The home office, the remote worker's holy place. The place where you experience career victories and grind through complex problems. Having a solid place to work from is vital for getting work done.
Since the home office is so important for everyone working remotely, I've decided to write a mini-series to help you create your home office! In this episode, I'll write about finding the right place in your home to work from.
#1 What is important to you?
First of all, you need a place where you can set up your office. It can be as simple as a few square feet in your studio apartment to place a desk. For instance, my "office" is in the corner of my bedroom, with a window beside me for some fresh air during the day.
Before you place a desk anywhere, ask yourself what the ideal environment of your workplace needs to be;
- Does it need to be quiet?
- Is fresh air important?
- Do want to look outside?
- Do you need some people around you?
- Anything else that you find important?
Make a list of all the things that are important for your ideal workplace, and nothing is too small to put on the list. Once done, move to step two.
#2 What places are available to you?
If you live in a studio apartment it may seem very easy; "I only have this corner to place my desk so I'll move it there and DONE". Well, if that corner checks off the majority of your "what's important" list, then go for it. If not, have you considered moving your bed or your couch? Make sure you hit as many of the "what's important" checkboxes as possible, after all, you'll spend the most time at this place besides your bed.
If you have multiple rooms available to you, it will be easier to find a place that checks of many boxes from your list. If there's a place in your house that is a better fit for the home office but is already used for something else, think about relocating that "something else". Sure if it's your kid's bedroom, you can't relocate that. But if that room is where you dump all your old stuff, think about cleaning that room and move in there.
Again keep in mind, you are going to spend the most of your time at this place.
#3 Bare minimum test
So you found your place, great! Now don't throw in (or out) all your stuff yet, it's important to test that place out. Maybe the room isn't as quiet as you thought. Or it just doesn't feel right to work from there.
To prevent you from settling in somewhere that isn't going to cut it, you'll need to check out every single spot that fits your important list for a minimum of two weeks. After those two weeks, switch to another spot even when you think you found the right place. You'll either be surprised by another spot or move back and never have to think about "what if I worked from that other spot that since have been occupied by the dirty laundry".
To make it easier for you to switch, here are two rules to follow during these two week periods;
- Only move the stuff that is crucial for your work. Most of the time this is your desk, chair, laptop and a power strip. The more things you bring with you, the more time consuming it will be to move to a different spot.
- You can't and don't want to move a massive desk around. If you can't quickly move your desk together with your spouse or a friend, buy a cheap but none wobbly fold up table. It's great for moving fast and after you moved permanently, it can serve you during parties or other activities.
If you work with a big computer rig, this might be a tedious step for you. However, I still encourage you to do this step anyway.
#4 Settling in
So after you tried out different places, you should now have a pretty good idea of where to settle. Now is the time to move everything out of that place. Wait, what??
If you followed the first and second rule of step three, it will be easy to move everything out of the room. Why? Because now you have a chance to paint the wall in a different color or pull out the carpet for laminate. This all of course if you have the budget to do so. If you don't have the time, you are not setting the right priorities.
If you are happy with the place, move that massive desk and all your other stuff. You've now created your own productivity holy place. 🎉.
#5 Do something else
You've settled in your new office, but try to rotate places from time to time. Go work from the kitchen table, the couch or go outside and sit in your garden for a day. See your office as your main base of operations, but changing where you work from any now and then can be refreshing. I can even inspire you, especially if you choose a place to work from where there are other people (coffee shop or flex desk). Experiment.
Hope you enjoyed this first entry in the home office series. What do you want to learn about the home office? Do you want to know about the best chairs? Or how to prevent your family or roommates from interrupting you during work hours? I am open to any suggestion, let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org.