Most people have worked in a cubicle at some point in their career. You know, the blank, dreary, gray kind with overhead fluorescent lighting that does little, if anything, to inspire creativity and can make your eyes glaze over.
But if you work for a remote company, you know that you can work from almost anywhere—a local coffee shop, on the road during a vacation (from the highest mountaintop, you digital nomad), but most likely you’ll work remotely from a home office. The point is, no two remote home offices are alike. There are some factors, though, that can help you make the most of your remote work office—and be a better remote worker.
Make it sunny.
If you’re looking to carve out a place for your home office but you’re short on space, here’s the golden rule: look for the light. Soaking up some of the sun’s rays (and scoring some extra vitamin D) can work wonders when you’re, well, working. Not only can being in a sunny space improve your mood, but it can also improve your health, by decreasing stress levels and being a boon to your overall heart health.
Make it healthy.
In setting up your remote work office, you might think that all you need is any ol’ desk, any ol’ chair, a computer, and some office supplies. Well, think again. You should try to make the investment in quality furniture for the sake of productivity—and your health.
That means an ergonomic chair, and maybe even a standing desk if you’re going to be spending the bulk of your day working. And as tempting as it might be to have a few tasty treats stowed away in your remote home office, the better bet is to avoid having a snack drawer and take a break every half hour or so, and look for healthier options, such as fruit.
Make it customer-friendly.
Even though you spend the majority of your time working solo in your remote home office, there might be times when you have to host a client or two for a meeting. That’s why you need to keep your space customer-friendly and professional at all times. If possible, arrange your workspace to be in a spot where clients don’t have to traipse through your home—and sidestep the kids’ toys scattered all over the living room floor—to get to your home office.
Make it personal.
One of the biggest benefits of having a remote home office is that you can design it any way you’d like. You are no longer bound by having to have blank gray walls or abide by your former company’s policy of only having one 4×6-inch photo on your desk. Now the sky’s the limit! But before you start bringing every tchotchke into your space, think about how the space needs to function.
After all, this is still an office space, and if it’s cluttered with personal items, it could negatively affect your productivity. That said, you should be inspired to make your home office match the rest of your home in terms of design, so bring in an area rug or hang a print on a freshly painted accent wall. Make your remote home office beautiful, but remember to keep it more professional and less personal by choosing items that pack the biggest emotional punch for you.
Make it work for you.
It’s true that no two employees work the same, but there are still some standards to abide by. For example, you want to keep your home office neat and tidy, even if no one but your cuddly cat is going to see it. Why? Clutter, such as coffee cups and piles of paper, can hinder productivity.
The same goes for your desktop, which you should try to keep somewhat organized so that you can see the background wallpaper of your travels to India on it. You should also invest in the fastest Internet speed your provider can give you, so that you can communicate quickly with your colleagues and have a productive home office that allows you to work to your maximum efficiency.
When selecting, designing, and maintaining your remote office space, you should always think about how it’s going to not only work for you, but also reflect on you as a remote worker. Make the investment in your remote home office and you’ll be making an even bigger investment in your career.