My husband thinks that I’m crazy when it comes to office design. He might be right… it drives me absolutely bonkers to have my desk facing a wall. I want to be looking either out a window or into the room. Actually, I want to be looking at the ocean, but in the real world that is not always possible (although there is a nice new coworking facility in town with ocean view desks). I am lucky that I have never had to spend much time in a cubicle. I suspect the walls would crowd in around me and I might start babbling and drooling.
One of the beautiful things about being a remote worker is that you have control over your work environment to a much greater extent than you do in a traditional office setting. Feeling sick? Work from bed with your favorite blankie and a dog snuggled up next to you! Need a change of scenery to get the creative juices flowing? Head to a local coffee shop! Need to buckle down and get a project finished? Close the office door, turn off your phone notifications and get to work!
One of the keys to being a successful remote worker is being in tune with your work habits and knowing what you need in order to be the most productive. In additional to figuring out when you are at your best, you must also determine where you are at your best. Then, use that knowledge to take control of your workspace and put it to work for you.
Sure you can work from the couch every day, but that is probably not a very good long-term solution. Imagine the damage you would be causing to your spine crouching over your laptop with hunched shoulders. Besides, wouldn’t the remote control be calling your name to watch just one more episode of the recently released 5th season of House of Cards?
Carrie, the owner of Triumph Endurance Events, had unexplained shoulder and neck pain a few years ago. After consulting with a doctor and having several tests done, she wound up working with a physical therapist to track down the root of her problem. It turns out that she was spending a lot of time clicking with a mouse as she designed course maps and venue layouts. Although she was working at a desk with an external mouse, the angle of her arm and shoulder and long work hours was causing damage. After a few minor tweaks, including hooking her laptop to a raised external monitor and getting an office chair with arms to support her clicking, the pain dissipated and she was able to resume her normal work schedule.
In addition to the physical problems that come with working from the couch (or a beach chair) daily, you also want to think about the kind of work you are doing. While many remote workers do not interact verbally with colleagues or clients on a daily basis, some of you do. You want to come across as both professional and reliable. In a traditional office this shows in your personal presentation, cleanliness of your workspace, and your attendance. Virtually you need to find other ways to show this to your colleagues and your boss. One way is to have a professional backdrop for video conference calls and to always have a quiet space to call from when holding meetings. Little things make a big difference when working remotely. You will want to ensure there are no interruptions, like a dog barking or a child walking into the room. If possible, you should set up a dedicated work space, with a door that locks, to use for this purpose. That doesn’t mean that you need to spend 40 hours a week chained to that desk! For heaven’s sake, part of the beauty of being a remote worker is that you can control where you are working from. But having the dedicated space can make a big difference when it is time to meet with you boss, a new client, or a colleague.
Public Service Announcement
Tomorrow, June 2nd, is National Donut Day here in the United States. It may not be the best day to work from the the local donut shop, as they will be packed with seekers of sweet treats. However, drop by any of these locations to pick up a free snack to keep your focused and fueled throughout the day!
Now it is your turn!
If you could design the space you work in, remembering there are no rules regarding location, where would it be and what would it look like? Comment below and tell us your ideal work location.