There´s no doubt about it: we are in the midst of a flexible workplace revolution, more employees than ever before are working remotely. The company I work for – Nokia Networks – widely supports this mode of working and I typically work 2 days per week from my Home Office. However, working from home is a real art, too. Lots of people think it’s all daytime TV and curling up on the sofa with your laptop, but in many ways it’s much harder than working from an office. You need discipline, motivation and you have to be very happy in your own company!
The benefits of working from home are obvious. You skip the commute and there are no office distractions for the day. It takes a bit of planning and work to get the perfect home office, though, and this post is going to give you my top 10 tips for remote working from home.
1. Keep work and home separate
Ideally, you need a separate room or outbuilding for work. It’s good to shut the door on work at the end of the day. It also shuts out distractions.
2. Get some office stuff
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you don’t need office stuff. Get a stationery cupboard, a shredder, a filing cabinet. A good filing system is vital. Have dedicated files and spaces for work documents and stick to them. Even if the rest of the house disintegrates into madness, keep your office as though your boss could see it.
3. Trust is key
Your boss has to trust you, you have to trust your colleagues and most importantly, it’s imperative that you trust yourself. If you enjoy your job and you are a responsible and decent human being then you will do the work, you will put in the hours and any doubt will only lead to unnecessary stress and overworking.
4. Set regular working hours
Working from home means fantastic flexibility, but you don’t want to find yourself working when all your office-based friends are going to the beer garden just because you had a lie in. Try to set regular working hours and stick to them. This also ensures you don’t slip into excessive overtime without realizing, which is a big risk when work is always right there.
5. Color your walls
If your office looks lifeless and drab, your work probably will be too. If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better. I once read about the effect that different colors have on our psychology. Blue seems to stimulate logic and productivity, yellow heightens creativity and red encourages physical action. Your senses affect your mood, so make your space a happy one and the benefits will follow.
6. Get yourself a comfortable chair
You need a bloody good chair, and it’s not cheap but it should be a priority. Your posture and body are important yet so many home-workers make do with dining room chairs or worse. Do your research, and don’t settle for less than you need. Being comfortable makes life so much better.
7. A really important household tool
There’s nothing worse than trying to type on an unkempt desk strewn with scraps of paper and biscuit crumbs (and let’s face it, biscuits are a writer’s best friend). That’s why the handheld hoover might just become your favorite household tool.
8. A Pin-Board
Didn’t everyone have one of these on their wall when they were a kid? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t revive that childhood space saver. A pin board is a perfect place for quickly sticking up your to-do’s, ideas or even inspirational quotes, turning your wall into a reviewable visualization of your thoughts
9. Poster, art or something daft.
One of the best parts of working from home is that you can make your workspace your own. There’s nothing blander than a blank wall. Fill it with some personality: you know better than anyone what motivates and inspires you but make sure it reminds you that your job is more than just replying to emails and completing tasks. Build a shrine to creativity.
10. Get a plant (or two)
If you’re not fortunate enough to have an office with a river-side view, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the outside world. Growing yourself a house plant is very low-maintenance, but provides a remarkably soothing influence on a busy work space. Research says that the introduction of plants into a ‘lean’ workspace can increase productivity by 15 percent. That’s a big ROI for a few plants. If you fancy a challenge, maybe it’s time to try your hand at grooming a bonsai tree. Whatever you choose, transform your barren grey box into a leafy green refuge.
When it comes to a home office, (outdated cultural reference imminent) why not indulge in the Pimp-My-Ride approach? It’s easy to neglect your work space, but spending the extra time and money on perfecting it will make a huge difference to your productivity, creativity and – most importantly – your happiness. A handful of small changes can revolutionize your remote working experience. Whether you go get yourself some productivity-boosting tools, or completely revamp the look of your study, choosing to optimize your home office is the undervalued secret to optimized remote working.