Remote Work Environment

Setting up your own work environment is both an opportunity and a challenge. It may take some experimenting to figure out what works for you. And your needs may change over time.

Here are some things that have worked for me.

Set up a home office

Set aside a spot in your home as your work space. When you go to that place, you’re working. When you’re done working, leave that place. This is a great tool for shifting to a work mindset quickly. It is also a way to prevent work from being a distraction when you’re not working.

Ideally, the work space would be a desk without distractions nearby. You don’t want piles of laundry, bills, etc. to distract you. If you’re living with other people, having a door that you can close is a great way to close out distractions. The closed door also helps your people know when you’re trying to focus on work.

That assumes you can work from home, and have enough extra space and resources to have a home office. This isn’t an option for everyone.

Get out of your home

Some people work best away from their home. Home may be too noisy / full of preoccupations / small to be a good work space for you. Or maybe there’s a place you feel more inspired. Or perhaps you just want some novelty.

If you can work from a laptop, phone, or tablet, there are options.

  • Libraries are a good place to find quiet and WiFi for free
  • Coffee shops and restaurants often let you use their space and WiFi for hours, though buying something from them is expected. Some of them even encourage telecommuters by providing lots of electrical sockets.
  • There are coworking spaces that will rent you a desk or private office.

Personally, I prefer to work from home most of the time. In my case, home has fewer distractions, I spend less money on food, and has comfortable places to sit. But there are days when I enjoy a change of scenery.

Mix it up

It’s good to have options. Maybe for you that’s a collection of coffee shops and libraries you rotate between. Or perhaps it makes sense to drop off the kids at school, then work at nearby coffee shops until they’re done, then finish off work at home after the initial chaos of kids-returning-home is done.

Today, I started going through my messages in a comfy chair in my living room. It was a cold morning, so I curled up with a blanket and cup of coffee.

When a coworker wanted to do a video chat (we use Zoom,) I moved to my home office and put my desk in standing position so that I could stretch my legs. I stayed at the desk for most of the work day, occasionally switching between sitting and standing.

Toward the end of the day, a cat was nudging me to indicate that I needed to be furniture. So I took my laptop to the bed and sat with my back against some pillows so he could curl up next to me and take a nap.

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