Being a remote worker can be tough. Despite what people tell you, it’s not all pyjamas and early finishes. With no formal office environment or beady eyed colleagues, it’s quite easy to succumb to the slippery slope of distraction without a moments warning. A sure-fire way to curb your wandering-eyed tendencies is to make sure the space around you is as focused and work inspiring as possible; and with unlimited artistic license there’s really no excuse to not create yourself a unrivalled sanctuary of productivity. Or at least somewhere to get stuff done.
Find a Place to Make the Magic Happen
This ones obvious isn’t it? But never the less extremely important. The first step to becoming a successful home worker is to, wait for it, find a spot to work in- ta dah! This could be a spare room, a corner of that rarely used dining room or even the cupboard under the stairs (not recommend). Flitting from room to room whenever you feel like it will not do anything for your work/ home-life separation; and balancing your laptop on your knee as you lounge on the sofa will only inevitably lead to naps, lots of naps. So find a nice spot, tell housemates, partners and children to stay well clear, and set to making it your own.
Invest in the Best (Chair)
A good chair may be the most important thing in your new home office, maybe even more important than the computer. You’re going to have to sit on this thing 7/8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 45 or so weeks a year for the foreseeable future, so make an investment and get a good one- it will be worth it. Not just your standard black leather job, I’m talking lumber support, seat tilt, adjustable recline; the works. If ever forced to work on one of those standard blue wobbly office chairs again I may just leave the country. They’re not good for your back, your mood or your productivity. You can get your bum on some fancy productivity-inspiring ones over at Shape Seating or try Keilhauer if you’re after something ultra sleek and modern.
Keep it Clean and Well Decorated
Marks on paintwork and curled up carpet tiles are all too easy to ignore and learn to live with when they’re in a traditional office and the maintenance of which is not in your jurisdiction. This is not the case when they surround you in your own home. If you don’t iron out any minor DIY issues when you first establish your home office your inner distraction demon will have you reaching for the paintbrush before you can say “counter-productive”. It’s also a great idea to clean as you go, as tempting as it may be sometimes to run from your desk the moment the clock hits 5:30, try to always leave a minute or so to clear your desk at the end of each day; coming back to a nice clean tidy work space the next morning makes 9am all the more bearable, besides, if you don’t tidy as you go it’s only a matter of time until you find yourself buried under a mountain of invoices and Marsbar wrappers.
Get Something Green
Having a plant in your work space is great for lots of reasons. Studies have shown that sticking something leafy on the edge of your desk actually improves concentration and increases productivity. The test conducted at the University of Exeter found that workers given the exact same task were 15% more productive if they had some foliage around them. It’s also claimed that tending to a potted plant is a fantastic stress reliever- who knew? If, however, you can’t be trusted to keep a real one alive then even a fake one is aesthetically pleasing and brightens the space up dramatically.
Make Good (Colour) Choices
When it comes to designing your new creative haven, colour is important. Don’t be afraid to go bold. Remember, Magnolia is no ones creative best friend. A good basis to go off is to choose colours you’re normally drawn to, so if you tend to reach for pale grey shirts, the shade is probably not going to irritate the hell out of you on your office walls. Green comes strongly recommended for offices, it promotes feelings of balance and harmony whilst also relieving symptoms of stress. I can’t promise how effective it will be at 11:30pm as you pull your hair out trying to meet a fast approaching deadline, but it’s worth a shot. Head over to Dulux’s Room Painter site to visualise how your office space will look.
Light it Up
The right lighting can make all the difference to a space. What’s the point of all that calming green paint and your new Japanese Peace Lily if it’s all sat in the dark? Get a good lamp, preferably adjustable, so you can illuminate anything that takes your fancy, be it your desk, the pin board, or your face for all those evening Skype meetings you’ll be having. If you fancy something a bit more unusual to the standard pixar lamp, try Uncommon Goods for original lighting designs. A desk near to a window with lots of lovely natural light is also preferable however, this can be dangerous if it’s directly facing the window and you’ve chosen a ground floor work space. The inevitable watching of people, dogs and plastics bags in the wind are all counter productive and should be avoided.
Update Your Tech
Ain’t nobody got time for under performing technology. Fast Internet, a wifi printer, and a reliable laptop are all vital components in your stress free productive home office. An overheating old computer sounding like a Boeing 747 coming in to land is not going to help you to produce your best work. A good internet connection is a must. Look at it this way, if your internet is down, then so is your business. It may seem pricey, but this Asus Router is about as reliable as they come.
So there it is, follow these steps and you’ll have yourself an all singing all dancing productive home office in no time.