For many workers in the US, working from home can sound like a dream. Especially with this new wave of remote jobs that has cropped up in the last couple of years as a result of the pandemic, it appears that a large percentage of companies are realizing that their employees can work from home and still get the job done.
Maybe your current job switched to remote and has never asked you to return to the office. Or, maybe you have left a position in order to find a new one that allows you to be a remote employee. Perhaps you decided to go from two cars down to one for your household to save money on auto insurance and car payments, forcing you to look for work that you can perform at home.
Whatever the reason was for your transition to remote work, there are right ways to do it and there are wrong ways. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your working-from-home experience.
A separate space is essential
Being an effective worker means eliminating distractions as much as possible. Even if you live alone, establishing a separate office space will help focus your mind on the tasks you must do for the day. It can be difficult to think about work if you are in the same room as the TV or other distractions. If you live with a partner or have children, you will definitely need a closed-off space to block out the sounds coming from the other people in your home. Preferably, this office will have a door so that you can really feel the isolation and be able to focus even more.
Pick a spot with natural lighting
Natural lighting from big windows can do wonders for your productivity. In fact, studies show that workers who experience more natural lighting in their office environment sleep better than their counterparts, leading to more productivity. When you are in a home office environment, try to set up your office in a room that gets plenty of sunlight during the day. In addition to helping you get more sleep, it will generally put you in a better mood so that you can avoid boredom or burnout in the midst of fulfilling your responsibilities. Plus, it will set you up for higher-quality lighting during video conference meetings with your coworkers or clients. Do what you can to find a naturally well-lit room for your office.
Don’t skimp on your setup
A lot of companies will pay for certain equipment for you to have for your home office. But if you are an entrepreneur who is creating your own setup, or your company leaves it up to you, don’t be afraid to splurge a little on the tech and the look. Dual monitors are a huge upgrade from a laptop, allowing you to see more content on-screen at any given time. A bluetooth keyboard and mouse will allow you to be more mobile. A comfy chair is a must for a home office where you will be spending hours at a time sitting. Have you ever worked in an office and had to endure an uncomfortable chair? Now is your chance to correct that! No matter what your online gig looks like, you can make your home office a nirvana of productivity with the latest technology and a powerful setup.
Make a warm environment
Although there is a limit to how you can decorate the space, especially if you are in frequent video conference meetings, you should look to create a warm and comfortable environment for yourself. To go along with the natural lighting that you hopefully are bathing in, adding some potted plants to your office can bring more comfort to the space. Have some wall decor that inspires you hanging above the desk, or put some fun little desk toys next to your monitor. Whatever you can do to spruce up the space and improve your mindset will help you be more productive. Just remember that none of the decor or desk toys should be TOO distracting, otherwise you will end up working less efficiently.
Most importantly, keep your office space for work
If possible, your office should only be a place where you go to work. Don’t let it be a storage closet in addition to your workspace, as that can create distractions. The more separate your office can be from the rest of the home, the more functional it will feel as an actual workspace. The more you blend the office with the rest of the house, the less it will feel like a place where you can really focus and be in “job mode.” Let the rest of the residents in your home know that it is essentially off-limits for other activities. This doesn’t mean to lock the door and put up a huge “keep out” sign, but just keep the space clear of anything not related to your work.
If you do all of these things, then you will absolutely be winning as a remote worker, so get started on remaking that space.