For many of us, there wasn’t much time to prepare to switch to a work-from-home situation. Whether you have a separate office in your home or not, the switch can come with some real challenges. One of the first things anyone switching to remote work should consider is where they’re going to work. Though in our digitally-supported world it might feel as simple as opening up our laptop, in reality, our workspace is a key aspect that can support our success. It’s not simply about accessing our work. We also need to ensure that we’re able to be productive and efficient despite the change in environment. Let’s take a look at how our workspace fits into that:
Especially with little time to plan, this is often the first challenge that professionals run into when starting to work from home. As I mentioned above, just because you can work from anywhere in your home doesn’t mean you should. Having a designated spot for your workspace can help you stay focused, eliminate distractions, and maintain some boundaries between work and personal. It helps you get into work mode more easily, it helps your family members respect your work time, and it helps you maintain a balance. If you have an extra room, that’s great. If not, it’s time to get creative. It might be a multi-purpose space in a shared room. If that’s the case, it’s even more important that you set it up as a work area during your work hours. That might mean a kitchen table or a desk in the living room. Using that same space every day will reinforce its function.
Working from home often poses more distractions than working at the office. Instead of being surrounded by other professionals engaged in their work, we may be surrounded by young children, laundry to do, or that project we’ve been meaning to get to. Doing a major clean of your work area before getting fully set up is great. Especially if it’s in a shared space, you may invest 10 minutes each morning to remove any clutter that accumulated throughout the day. While some distractions may be inevitable, getting rid of clutter removes many of the ones we can control.
Again, simply being surrounded by other professionals has its benefits. It helps us feel like a part of a team, and we share in the overall productive energy of the office. Professionals benefit from creating some inspiration in their at-home workspace as well. Whether that’s posting a few quotes that you like, keeping a list of your goals in sight, adding in a few bursts of color, or including a few plants — think about how you can design your workspace to inspire a bit of motivation. Make it appealing for you to sit down and dive into your to-do list.
Finally, it’s worth taking the time to think about functionality so that you have what you need in reach when you need it. Do you need space for storage? Do you prefer to work standing up some of the day? Where do your kids spend most of the day? Are you sharing a workspace with your spouse? Evaluating what you need from your workspace in advance can help you create a set-up that lets you thrive.
Have you set up a new workspace in your home? What challenges have you faced? What’s working well? I’d love to hear your thoughts.