So how do you make working from home… work?
What’s the Best Location for a Home Office?
We all have favorite spaces in our home. The family room is where we go to relax, entertaining ourselves or others. Kitchens are another popular gathering space and a place for creativity. Our bathrooms and bedrooms we reserve for solitude and much-needed privacy, while our basements and garages often serve as hobby spaces or straight-up storage areas. So which of these spaces makes the best home office?
Some people are lucky enough to have a den or a spare room they can convert to a home office. Everyone else has to make the most of what they have by re-purposing an existing space. Let’s survey our options:
Pros: Usually has a large table, island or both
Cons: Fridge calls to you all day, people coming and going creates distraction
Pros: Larger space, comfy couch and chairs, great WiFi signal
Cons: Comfy couch, TV, and all the streaming services
Cons: Not ideal unless you live alone, or have multiple bathrooms, lack of comfortable seating
Pros: Generally private
Cons: Comfy bed make naps a constant temptation, may never get out of PJs
Garage or Basement
Pros: More isolated than other areas of the house
Cons: Pressure to organize holiday decorations, mess around with hobby stuff
Joking aside, finding the right space where you can effectively work from home comes down to separating work and home life as much as possible. Even if you have a very humble abode you can create a productive home office environment by following these remote work best practices.
- Close the door or use a partition to create a physical barrier between home and work life.
- Choose a space with easy access to outlets and a strong WiFi connection so you can stay in one place.
- Establish business hours and stick to them. Tell others in your home unavailable during these hours and, even though you’re home, you’re not to be disturbed. You may have to explain this more than once.
- Stock your office with everything you need to get the job done so you don’t have to “leave work” for supplies. This will also prevent you from bringing your work into living spaces.
- Keep healthy snacks and drinks on hand. A coffee machine, kettle and/or mini-fridge will minimize trips to the kitchen where tempting treats await. Conversely, keep your lunch in the kitchen fridge so you give yourself a proper lunch break.
If you're looking for more resources and ideas, The Balance has a useful checklist of home office essentials to ensure you have everything you need. Check out these tips for overcoming common challenges remote workers face including avoiding squirrels, setting boundaries, and loneliness. Stay tuned for our upcoming article about managing kids and creating a distraction-free home office environment.
In our next article, we’ll address one of the biggest problems for remote office workers - time management. Though we can’t add more hours to the day, our experienced training consultants can recommend ways for time-crunched fleet managers to get more done each day.