We’re living in a digital age where technology is connecting people all across the world. This interconnections is not only making it easier for businesses to reach a broader audience, but it’s also giving their employees more options on where to work.
Today, remote work, or telecommuting, is becoming more mainstream. In fact, the global average of people who work remotely 2.5 days or more a week is 54.3 percent. Whether you’re a freelancer, work remotely for a company, or are allowed to work from home a few days a month, you need a space where you can be productive and get the job done.
Below, we’re going to cover some tips on how to create the optimal workspace if you’re a remote worker. With these tips, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand, improve efficiency, and be more productive, even if you’re in your pajamas.
Separate your work life and personal life:
Working remotely is an attractive perk many employees look for when job searching. The ability to work from home eliminates rush hour commutes, promotes a healthier work-life balance, and saves money by reducing money spent on gas, professional attire, lunches, and parking. It was even found that working remotely part-time can also save workers 11 days each year that would have been spent on their commute.
With all these perks, it’s a no-brainer why more and more employers are offering remote work opportunities. But is remote work as good as it sounds? Not necessarily. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, you need to separate the two. Being stuck in your home all day can lead to cabin fever, which is why you don’t want to make client calls, write reports, and conduct business in the comfort of your bed.
Instead, dedicate a section of your house that’s strictly for work. Below are some home office ideas that may work for you:
- Convert a spare bedroom into a home office
- Refinish your basement or attic into a workstation
- Turn all or part of your garage into an office
- Make an addition to your home for a separate office space
- Place a room divider in your bedroom if you’re living in a studio or small apartment
The home office you create depends on your budget and the layout of your home. However, the key is creating a workspace that’s separated from your living space. You also want to make sure you can remain productive. If you have a family, there’s most likely going to be a lot of foot traffic going throughout your home. Make sure your office has a door to block out distracting noises and keeps you secluded to stay focused.
If paying attention to your work is beginning to become a problem, find ways to stay on track. Meditation is a quick fix for better focus. Or, you can go for a walk around the neighborhood to give your mind a break. If you’re still struggling to stay on task, you may need to consider working at a co-work space, your local library, or even a coffee shop. Regardless, remote work gives you the flexibility to pick and choose when and where you work.
Invest in the right tools:
Remote work is currently one of the top recruiting strategies, as the gig economy has seen top talent moving toward work-from-home positions. In the U.S., the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 26 million Americans, or 16 percent of the workforce, work remotely. And, these workers tend to be more educated, full-time, and older. There was also a 115 percent increase between 2005 and 2015 in the number of telecommuters, and that number is only expected to rise.
With a rise in flexible work arrangements, you need to be a productive telecommuter. This can be done by investing in the right tools. No home office will be complete without the following items:
- A laptop, which is essential for communicating with management, coworkers, and clients, as well as performing your work, such as computer coding, writing, or data entry.
- High-speed internet access, which will ensure you stay connected throughout the day without any WiFi interruptions that can slow you down.
- Ergonomic furniture, such as an ergonomic chair, desk, standing desk, and keyboard, which can reduce pain and discomfort.
- Collaboration tools, such as Slack or Trello, which allows you to stay in touch with your team.
- Project management software, such as Asana or Zoho, which allows you to stay organized and work collaboratively with team members on projects and tasks.
- Natural lighting can boost productivity and regulate your endocrine system, which is responsible for your sleep, immune system, and mood, according to studies.
- Greenery, such as houseplants and flowers, are proven to improve happiness and productivity, while also reducing stress and anxiety.
Organization is another critical component when designing a productive home office. If you’re surrounded by clutter, you may find yourself struggling to concentrate. That’s because disorganization can drain your cognitive resources and lead to stress, anxiety, and the inability to focus, according to Dr. Libby Sander of Bond University.
To stay on top of your game and your work, you need to stay organized. As you begin to furnish your home office or workspace, invest in plenty of organization furniture, such as filing cabinets, folders, a desk with drawers, and so forth.
It’s also important to keep track of your work, which is where project management software comes into play. With project management software, you’ll be able to create projects and tasks and place them on a calendar and track your time. You’ll also be able to work with team members and other leaders on the task you’re assigned, which increases efficiency.
One of the major benefits of remote work is that you won’t be distracted by noisy employees, time-consuming team meetings, or the loud typing of hundreds of computers. This doesn’t mean that distractions won’t follow you home, though. Minimizing your processes and your life can become an effective practice and mindset as your grow your wealth and travel to different places.
While 66 percent of workers believe they’d be more productive working remotely, there are plenty of disturbances that can throw a wrench in your workflow at home. That new Netflix show you’re binge-watching, family members, the half-eaten tub of ice cream in the freezer—these are just some of the temptations that can draw you away from what you’re being paid to do.
As you set up your home office, make sure distractions won’t get in the way of your productivity. As previously mentioned, make sure there’s a door to block outside noises. You can also play background music to drown out city streets or the landscaper mowing the lawn, or wear headphones to listen to deep focus playlists on Spotify or Apple Music. You should also set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” to limit the urge to check social media and your text messages.
Working remotely is a great way to maintain a better work-life balance. More and more companies are offering their employees part-time or full-time telecommuting opportunities. If you find yourself with the opportunity to conduct business from the comfort of your home, you want to ensure you have the optimal workspace.
To create a productive work environment in your home, make sure you:
- Separate your work life and personal life by creating a home office that doesn’t interfere with your daily life.
- Invest in the right tools, such as a laptop, ergonomic furniture, and high-speed internet access that keeps you on track and comfortable.
- Stay organized with the right furniture and software to reduce stress and boost efficiency.
- Eliminate distractions, such as noises from your family, cellphone, TV, and other temptations that can disrupt your workflow.