In my previous post, I explained the advantages of working remotely. But to support the process of being remote and to have a productive workplace, there are few things to be taken care. This is applicable even if you are not a full time remote employee and all you do is occasional work from home.
I recently moved into another house and the first thing I did was to set up the workstation at home to my liking. I realised during my week at home that working from home is more than the comfort of home, it needs few other things to completely support being remote.
Having a workspace with a good amount of light coming in makes it more cheerful and welcoming. Especially if it is natural sunlight, it is all the more pleasant than artificial lights. You can have your workstation next to a window and open the blinds to let in sunlight and for the times with less sun or at night, have artificial lighting to illuminate the room. LED bulbs are good option as they are more bright and consume less energy.
Good lighting makes the place less gloomy and will keep your energy high. Dimly lit places do not promote a productive environment. So if you work late into the night or early morning before sunrise, ensure that you have good lighting.
Since most of our work happens on computers or any other medium that requires electricity, ensure that you have an uninterrupted power supply. In India, power cuts are not uncommon, so get a UPS connected in case of power shortages. Also in case of storms or something, it is always good to have a power backup. After all, you don’t want to lose precious hours of work.
This is something that will set you back a fair amount of money, but it is worth an investment if you look at the advantages of having a backup. You’ll thank the UPS later when it helps you out in the time of need!
Another thing as important as power is a good broadband internet connection. I would say, by all means go and find a good internet service provider. You will never regret it. More than anything, service matters so that in case something goes wrong, it gets resolved in a relatively short period of time.
I end up paying a little more every month just to get reliable internet, but trust me it’s much worth it. Make sure you have a good router with WiFi if you connect many devices. For any backup, it’s safer to have a prepaid wireless usb stick. If your broadband decides to give away, you can use your dongle and keeping it prepaid will allow you to use it without any monthly rental.
Have your desk arranged in a way as to avoid clutter. Get a good desk with compartments which lets you put your stuff inside and prevent them from accumulating on the desk, thereby reducing the space. Having drawers and compartments in your desk will help you arrange everything neatly and within reach.
A cluttered desk is distracting and will reduce your productivity. Maintaining a clean desk will also give a sense of minimalism to your workplace. If you are someone like me, you want your desk with minimal distractions to be able to concentrate!
Another important factor is the noise. You might not want to have your workstation somewhere where you have a lot of external noise coming in. Thankfully my house is on a road with minimal traffic. Find a place in your house with least noise and if required, so some basic noise proofing of the room.
If you are into recording and podcasting, this becomes an absolute necessity. But in any case having a peaceful and quiet workstation is key to being productive and helps in concentration. Have good music playing along according to your taste to cut off external audible distractions.
You end up sitting in your chair for a good amount of time when you work. A good chair is not just for offices, so invest in an ergonomic chair which will keep yourself comfortable. If you can, try a standing desk.
Health is as important as your work. So, having a comfortable posture is a must. Take a break every few hours to stretch and walk around so as to give your back some relaxation. I invested in a new chair and table as I moved in and absolutely feel the difference.
No one likes to sweat continuously or to shiver in cold while working. Keep your room at an optimal temperature so as to keep yourself from thinking about how hot or cold it is. If this requires an artificial medium like a/c or heater, do get one.
Work cannot happen when you are uncomfortable, so get comfortable.
Make your home office your own by personalising and adding elements that make it more cheerful. You can have posters covering the walls or small plants for a little greenery. Some people add design inspirations in and around the workstation to keep them motivated throughout the day.
You can handcraft posters or quotes if you are into that kind of thing. In the end it is all about showing your individual style out.
Have a pet, they are good companions. I don’t necessarily mean a Labrador, a fish will also do! Working from home can be a lonely affair, so having a companion who does not interfere with your work can help in de-stressing. I have my dog who stays by my side throughout the day. So whenever I have a long working session, I take few minutes off and attend to him and play with him.
Having a good home office setup does not need to be expensive at all. It is all about investing a bit into yourself and making most of the comfort of home. So if you have been planning this for sometime, go ahead and do it. It is much better than sitting on your bed with your laptop on your lap.