Recently, more and more households have had to make room for online workplaces, putting added demand on physical spaces dedicated to home-office use. This can become a stressful situation, especially when – due to room restrictions or Wi-Fi signal limitations – more than one adult or student is required to use the same spot to engage in frequent video conferencing. Optimizing the space is critical. As much as they need access to smart technology, users also need a workspace with a clean desktop or table. Saving files in digital form as much as possible will help keep the work area clear, and make subsequent meetings less stressful.

For a backdrop, a simple blank wall is fine. But, if you’re choosing a bookshelf, minimize visual clutter that may be too distracting or revealing. If you need to block off background views due to other private family activities, consider a portable room divider or “dressing screen”. It’s a simple solution that protects privacy and serves as a psychological barrier to keep assignments out of view when the workday is done. For those more technically inclined, many of the video-conferencing apps offer “virtual backgrounds” that can place your home office in an endless set of locations, from international sites to outer space vistas.