For many of us, working from the comfort of our home is a dream that we’d love to come true. Escaping that soul-crushing commute, being able to really focus without chatty coworkers looming over our desk and even squeezing in a bit of personal time during the day, make a remote job seem ideal.
And although it definitely has its perks, working from home is not without its challenges. Putting in longer than average hours, feeling isolated and dealing with technology hiccups are just a few of the downsides to giving up the office day-to-day.
Neteffects recruiter Lisa DaVault, however, has found the sweet spot and is thriving working from her new home in sunny Florida. “I’ve been with neteffects four years,” said Lisa, and when it became necessary for me to relocate, I was so happy they agreed to let me stay on and work remotely.” Although Lisa enjoys working from her home, neteffects also offered to set her up in a collaborative workspace if she changes her mind.
Without formal office systems and processes, some remote employees can feel that it’s hard to prioritize and stay on task.
Here are 5 tips from Lisa on how to set up an efficient, effective and well-organized home office:
- Designate a space for work. Even though it might be tempting to answer emails from your bed, you will be much more productive if you designate a specific workspace in your home. Lisa’s work space is a small area between her living room and dining room.
“Even though my work space has a window, I positioned my desk so I face the wall when I work so I stay focused,” said Lisa. “The idea is to separate “being at work” from “being at home.”
- Get rid of the clutter. Without a boss or coworkers giving you the evil eye if your work space is a tad on the messy side, it’s easy to let clutter overtake your work world. Make it a point to maintain a neat and organized desk.
“My home office space is small,” says Lisa, “so I keep the décor simple, and minimalistic.”
- Have the right equipment. Without the right equipment, working remotely will never work. In order to function off site as efficiently as you would in the office you are going to need an up-to-date computer or laptop, stable and reliable Internet access, the ability to log on to your company’s intranet and, of course, a cell phone. Some remote workers even choose to have a separate work phone number and email address. In addition to technology, though, you need to have the right desk, chair and organizational tools to make you as productive as possible.
“I had a stand-up desk when I was working with neteffects in St. Louis,” says Lisa, “and I loved that. So when I moved, I knew I wanted to have a stand-up desk at home, too. I also have two computer screens, which I find makes me more productive. And even though almost all of my work is stored electronically, I still have an old-fashioned bulletin board and hanging calendar to keep important papers and dates in front of me.”
Go paperless. Generating less paperwork is a good way to keep home office spaces clutter-free and organized. It also saves trees, and that’s a good thing.
“I don’t like to waste a lot of paper, “ says Lisa. “I prefer to use Excel and store my documents electronically. That also helps keep my workspace orderly.
- Use technology to stay in touch. With today’s advances in technology and a stable Internet connection, staying in touch with those at ‘the office’ is easier than ever. Neteffects uses Beam technology, which allows Lisa to telecommute to meetings in St. Louis. Neteffects uses Zoom communications software, which combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat and mobile collaboration.
“One thing I miss about not working in the office is the interaction I had with coworkers. The Beam allows me to feel like I’m really there, and it’s fun to ‘drive’ right from my computer.”
With more and more people searching for a better work-life balance, leaving behind the typical office environment in favor of a remote position, offers many advantages. It’s important, though, to consider the challenges too. At neteffects, we trust our employees to do their very best for us, and we want to empower them with the resources they need to do just that, whether that’s onsite for one of our clients, remotely, at our corporate offices (or any combination of the three).