Remote work, with the right workspace, is great. Most aspects of a home office appeal to just about anyone. There are tons of remote work benefits, like no commute, no dress code, and no one stopping to talk while you’re trying to get out the door. You get to personalize your space as much as you want. Unless you work inflexible office hours, you have the freedom to run last-minute errands or walk your dog.
But working a remote job can also be challenging. Being your own task manager means you’re responsible for getting yourself to that desk and completing every task—without the pressure of someone looking over your shoulder to motivate you. It often means providing your own technology and equipment, and repairing it when it’s on the fritz. It can also be isolating; while avoiding the stress of workplace politics, you may miss out on many positive social interactions.
Due to the challenges remote workers face, an environment that’s conducive to work and communication is absolutely essential.
Setting Up Your Home Office: 5 Tips
Whether your office is an entire room or just a tiny corner of your apartment, you can organize it in a way that helps you overcome the challenges of working from home. Here are a few of our favorite tips from Modernize which help maximize productivity in your home office.
1. Let in natural light
In a communal office, you have no control over neuroses-inducing fluorescent bulbs. At your home, however, you can take advantage of the natural light, open up the blinds, and give your eyes a break so that you don’t feel like you’ve been working in a cave when you finish for the day. A view of the outside world can also decrease the sense of isolation.
Natural light improves performance, and without natural light you risk imbalance. Researchers at a Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, report that the effects of working in a windowless environment is universal. There’s a strong correlation between daylight exposure and team members’ sleep, energy, and quality of life.
2. Inspire creativity
Your home office is a blank canvas with a thousand details for you to customize. Go ahead and buy a laptop case in your favorite color or surround yourself with your entire book collection. Cover the walls in pictures of your family or beautiful landscapes. Use colors that inspire you, and invest in a comfortable chair. And relish in the knowledge that most of your office purchases will be tax deductible!
You’re able to draw comfort and inspiration from your surroundings in the same way other areas in your home can help manifest feelings of comfort, engagement, or rest. Workspaces can spur us to action or inaction, keep us on task or off task. Simply put, workspaces change how you work.
3. Increase convenience
It’s tempting to get distracted by the little things and follow them down rabbit holes. If you get up to adjust the thermostat, that may lead you closer to the kitchen, which may give you the urge to brew another cup of coffee, which may make you feel inclined to take a coffee break.
If you’re the type to give into these side quests, consider automating certain aspects of your home. Use your tablet or smartphone as a command center for the lighting, temperature, and even the coffee maker. Store snacks in your desk so that mid-morning hankering for a snack doesn’t become time-consuming.
4. Open lines of communication
Since your boss or coworkers aren’t apt to waltz in and talk to you about your current project, you need to make sure that you’re easy to communicate with during the workday. If you’re setting up a home office for the first time, test your current Internet speed and make sure it can handle your new tasks.
If you tend to use video conferencing, try working with two monitors rather than one—that way, opening a program or document doesn’t mean minimizing the conversation. Set up notifications for incoming work emails so that you won’t miss out on an important update.
5. Control the chaos
For some, a chaotic workspace is an incubator for inspiration. But for most of us, the everyday mess in our homes is enough to make us break focus. Keep your office area clean and organized. Use clips or a box with a hole to organize your cords. Even if straightening up takes ten minutes out your morning, it will pay off in productivity.
Create The Perfect Home Workplace
Budgets aside, if you have a room or a corner to yourself you have what it takes to create an effective remote workplace. By trying to let in natural light, inspiring creativity, increasing convenience, opening lines of communication, and controlling chaos, you can create the perfect workplace.