Working remotely is no longer unusual. But whether you work full time out of your home office or not, defining a space (no matter how small) to conduct business is important to your own productivity.
Do you work from home? If so, do us a favor. Take a moment to look at the area in which you work. Whether it’s a specific room, a kitchen countertop, a corner in your basement, or even your bed, ask yourself: is this space conducive to my needs? Now, before you quickly answer yes, consider the following:
- Is there ample room for a PC, laptop, iPad, etc.?
- Is the workstation properly equipped with an outlet, internet / Wi-Fi, and sufficient lighting?
- Is there an area to place paperwork?
- Is the environment free of interruption?
- Does the location make it easy to close up shop?
Here’s the deal: a home office that doesn’t check off the above criteria can leave you frustrated, annoyed, distracted, and not surprisingly, unproductive! Just imagine (which may not be hard for some of you) how easy it is to get off task–particularly when chaos strikes. Interruptions cause a loss of momentum; the more prevalent they are, the less you’ll get done. And while you may not be able to prevent every distraction from occurring, who’s to say you can’t prepare ahead of time for reducing them?
An organized and defined workspace is key. Choosing the right area in your house to conduct business not only helps maintain a healthy balance in your productivity with work, but in your personal time as well. If you’re unsure as to where to start, think about the bullet points above. Consider them a road map for discovering the perfect location in your humble abode. Once ‘X’ marks the spot, the next step is customizing your space. Below are a few suggestions and helpful tips on the common spots for the home-based worker.
If you are one of the lucky people to have an additional room in your house that is going unused, you’re certainly blessed! But, be sure to double check a couple of things. Does the room have a door that you can close behind you? If not, consider installing one. This may come at an expense, but for the amount of quiet it provides we promise it will definitely be worth your while.
Also, be sure that your Internet connection is 1.) reliable and 2.) your desk is situated in the area of the room where the connection is the strongest (if using Wi-Fi). Truthfully, this is very important and a very common problem. Worrying about how many bars you have in your connection not only diminishes your productivity, it can drive you crazy; particularly if your wireless is prone to going in and out often.
This space can be extremely beneficial as it is probably one of the quietest places in your home. But, it could also make you feel trapped if you have low ceilings or no windows. To combat this, bring in extra lamps or overhead lighting. Paint the room a light color to make the space feel more open and airy. Lastly, don’t drive yourself batty by boxing yourself in all day long. Take your lunch outside, clean and organize your inbox while having coffee in your kitchen, go to networking events, schedule face-to-face meetings at a coffeeshop rather than always conducting business over the phone.
Tread carefully when choosing this spot. Yes, it can be comfortable sitting on your bed while working on your laptop, but it can also make the line between work and rest very, very fuzzy. If you haven’t already experienced the work instead of sleeping phenomenon, rest assure it won’t take long to happen. But, if this is your only option, it’s imperative to have a desk. When it comes time to close up shop, you need to be able to stand up and walk away from your computer (as well as your smartphone, iPad, and tablet).
If you’re home is limited in space–forcing you to become extremely creative in choosing your spot–don’t panic. Remember that a conducive area can easily be lurking in corners, alcoves, and even closets! If you can spare folding your clothes rather than hanging them, you’ve just hit the jackpot.
Not only does a closet have bonus space and shelving, generally it is large enough to put a small or floating desk inside. Best of all, you’ll have doors that shut up tight. Voila! As lifestyle website Glo notes, a closet workplace that you can close and walk away from helps maintains the divide between work and play.
No matter the place, no matter the space, your home office should provide you exactly what you need. So roll up your sleeves and create your own, unique utopia for productivity.