4 Steps to Creating the Ideal Remote Work Environment

by | Dec 10, 2015 | Freelancing, Remote work

What does your ideal work environment look like? Is it a bustling office inside a big city skyscraper? Perhaps it is outdoors, where you are constantly on the move, or maybe you like working in peace and quiet in a calm, serene indoor setting?

As our lives become increasingly digital and the millennial population begins to dominate the workforce, remote work is considered more viable of an option than it ever has been before. Although remote work is not for everyone and every profession, one of the best parts of working remotely is the flexibility it provides. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that you can work in the way that suits you best; very few on-site jobs provide the flexibility to work where, when and how you want.

In the 2014 Kelly Global Workforce Index by Kelly Educational Staffing, 54% of respondents said they expect arrangements such as remote work options and flexible schedules in their ideal workplace.

Given that most workers already use digital tools such as smartphones, tablets, cloud storage, and virtual private networks in their personal lives, it makes sense that modern workers now expect an employer to let them use these tools so they can work in new, more productive, and more beneficial ways.

In fact, about 30 million Americans work from home at least one day every week—and some of us work remotely every single day. With the offsite trend on the rise, how can the remote worker best ensure that they are in the best environment for them? After all, remote work is about how you do it best—not how your supervisor does it, your co-worker does it, or even your neighbor, for that matter.

To create your customized, ideal remote workspace, here are the four most important things to consider:

  1. Your Environment

If you have complete autonomy over where you work, you better pick a place that you enjoy and makes you thrive. Don’t settle for anything less! Whether it’s in a small, upstairs office with big windows, or a quiet, loft-like nook, make sure your workspace puts you in a good mood. If that means you have to make adjustments to your space, by all means, go for it!

Recommendations include natural lighting to avoid drowsiness and to keep your energy steady, the proper temperature so you aren’t too hot and sleepy or too cold and distracted, and even a manageable, small house plant that can share your sunlight and simultaneously reduce stress levels and air pollution.

  1. Your Well-Stocked Workspace

Once you’ve decided on your space, fill it with what inspires you and makes you productive, but don’t over-clutter so much that you can’t find a spot on the desk or are distracted by your whimsy additions. Of course, family photos, quotes, and tranquil images can be great for a motivating work environment. Paint colors like red and orange have even been found to be psychologically distracting. Invest in beneficial equipment, like ergonomic keyboards and mice and back-friendly chairs. You may even prefer a standing desk.

Always keep your supplies well-stocked, too. There’s nothing more distracting than being completely out of paper when you need to print a presentation—to the store you go, and time is wasted. Avoid midday supply runs by doing a monthly (or even bi-weekly) inventory of your stock.

  1. Your Ideal Schedule

Early bird or night owl? The question divides, but the struggle is real. Depending on your body’s natural clock, you may work best early in the morning, late at night, or somewhere in between.

Night owls trying to work a 9-5 job may find it difficult or impossible, and some people will never even glance at a third shift job ad. The beauty of working remotely, in most cases, is that you can get the work done when you are at your productivity peak, as long as the deadlines are met.

  1. Your Productivity Tools

With the barrage of apps, software tools, and gadgets available, you can remain productive in a remote work environment. If you work on a team, collaborative communication tools like Asana and Voxer can easily keep your group connected and accountable.

Other awesome productivity tools include f.lux, a computer display that adapts to time of day, Sprout Social, so you can manage social media on the go and schedule ahead of time, and Workfrom, so if you want to get out of the usual office you can find a great coffee shop or co-working space that’s friendly for remote workers.

By considering these four areas of the remote workspace, you can help yourself perform to the best of your ability. As a remote worker, your day is customized to your talents, your schedule, and your ideal work environment. The more flexible your schedule is, the more diligent you have to be with structure and boundaries. However, we think the rewards definitely outweigh the planning and preparation.

 

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