One of the few good things to come out of the last few years is that the world’s employers have woken up to the idea of their employees working from home. It has been a concept that has worked in some countries for many years, but for a large part of the world, the idea of working from home sent bosses into a flat spin and HR departments into a full-on panic. Now, in 2023, working from home, be it part-time or full-time, is a reality that is accessible for most of us.
The convenience of working from home is unparalleled: the food is free (since you’ve already paid for it), the dress code is minimal (as long as no one on Zoom can see you’re only half dressed), and the commute only takes a few seconds. If you live in a good neighborhood in a house or apartment that offers you enough space to have a dedicated work area, setting up a work-from-home space and routine that works for your work and personality types is a breeze.
If you’re looking for a new place or even a house, share Google “room for rent near me,” and you will get a good idea of what is available and be able to plan for your work-from-home nook. Once you have your workspace picked out, you’re just a hop, skip and jump away from a productive work day in your home. Let us get you started.
Image by Ken Tomita
Though everyone’s working style or personality is different, there are a few things that you have to have on hand to make working from home a practical reality.
- A PC or laptop computer
- A reliable and fast internet connection (you can check your current speed with the Frontier speed test)
- Clock-in software
- A comfortable, back-supporting chair
Whichever other tools of the trade you need will vary from person to person, so make sure you have everything on hand. This could include essentials like a reliable laptop, a smartphone for communication, and even tools specific to your profession, such as a high-quality camera for photographers or a frontier speed test tool for those who rely on a stable internet connection.
Figuring out your work style
Image by Vlada Karpovitch
You must appraise your work strengths and weaknesses honestly to determine how best to schedule your days, attend meetings, stay on top of your workload, maintain your boundaries, and give your all at your job. Figure out the following:
- How early do you need to wake up to be ready to start work at the right time? Note if getting up at this time is a struggle; if it is, go to bed earlier to be prepared.
- Is staying engaged in remote meetings and conversations difficult or easy for you? If it is a challenge, figure out why and take measures to correct your issues.
- Do you do well without constant check-ins, or if you need more accountability to stay on task?
- Whether or not you struggle with things like browsing articles or social media during work hours. If you do, set up “work time” profiles on your phone that make things like browsing less attractive by rendering the feed or site black and white.
Creating Your Space
Let’s start with the most challenging environment. If you rent a room from friends, you’ll probably have less personal space to work in. You may need to have your vanity table double as a desk or vice versa, so get used to sweeping your skincare products and jewelry out of the way when you begin your work day. Get everything that is not work-related off the desk or table and set up your coffee or water on a coaster, your laptop on its stand, and your charger connected to the closest plug point.
If you have to work in a common area, ask your roommates if it is ok with them to use a screen to section off your workspace from the rest of the room. This will make it easier to stay on task and not get distracted by the comings and goings of your roommates in a shared space.
Creating a permanent workspace that will not need to be moved or broken down and set up daily may be easier if you have your own home or apartment. Get yourself a desk or a table and a comfortable chair. Keep the desk clutter-free except for your work things and a family photo. Keep the space above and around the desk free from anything except a work calendar. Finally, keep all your work accoutrements at arms reach, whatever they may be.
Working from home requires a lot of focus and discipline, particularly if you are new to it or easily distracted. Here are some things you can do to help your workspace stay distraction and clutter free and to keep your head in the game, no matter what kind of space you have available and what type of work style you have.
- Keep headphones nearby whenever the ambient noise becomes too overwhelming or distracting. If you find podcasts or music distracting while you work, find a noise app and play nature or white noise.
- Don’t eat at your desk; clear any empty drinks away once you are done. A tidy space is a focused space.
- Notice your frustration and distraction triggers – car noises, the neighbor’s crying child, or how your new roommate slams their door – and try to minimize them. You can do that by using headphones or having a polite conversation with the neighbor and your roommate to ask them if they could please be mindful of the level of noise they bring to the space.
- Always clock in and out at the same time you would in an office. Your time is valuable, so don’t give it away for free.
- Stay in communication with your bosses and colleagues via chat apps. Your presence and speedy replies here let your boss know you are on the clock and working hard to keep work flowing smoothly.
These tips will simplify and make your work-from-home life more manageable, keep your home and work spaces separate, and keep you as productive as possible.