You can’t beat the freedom of setting your own hours and working in your own space. Some people thrive on the workplace routine, but for those of us who like to take life at our own pace, working from home just feels right. Not to mention you get your pick of office. You want to put a desk in the master bedroom and sleep in the guest room? Hey, that’s your call to make. That’s one of the main benefits of the job: Being in charge of your own workspace. Here are some ideas to really make it work.
1. Select the Right Home
A two-bedroom house may sound like a great idea for a small family, but are you going to have devoted space to yourself for working? You may love the view from the outskirts of town, but when you get near the more rural areas of Santa Fe, will you have access to high-speed internet? You’re not just a homeowner now, you’re Chief Executive Officer, so think like a CEO when investing in a property where you want to telecommute.
Just like a CEO, you can delegate parts of the job of finding the right home for telecommuting. Let your Barker real estate agent know you’re in the market for a home from which you can telecommute. Fill out our telecommuting homebuyer checklist and share it with your Barker agent so that he or she can scope out the properties that fit your desired home profile.
2. Have an Office
The work-from-home daydream is working on the couch, laptop in hand, or out on the back patio. The reality is that you need to focus on your job and turn in your usual high performance. Keeping your relaxation spaces for relaxing and your workspace for working will help you to stay focused when you need to focus and relaxed when it’s time to relax. You can move your office around the house later, trying out different spots to figure out where you feel the most productive, but just make sure you have a dedicated workspace.
3. Stock Your Breakroom (Wisely)
You definitely want to keep your favorite coffee or tea in stock (we recommend the Pistachio blend from New Mexico Pinon Coffee, or maybe their cold brew concentrate for warmer days), but working from home can be the worst thing to happen to your diet. The fridge is just a short walk away, and who’s to say you haven’t earned a snack after filling out that spreadsheet? As a general rule: Fruit and high-fiber snacks are a good way to stay full without loading up on fats and sugars, so don’t be afraid to buy way more bananas than you think you need.
4. Invest in Comfort
We’ve all worked in an office where we had to wonder what the boss’s excuse was for not investing in more comfortable chairs. Well, you’re the boss now. What’s your excuse? Build an office you want to work in. An ergonomic workstation goes a long way toward productivity. Check out these tips from the Mayo Clinic on how to set one up. Standing versus sitting? A recent New York Times article looks at both sides of the issue, calling standing desks overrated. Whichever you choose, do what’s comfortable for you.
When it comes to your chair, opt for one that’s ergonomically designed, fully adjustable, and with wheels. Check out this article from the New York Times Wirecutter for their recommendations on the best office chairs.
5. Invest in Quality
On that note, don’t you think it’s time to upgrade your work equipment? If you’re happy with your five-year-old laptop that doesn’t like booting up on cold days, that’s your prerogative, but as long as you’re bringing home that ergonomic work chair and mahogany desk you’ve had your eye on, it only makes sense to consider upgrading your hardware while you’re at it.
6. Noise-Canceling Headphones Aren’t a Bad Idea
You never know when your next-door neighbor is going to start a noisy construction project. Santa Fe is a nice spacious town where you generally have a buffer zone between your home and the next home over, but it seems like they’re making table-saws louder and louder these days. Check out Forbes’ recommendations for Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones.
7. Let People Know When You’re Working
Whether you have a flexible schedule or a strict nine to five, let friends and family know that, yes, it is a real job, and that means that you can’t always blow off work whenever you want to. But . . .
8. Be Sociable
We tend to take for granted the importance of regular daily socializing. Those idle chats with co-workers actually go a long way toward keeping us sane. Have friends over, get out of the house, and meet people. You might have the best job in the world, and you may be content to spend hours alone, but without some human interaction, you may wind up experiencing a kind of cabin fever. And on that note . . .
9. Make Time for Networking
Don’t think you’re free from office politics just yet. Even in today’s all-online workplaces, there’s still a social aspect that needs to be managed. Drop in at HQ when you can, attend all company meetings remotely, or stay in touch on Slack or Skype. Just make sure to remind them that you’re part of the company.
10. Watch TV While You Work
Okay, if TV is too distracting, don’t watch TV while you work. But do something to create a comfortable atmosphere for yourself. If music helps you focus, play some music. If you like the sound of rainforests or waves crashing on the beach, put that on.
In many ways, you do need to manage your office like a conventional office, but you don’t need to consider anyone’s comfort but your own, meaning that if it helps you to watch reruns of “The Office” while you’re working, go ahead and watch reruns of “The Office.”
Working from home isn’t for everyone. You need to be a self-starter, you need to be good at setting goals, and you need to be good at managing your time. But the key difference for many of us may just be whether or not we have the right work environment. The good news is: That’s up to you.