The reality of our modern world, be it from recent changes with the pandemic, or just realistic adaptations of the busy city centres, is that more and more workers are starting to explore the world of remote working. However, with this change from an office setting to an at-home setting, there becomes new problems and a lot of fast learning when it comes to setting up a space that actually works for you. That’s nothing a little bit of help can’t fix, though! From a paint change to relying on a proper video collaboration tool such as Zoom, Google Meet or Abdeedesk, to bringing in a plant, the best tips to building your perfect home office are a lot different than you might expect!
Understand how you want to use your home office
Before you actually start doing anything to your home to design a home office, take a few moments to understand what you want to do with your office itself. What worked about your old office and what didn’t? Focusing on those pain points will give you the best chance at creating a top-notch remote office.
- What type of work will you be doing in your office? For some, it’s all computer work. In that case, perhaps a desk that has a keyboard tray and room for 2+ monitors is going to be best. If, however, you change between computer work and paperwork, you may want to go for a desk that changes heights and/or a drop-down arm so that you can work on paperwork, and then move back to computer work without changing anything. Be realistic and honest about your needs.
- What equipment do you need? Some need 2+ monitors, others need book stands to have reference binders open as they type. Others rely on paper holders and organizers. Whatever you need for your office equipment, plan for it in designing your space.
- What essential furniture/storage is there? Most offices need some sort of storage capacity within them. Whether it’s a filing cabinet, a bookshelf or even just baskets for various cords and USB drives, etc, plan for it. This also goes for furniture. Do you need two separate desks? Do you need a shredder?
- What do you need for power? This is one detail that many people overlook! Since you don’t want to be taping power strips along the wall or tripping over them, make sure you pick a space that doesn’t have, say 1 outlet for 10 different plug-ins. While power strips are fine, you don’t want to be struggling to plug in 10 different ones into one measly outlet via a strip!
Must-have pieces for your remote office
Regardless of what you’re doing as far as a job position, here are the staples that you’ll definitely want to make room for you in your space:
- A solid work surface: Whether you determine you need 2 feet or 10 feet of working space, make sure you’ve got a solid, sturdy dedicated work surface to meet your needs.
- A good chair: No folding chairs, beanbags or straight back dining chairs will do! Get a comfortable and ergonomic office chair that won’t make you feel like you’re 90 years old when you finish a workday.
- Excellent lighting: This is crucial and cannot be overlooked! Good lighting is going to make your day infinitely better. From tabletop lamps to a replacement ceiling light fixture, and so on, you need to have squint-free, non-shadowed lighting in your workspace!
- A door: Seems silly, maybe, but important. You need to create a dedicated working space for you to get your work done. Working from home is already going to be distracting enough as it is, so make sure that you don’t make it worse by setting up under the stairs or in a corner of a living room. Have space with a door that you can close to focus.
Rely on the right technological integrations
Now that you have a good feel for how you want your office to work, and what pieces you need to include in it, it’s time to get a little more technical about it.
- Video collaboration: Since the workplace has gone virtual, most communication with coworkers and clients has, too. You’ll want to find the right video collaboration tool, be it an app or an online program, to make communication faster and easier. A great one to keep things simple and professional is Abeedesk. This is an entirely web-based video collaboration program that works on all operating systems and helps you get a solid connection between coworkers and/or clients without having to download anything. It takes a lot of the frustration out of it, especially for those who do not want to pay a lot of money for an expensive and complicated program that is over the top. Abeedesk is simple, online-based, and totally free!
- Desktop planners: Planning and collaborating is crucial when working from home, since you can’t exactly pop down the hall and see how someone is doing. Between video collaboration and desktop planners, though, you can easily make the change. These focus on team integration and proper organization in desktop form. Examples include Monday.com and Canva.
- Time management apps: There are all sorts of virtual desktop timers that will help you keep on track instead of getting lost in the world of YouTube. These are easily tweaked to your needs and are really effective for keeping your workday on track! Examples include ClickUp and Monday.com.
- Don’t forget a WiFi upgrade: Since video collaboration takes WiFi, as do your other work-based programs, make sure you’ve got enough speed to make them all work. If not, it will certainly be worth the upgrade, and save you a whole lot of frustrating and wasted time.
Top tips for your remote office design
Still looking for a few last-minute tips to help you make the most out of your remote office design? Here are some pointers!
- Get a handle on those cords: Nothing will drive you crazy (and lead you to work from your bed or couch) faster than cords. Get a handle on minimizing and organizing your cords so there’s no chaotic snarl of cords that, of course, knock everything onto the floor the moment you try to untangle something. Keep on top of it every single day!
- Be flexible as you get used to it: What works for you in the beginning, may need an upgrade or shift after 6 months. That doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, it just means that you are learning what you need and don’t need. Be open and flexible to making changes so that your space actually works for you, instead of just looking pretty!
- Consider painting your space to a work-themed color: You’d be surprised what a lick of paint can do! Pick a color that helps you focus. Maybe it’s energizing red, or sophisticated purple, or classic white, etc.
Remote working in a home office is certainly an adjustment, but it’s going to be a wonderful way to save on costs and enjoy a commute-free life! These tips will help you make the most out of the space and really, truly enjoy it!