Setting Up Your Remote Workspace

Create a work from home space that helps you stay productive and peaceful.

Working from home is becoming more and more commonplace every year, and that is especially true now. Whether you are temporarily working remotely to practice safe distancing during COVID-19 or plan to do so permanently, setting up an effective work space in your home is a key step to success.

Setting up a remote workspace also offers a lot of excitement when considering all the options available to you. Standing desk? Plants all around you? A foot massager parked under your desk? If you can dream of it, you can probably add it to your home workspace. 

When considering what your perfect work from home space will look like, allow both productivity and personality to play equal roles in bringing your vision to life. 

Setting up your remote workspace for success

Choosing your work from home setting

Like any work environment, you want your home office set up for optimal productivity, creativity and professionalism. Though not every element you’d find in a traditional office may be available to you in your home, there are some key things to keep in mind when setting up your home workspace. 

Find a space with minimal distractions

If you can, choose a room away from distractions and noises. Spaces near your laundry room, kitchen or entryway might not be the best fit if there is lots of traffic or background noise in those areas. If it’s an option for you, using  a space in a room with doors can help eliminate distractions. You’ll also want to make sure you have a convenient path to and from the space for your breaks throughout the day.

Other possible distractions to keep in mind are televisions, pets and people. And while it is unrealistic to eliminate all distractions all of the time, being thoughtful now about where you set up can help ensure peace and productivity in the long haul. In most households, completely eliminating such distractions can feel difficult (if not nearly impossible.) Rest assured, even if you can’t fully eliminate environmental distractions, there are still plenty of ways to work with your home set-up to create a conducive space for work.

Check your lighting and acoustics

Lighting can be a key influence on productivity, boosting your comfort and focus levels. A space that is illuminated by natural light often works best (especially for video calls). If that isn’t an option for you, look for ways you can adjust your home lighting. A new lamp or desk light can work wonders. Alternatively, if you’re in a space with lots of natural light, you may want to consider updating your window treatments so you can adjust the lighting levels as needed throughout the day. 

Acoustics can also make a big difference, not only for meetings but also for your concentration. Are you in a room that amplifies even the slightest sound? If so, keeping your focus throughout the work day could be challenging. You may want to consider relocating to a smaller room, or a room with carpet. If you’re able, investing in a rug can also help minimize rough acoustics.

Consider your background

Consider what will be visible behind you when videoconferencing. Your background doesn’t have to be an impressively designed space—a simple wall works just fine. Wherever you choose to set up, just make sure you keep the space as clutter-free as possible. If you’re thinking about using a space that gets a lot of family use, think about how this will affect your day-to-day if you need to tidy up regularly before calls.

Make sure any items in your background like artwork or memorabilia is work-appropriate. In short, if it’s something you wouldn’t want your boss to see, don’t include it in your background.

Streamlining your WFH space

Think about form, function and organization

Comfort is important in any setting, but particularly crucial in a work environment. It not only leads to productivity, creativity and focus, but also impacts your well-being. Ergonomic design elements like your chair, desk, mouse and keyboard, and even accessories like a laptop stand, can all make a huge difference.

What else do you need to do your best work day-to-day? Think about these items as you consider your WFH setting. Maybe you need space for multiple monitors, room to sketch or ample file storage. Make sure you have the room you need to accommodate how you’ll be using the space. 

The ability to organize and maintain a clean and clutter-free space is also a key component to function. Luckily, there’s a vast array of organizational baskets, bins, boxes and desk essentials to create a space that reflects your personal style while maintaining practicality. 

Add a personal touch

For your mental well-being, Frances Hill, founder of Austin-based Hill House Interiors & Design, recommends incorporating your own style through decor choices. “Have a little fun creating your personal workspace! Interior design isn’t just limited to high-end homes or for strictly decor reasons” says Hill, “It’s more form meets function than one would expect, and, after all, we spend a good percentage of time in our office, why shouldn’t it be a reflection of you?” 

Just as you would adorn your cubicle or desk at work, this is a space to make yours. Whether it’s something small, like pictures or burning a candle of your favorite scent, or something more dramatic, like painting a wall or hanging your favorite art pieces—personalize it. 

Remote work offers you the opportunity to customize the space where you spend a majority of your day, so it’s important you make it so you’re comfortable, happy and relaxed.

Consider if your remote work status is temporary or permanent

With COVID-19 we all find ourselves in a state of uncertainty. Will your remote work status be temporary, or has a permanent decision been made to stay remote post-pandemic? 

Assess if you’re set up is temporary or permanent as you weigh the investment of time and money into building your ideal work environment. For instance, if it’s permanent, you may want to consider having built-in shelves and electrical needs installed. If temporary, a small and simple desk and storage may suffice. Before you make any decisions, check what your employer will and will not expense when outlining your budget for the space.

Make the most of it

Working from home is an opportunity to harness the unique power of incorporating your individualism with your professional drive. Make the most of this and rock your remote workspace!

📖 Read more: Managing Remote Work

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- June 1, 2022

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