So you’re now working from home. A remote work day requires a new way of thinking and planning. You need to figure out how to to create a workspace at home that’s quiet and free of chaos. Finding a distraction-free zone is hard, isn’t it?
Working remotely means you could be dealing with pets, children, significant others, roommates and all of the other daily household life alongside your regular remote work day.
And let's not forget those other distractions provided by the current news cycle and changes in the world plus the influx of social media, to name a few. There is so much to derail you during a regular work day at the office, and even more so at home.
You face the challenge of how to create a workspace at home that helps you overcome the inevitable distractions, get your work done and feel productive. It can be done. Here’s how.
Creating a Distraction-Free Home Workspace
First, you want a workspace that helps you succeed and continue to be valuable to your co-workers and your team. If you’re a manager, a well-thought-out workspace is key to your success in discovering how to effectively manage a remote team.
While those who work remotely are often known as the deskless workforce in office speak, that doesn’t mean you won’t use a desk or a table at home. It means you aren’t taking up space at the traditional office. You still want to set up a place with the amenities of an office, if you are able.
It’s best to dedicate a space where you can have quiet and privacy and your own desk. If you don’t have a space available for a dedicated home office, try to find a place in your house that gives you a desk-like feel.
This could be your kitchen table, a card table or a bar with a comfortable stool. Maybe it’s time to borrow your child’s desk or move some furniture around your house or apartment to find the perfect setup for your needs. You might need to get a little creative.
Wherever you set up shop, you need to consider a few things about your room of choice. How close is your internet router? You want to ensure you have a strong connection.
Will you be making video calls? If so, what's behind you and what can the camera see when you are online? You don’t want colleagues, partners and customers seeing a pile of dirty laundry on a conference call.
Also, what is your view? What YOU see each day while you work is important, too. If you are going to find yourself staring at a sink full of dirty dishes, you may want to consider moving or making sure things are tidy before the work day begins. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted.
Here are a few additional suggestions to eliminate or at least reduce distractions during your remote work day:
Have a plan for your pets.
Replace the squeaker toys from their basket with a chew stick. Move that dog bed a little closer to your chair so they can nap while you work. Plan walks and breaks in consideration of them, too. Walking the dog during your lunch hour is an absolute perk!
Plan for your kids.
Set work hours that can accommodate their needs. If your spouse is also working from home, compare calendars and separate your breaks to spend time with the children*. A schedule for the children may be too much to handle, but maybe a checklist of goals? Set reasonable expectations for the kids.
Also, let them join in your work day when possible. Your co-worker would love to see the picture they drew during the meeting. No one minds if you feed the baby during the training, as long as you are on mute during the call.
Use your office computer for only work-related needs.
Check Facebook and the news on your phone or personal PC. This will help you define the time truly spent working versus focusing on personal activities and really spur remote work enablement.
Working from home can have its challenges, especially if you’re new to it. It also has many advantages. By following these tips for how to create a workspace at home, you’ll have a roadmap for building one that meets your needs and supports the way you work in your home.
Coming up soon in this series, a look at how to socialize distantly and stay connected with your work family. Again, stay tuned!
*For more content on entertaining/home educating the children right now look here for one of my family's favorite activities right now and a perfect lunch break together: https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willem