. Knowing what is inside the boxes helps office managers seamlessly continue business operations without experiencing the disruptions caused by the avoidable hassles of unpacking.
1. Gather the right supplies.
First and foremost, colored duct tape is necessary to color code moving boxes with ease. Large selections of colored duct tape may be found in local retail stores. Choose solid colored duct tape, as opposed to patterned ones, to facilitate quick and easy legibility.
Waterproof permanent markers are needed to write on the colored duct tape. If opting for colored duct tape, choose black permanent markers. The waterproof feature of the markers prevents the ink on the labels from smudging during rainy weather. Offices can always re-use the markers later.
2. Pack the boxes smartly.
In order for the color-coding process to work effectively, the boxes must be packed properly. Smart packing simply means packing similar items together in each box. Office supplies belong in a separate box, while important records should be packed together in a different one.
Mixing up the contents in each box may save on the number of boxes utilized during the move, but it also makes unpacking much more difficult than necessary. Labeling is also easier when the box contains only the items listed on the colored duct tape.
3. Label each box with details.
Each box should be labeled with descriptive information. Noting the contents of the box and what room it goes into is important. Write down the general weight of the box and whether or not it is fragile. Draw arrows to show which way the moving crew should hold the boxes.
4. Place the labels strategically.
The colored duct tape ideally should be adhered to the sides of the boxes. Some moving companies recommend only one side of the box needs to be identified with the tape. However, office personnel might go as far as placing the color-coded tape on multiple sides of each box.
Avoid placing the labels solely on top of the boxes. When the boxes are piled on top of one another in the moving truck, office employees will be unable to see the labels. Adhering the labels on the sides of the boxes allows staff to see them at first glance.
Upon arrival at the destination, the office manager in charge will be better able to direct moving crews as to where to place each box. Depending on the label, some boxes may not require unpacking right away. The color-coded strategy will thus serve its purpose.
5. Create a master list.
Creating a master list of the colors assigned to each box is extremely helpful. Keep the master list in a safe place or with the office team member in charge of the move. Be sure the master list can be readily accessed upon arrival at the destination.
Consider using Google Docs or Google Sheets to create the master list. The ease of online programs allows users to access the document anywhere and on any device. Office managers may also want to print out a hard copy (but remember this can get lost during the move).
Another tip is to print several copies of the master list. Hang one master list in a highly visible spot on each floor of the new office space or in each room. Moving crews will reference the list, which facilitates the correct delivery of each box to the appropriate room.
Work with a Professional Mover
Packing up your office can take time away from business operations. Instead, assign the task of packing to an experienced and office mover, like Chicago Office Movers. Our highly efficient packing services are top notch and trusted by many local businesses.
When choosing Chicago Office Movers to pack your office goods, you can expect careful handling of your fragile office equipment. Each item is organized, wrapped, and securely packed in sturdy boxes to ensure a smooth transition to your new office space.
Our union movers are trained and background checked, allowing area businesses to place full confidence in our professional packing services. As a part of our comprehensive moving services, we also unpack office goods. Our moving crews will place each box in its correct location at the destination.
Chicago Office Movers has served Chicagoland for the past 35 years. When you need an office relocation company to handle every aspect of your move, count on Chicago Office Movers.
We offer a free estimate for our moving and packing services to businesses in the Windy City. Give us a call at 312-244-2246.