Your work environment will determine your success and productivity.
Working from home is hailed for all its perks—a flexible work schedule, reduced cost of living, and wearing comfortable clothing and fuzzy slides. But there are also disadvantages.
It's tempting to slack off. There's no one looking over your shoulder to keep you accountable. There are countless distractions that make you procrastinate. And all of this leads to a drop in productivity. Your environment has a massive impact on your behavior and, in many cases, you don’t even realize it.
The way you set up your work environment can either hinder or help your productivity. Even the most skilled workers will struggle to get things done if their pet keeps blocking the monitor.
Here are 5 steps for improving your work environment and overall productivity.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
The first step is to create a dedicated workspace.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a corner in your bedroom or a separate room altogether. What matters is that you have a space that’s just for work. You won't have control over everything in your environment, but you can optimize it to fit your needs. First, start organizing your desk and making it clutter-free. Then communicate clear boundaries with your loved ones to avoid distractions and disturbance during work hours.
These little tweaks can make a big difference in your work day.
2. Gather All the Necessary Equipment
Make sure you have the equipment to get the job done.
This includes your computer, ring light, noise-canceling headphones, and webcam. Some employers provide the necessities—but ultimately, you're responsible for gathering the tools for being effective. Without the right tools, your workflow will be interrupted and reduce your productivity.
You don’t have to buy everything at once. Start with the basics and then add as you go.
3. Manage Your Notifications
It’s natural to crave connection.
But have you ever stopped working to look at a text and suddenly, you've blown through three hours of social media? Remote workers have fewer opportunities to chat with their coworkers. And while technology helps us stay in touch, it also hurts our ability to focus. Constant interruptions lead to countless missed opportunities and poor work results.
Be deliberate with notification and technological distractions. Consider muting your notifications until you take a break. Put your phone out-of-sight. And close any unnecessary tabs.
By reigning in your technology, you open up opportunities to focus and be productive.
4. Maintain Work-Life Boundaries
A major challenge with remote work is feeling like you’re “on” all the time. This can be detrimental to your health and well-being.
You'll want to create and maintain healthy work-life boundaries to avoid overwhelm. It’s important to have dedicated work hours and then stick to them. That way, you can enjoy your evenings and weekends without stress. You can also communicate with your coworkers and family about these boundaries to better manage everyone's expectations.
Setting these boundaries won’t happen overnight, but creating a schedule that suits you is essential.
5. Experiment With Your Productivity
Spend time tweaking the work systems in your environment.
We all have different conditions that make us most productive—the temperature, audio setup, the comfort of your chair and desk, and even your clothing. Some people prefer to work in silence, while others need background noise to focus. The key is to experiment until you find what works best for you.
Once you’ve found your sweet spot, try to recreate those conditions every day.
Optimizing your work environment is the first step to thriving in a remote work setting.
Following these steps can improve your focus, concentration, and motivation. Creating a productive workspace is an ongoing process, and it looks different for everyone. The key is to find what works for you and stick with it.
Want to learn more about how your surroundings impact your productivity? Check out our article: How the Environment Shapes Your Behavior and Productivity.