If you’re new to remote work or are simply looking to switch things up from your home office from time to time, this post is for you. Now that you’re no longer involved in office thermostat wars, you’ve got a lot of freedom to find the ideal remote workspace that will help you stay focused and productive.
Figuring out what that looks like is another story. There are so many options available to remote workers today that selecting a place to settle down can seem daunting.
That’s why we need to start with the basics. There are some non-negotiable items when it comes to a suitable workspace, depending upon your preferences, working style, and role. In most aspects, your space should accommodate your needs—not the other way around.
Here’s what to look for to ensure that your remote workspace will be conducive to your best work:
That super cozy cafe in town will lose its appeal pretty fast if you’re unable to get a strong Wi-Fi signal. Unless you’re looking for plenty of offline, heads-down concentration, you’ll need a workspace that has a reliable connection for basic messaging and email—and a more powerful one for downloading and uploading image-rich documents, sharing files, and chatting via video conference. (There are a number of apps out there that display Wi-Fi hotspots; a few even enable you to actually test the network’s speed.)
2. Physical Comfort
Are you a low-light, bright, or natural light kind of person? What temperature feels most comfortable for you? Do you prefer to sink into a cushiony armchair or would you rather have a sturdy, traditional office chair? What about a standing desk or bar table? Are there scents you find stimulating that you’d like to be around while working or are there some you find totally repulsive?
Consider these questions as you weigh the pros and cons of spaces managed by others, or one fully controlled by you.
Your job may involve sensitive conversations, whether they focus on managing confidential data or other business-related material that cannot be widely shared. Discussing such information in an open space is a no-no, so if this is on your list of workspace needs, you’ll need to find a spot that enables you to have private conversations—ideally without having to pack up and move all your stuff.
You may also have face-to-face meetings that would benefit from a little privacy.
4. Noise Level
Some people just love being surrounded by a constant hum of activity, whether they find it in a popular coffee shop or coworking space. Others would rather don noise-canceling headphones than be forced to overhear a conversation two tables away.
If you’re easily distracted by what’s happening in the background, you’ll want to consider quieter (or even totally silent) workspaces so that you’re not sacrificing concentration.
5. Access to Amenities
Yes, you’re a talented, dedicated remote worker—but you’re only human. Visiting the restroom from time to time is a must; most of us will also need to break occasionally to stretch our legs, make a quick personal phone call, or grab a drink or snack. Will the place you’re settling down to work enable you to accomplish one (or all) of those things? If not, will you plan on working there only part of the day?
Consider an option that offers access to the outside world; otherwise, you may feel as if you’re trading one office for another.
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