15 Ways Remote Work Experts Create the Optimal Office Environment
by Thom Brown
Looking to succeed as a remote worker? Much of your professional progress comes down to your office environment. Get it right and you’ll be a productive worker who is capable of achieving great things. That’s why we created Anyplace Select: a carefully curated office environment inspired by experts of remote work. If you’d like to replicate this office environment, follow the 15 bits of advice below.
1. Find a Dedicated Space for Work
As a remote worker, it can be tempting to work from anywhere and everywhere, depending on how you’re feeling. On cold winter days, you may want to stay in your warm bed. When the sun comes out, perhaps you prefer to work outside. However, remote work experts know the benefits of consistency. If you have one single room that is dedicated solely to work, then you’ll be in the right mental state whenever you enter this room.
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, then transform it into your perfect office environment. Too many people make do with a kitchen or dining room table because they don’t realize what a difference a dedicated workspace can make.
2. Invest in a Quality Desk
In your home office, the desk is crucial. It’s the biggest item you’ll have in there and the foundation for all your equipment. At Anyplace Select, we recommend using the SmartDesk Core because it’s fully adjustable. There’s a lot of evidence around the benefits of a standing desk so having this option is a real boost. You might prefer an older wooden desk, though. As long as you feel happy and comfortable working from it, you’re onto a winner.
3. Think Ergonomics
Ergonomics are crucial for all elements of the home office environment, which is why Anyplace Select apartments focus on this area. We provide ergonomic computer mouses, ergonomic chairs, and ergonomic adjustable standing desks. These optimize your work routine, helping you avoid muscle strain, which leads to aches, pains, headaches, and fatigue. Rather than trying to adjust your body to your surroundings, create an office environment that’s perfectly adapted to you.
4. Buy a Bigger Screen
Digital eye strain is a major problem for the modern worker. Staring at a screen all day isn’t great for your eyes but this is exactly what being a remote worker requires. You can limit the fatigue caused by screens by simply using a bigger one. Anyplace Select properties come with a Samsung 34” monitor because we know that the average laptop isn’t adequate. This also allows you to see more things at once, reducing the need to constantly switch between tabs. If you only have a small screen available right now, then consider increasing the size of the text so that it’s easier on the eye.
5. Publicize Your Working Hours
The most successful remote workers are able to concentrate fully and deeply on the work at hand. They do this by blocking off time for work, in which they won’t accept communications from friends, family, or colleagues. Set your remote communication tool to “away” and make sure everyone knows you cannot be reached during these times. If you live with others, you may want to put your ‘do not disturb’ hours on your office door. Make use of asynchronous communication, responding to others only as and when your timetable allows it.
6. Buy a Better Microphone
There are certain bits of tech that make your office environment instantly more productive. One essential gadget is a microphone. This helps you to communicate more clearly and effectively during meetings, negotiations, interviews, and general work discussions. Whether you’re just talking via audio or on a video call, an external microphone creates crisp, clear audio that helps you to communicate your message clearly and ultimately achieve more. Our Anyplace Select microphone recommendations are the HyperX QuadCast or the Blue Yeti.
7. Buy a Better Camera
Similarly, a camera can make all the difference. When you’re on a video call, whether with a client, a customer, a potential employer, or a business partner, you’ll come across a lot better in high-definition. That’s why our Anyplace Select properties are equipped with the Logitech C920x. This helps you use non-verbal communication to your advantage and improves your image to the people that matter.
8. Eliminate Distractions
As humans, we get distracted constantly. In fact, studies suggest that we get distracted every eight seconds – less than a goldfish! If you don’t give yourself anything to be distracted by, then you’ll eliminate much of this wasted time. That means opting for a minimalist office. Don’t put a television in there and try to leave your phone in another room as much as possible. When I need to focus solely on writing creative and original work, I like to switch off my internet. This way, I won’t get notifications and won’t be tempted to quickly check my email or social media.
9. Find Peace and Quiet
All outside noise takes up mental energy, leaving you with less energy to dedicate to your work tasks. That’s why experts of remote work always try to work from a peaceful and quiet environment. When looking for a work-from-home apartment, be sure to check the area carefully. Is it by a busy street or local school? If so, you may find it hard to work in a quiet space. Ideally, you’d have a soundproofed room that blocks out the outside world and lets you focus deeply on the task at hand.
10. Fill the Room with Stress Reducers
Work is stressful so you need to work in the opposite direction. Create a space that is calming and soothing. Natural colors like blue and green have been shown to induce states of calm by reminding you of nature. Boost this effect by bringing plant life into your office space along with anything else that you find soothing. For me, nothing relieves stress more effectively than having my old dog sleeping soundly by my feet.
Fill your room with calming scents and sounds, as well. Lavender, vanilla, and sage are known to offer a relaxing effect that offsets any increased blood pressure caused by work deadlines. High-quality speakers or headphones playing gentle classical music and natural sounds can also make your home office a stress-free environment.
11. Work on Your Interior Design
Your place of work should be a joy to come to. If it isn’t, you won’t want to go there and you certainly won’t stay very long. I’m writing this article from the shed at the bottom of my garden. At first, it was a bit dusty and full of old paint cans. Over time, I’ve tidied it, cleaned it, and decorated it to my liking. Now, when I take that gentle walk down the garden path that leads from my back door to my shed, I get a tingle of excitement.
Coming here is a joy because it’s my own space and I’ve made it just that. I like the old rustic feel of it but you may prefer something fluffier, comfier, and more modern. Each to their own, but take a weekend or two to really figure out your interior design. More than any other room of the house, your home office should be a pleasant place in which to spend long periods of the day.
12. Work on Your Leisure Spaces, Too
Why isn’t it that every startup company has a room with a ping pong table in it? It’s because millennial CEOs understand the power of play. Although your workspace should be optimized for productivity, it’s important to combine this with optimal leisure spaces. Taking breaks is important for working hard consistently over a long period of time. Create a games room that will encourage you to take regular breaks if you find you suffer from burnout.
13. Put the WiFi Router in Your Office
How far is your WiFi router from where you work? If it’s in another room, then move it. The closer you are to the router, the faster and more stable your internet connection will be. The faster and more stable your connection, the quicker you’ll get stuff done. The quicker you get stuff done, the more successful you’ll be. The knock-on effect of simply moving your WiFi router could turn out to be huge.
14. Have Regular Clear-Outs
A minimalist office environment is one that is conducive to concentration. Over time, though, you’ll find that junk piles up. Letters from the gas company, post-it notes, minutes from meetings, quick accountancy calculations, and a drawerful of empty pens and paper clips can slowly take over your office space. Once a month, organize your stuff and clear out anything you don’t need. Get your files in order so that you can quickly find what you need. While you’re physically tidying your home office, why not also do a digital clear-out of old computer files and emails as well?
15. Do Regular Deep Cleans
Indoor air pollution is an invisible productivity killer. As weeks and months pass, toxins and dust build up in the air around you. By spending hours at your desk, you’re then breathing this in continually. This indoor air pollution is a leading cause of headaches and fatigue, while an office environment filled with clean air will help you feel focused and alert. Combat indoor pollution by cleaning regularly with all doors and windows open. You may also want to invest in better ventilation or an air conditioning system to help maintain clean and healthy air.
There are many factors that contribute to a productive office environment. Above are just 15 of the best as utilized by remote work experts. Build your environment around you to help yourself push on and achieve your goals as a digital nomad.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Born in Oxford, UK, Thom has been a digital nomad since graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2016. He’s a freelance writer and founder of Thom Brown Travel. Thom specializes in minimalist, ethical, and meaningful travel writing.