Like most professionals, you likely assumed that remote work was going to be a temporary situation. But as many of us hit the one-year mark, it seems that most employees won’t be returning to the office anytime soon. Instead, it’s the perfect opportunity to get serious about remote work arrangements and take steps to be more comfortable and productive each day.
Here are four recommendations on setting up a better home office to become a happier and more efficient remote employee.
Having a dedicated home office is essential when trying to eliminate distractions and stay focused on important tasks. If you have been working out of a makeshift setup, it’s time to find a dedicated spot just for work. A separate room for your home office is ideal, but if this isn’t possible, try to use a specific area for your workstation. This could be a corner of a guest room or even a spot at the dining room table. Either way, your ‘office’ should be in an out-of-the-way place and separate from high foot traffic areas like the kitchen or living room. Setting up a distinct location for business hours will allow for improved productivity while establishing a better separation of work and personal space.
However, with all this extra time spent at home, you may have realized that you could benefit from more square footage. If that is the case and you own your home, you can create an office by adding another room to the current layout. Building an addition onto your house is an excellent way to increase property value. Future buyers could also appreciate the new office space as remote work becomes more popular. With lower interest rates, applying for a home equity loan could help you finance the renovation project or remodel without having to use your personal savings or retirement account to fund the job.
Once you have determined the best location, you need to consider your new office’s ergonomics and layout. If you do not have a comfortable chair, desk, and other computer equipment at a proper height, it could negatively impact your health and work performance. Ensuring that your office setup meets your physical needs will promote good posture and cut down on time wasted trying to find a comfortable way to use your desk. Standing desks have recently had a revival as more remote workers look for new ways to keep active throughout the workday. Adjustable desks are also a great option if you want to choose between either sitting or standing, depending on your mood.
If you use a laptop, a docking station could be beneficial as well since working on a single small screen can be hard on the eyes and create a decrease in productivity. Using dual monitors can allow you to manage multiple windows at a time without having to switch between tabs. This setup may even improve team communication as you can constantly keep your inbox or messaging service open without sacrificing screen space.
Having a dedicated office setup is only a part of what it takes to work from home effectively. It is additionally critical that your office stays organized. Keeping essential supplies and documents neat and tidy will help you work more quickly and reduce stress. When all your materials have a place, you can locate what you need without losing anything in the process. You can organize your space with filing cabinets, containers or even try a new system like color-coding.
Just like your workspace, you should organize your virtual desktop as well. If you rely on numerous documents or spreadsheets, you may want to store backup files on a cloud system. This method will prevent excess clutter from slowing down your computer while creating secondary copies in a safe location. Plus, if your work computer ever becomes lost or damaged, you can still retrieve files from the cloud without worrying about lost information.
Since you are setting up your own home office, you have the freedom to fill it with things that you enjoy. Take the time to decorate your space and make an environment you would be happy to work in every day. While you probably couldn’t light a candle in your cubicle at the office, you can at home without bothering your co-workers. Other ways to personalize your office space could include artwork, scent diffusers, or even your favorite throw blanket. Small trinkets can seem like an insignificant change, but they can make a big difference in the ambiance of your workspace.
With your office space set up and organized, it’s time to synchronize your workflow with the rest of your team. Working from home comes with a unique set of problems. Since you don’t work in the same physical space as the rest of your coworkers, staying connected and up to date with their schedules is even more critical. That’s why you need to take the time to find ways to integrate your day with your teammates. This process could include a shared calendar to keep track of everyone’s daily projects or even using Microsoft Team telephony to talk to your co-workers on a regular basis. No matter what method you use, ensure that your workflow complements your team members and promotes more day-to-day collaboration.
Remote work is here to stay. Guarantee your success by creating a dedicated space, establishing productive techniques, and using helpful technology to help you thrive as a remote worker. With proper organization and a strategized workflow, you can find a happy and healthy work-life balance.
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