Now more than ever everyone is working remotely. But have you noticed that you’re no longer getting deep work done? Or maybe you’re sitting for too long, not getting enough sunlight, or the distractions have climbed to intolerable heights? If so, read on to discover how to make your remote workplace work for you.
Step 1. Assess your current space
Stop working for an afternoon or evening (seriously, this is important) and jot down a list of things about your current space that break you out of productive work sprints. Maybe it’s the location—you’re working in a heavy-traffic hallway right near the kids’ playroom. Or maybe it’s the right location, wrong setup, where your furniture is uncomfortable and there are too many distractions. You don’t have to catch them all right now (we’ll get to this later!) but it’s important to address the most obvious elements that aren’t working for you in your workspace.
Step 2. Remove what doesn’t work
One instant feel-good action you can take is to declutter your space ASAP. Go through everything within your immediate vicinity and clear out items you don’t need or don’t speak to you anymore. Decide to donate or trash them (if they really are trash). Then take any items you still love but aren’t meant for your workspace and find new homes for them in other rooms. Next, take your clean-up to the digital space. Unsubscribe, reorganize, trash all those screenshots you no longer need—you get it! It’s amazing what clearing out your physical and digital workspace will reveal about the kind of space you actually want, too. So be mindful and learn a thing or two about the work habits you can kick, now that your new space is spotless.
Step 3. Get inspired
Okay, now the extra-fun part—gather inspiration and make a mood board. Don’t think about your budget just yet. Think about your dream office and visualize everything from the color of the walls to what’s on your desk. Don’t underestimate the psychology of color. Figure out a color scheme that gets you excited about being creative and productive again. Maybe find office supplies that are functional, complement this scheme and, above all, make you smile. Another trick to think about is investing in greenery. Plants lift your mood, cleanse the air, and make great office buds (get it?).
Step 4. Make a plan
Once you’ve plotted out what you want, start making a list and a budget for yourself. How much can you spend right now to get your office exactly where you want it to be? If you're a full-timer, does your company have a budget for home office updates? Also factor in your budget on physical energy, too. Will you need help painting or is a new paint job something that can wait? Make a step-by-step plan. In terms of new furniture, gadgets, and office supplies, prioritize finding items that will make your new office space more comfortable and inviting, such as an ergonomic chair, a computer riser, and a remote keyboard for your laptop. Then work through the remaining “nice to haves” on your list— such as pleasing artwork, plants, fidget devices, an exercise desk, and luxurious office supplies. Search for and purchase these items whenever the time feels right. Remember to support your local stores and feel free to buy things second-hand. Special items don’t need to be expensive or brand new! They just need to speak to you.
Step 5. Reassess in 1 month
Fast-forward to a month down the road and your space has hopefully improved your productivity. But you’re likely to notice new issues that creep up and it's easy to forget when you're working in your own home. So it can be helpful to set a reminder of when to reassess your space. You might even notice that you need to start looking for a remote office space near you, separate from your home. Or split your time at a coffee shop to get more sunshine. Do you want to start working from the road? You may need more to make your remote office foolproof. This is where you return to step one, write your issues down and address them. Surprise—the way to finding your zen office space is an ongoing process, not just a linear path with an endpoint. You change, your life changes, and your office space needs to adjust with you.
Does that change also include looking for a new role? Well, we're here to help.