Article Courtesy of Katie Conroy
The transition to remote work comes with a multitude of challenges, but work-life balance can be one of the toughest. It’s important to have some kind of boundary between your time on and off the clock. When that’s all happening in the same place, it’s easy for these boundaries to melt away. The feeling of being “always on” is a major challenge for people new to remote work, and it’s one you have to make an effort to address.
All the best pieces of advice — work in your home office, close the door at the end of the day — assume you have room to spare. But this isn’t always the case. Families living in small homes or sharing apartments with several roommates don’t have the luxury of dedicating a whole room to work. Fortunately, there are solutions. Here’s a look at a few ways you can create a dedicated workspace in even the smallest of spaces.
Focus on Portability
If you want a workspace you can tuck away at the end of the day, portability is the name of the game. This means that — unless you absolutely need it — a computer tower probably isn’t your best bet.
When you’re shopping for a work computer for home, look for laptops with discrete profiles. Your company might provide a laptop for you and, while it’s nice that you don’t have to pay for it, you’re usually stuck with whatever you get. If you’re buying one for yourself, look for deals and discounts in order to keep costs low.
It’s also worth checking out foldable desks and office chairs. There are countless options out there, and the great thing about this kind of office equipment is that you can tuck your workspace away at the end of the day. Yes, it’s not as firm a psychological barrier as leaving the room entirely, but it’s still better than having to look at all your sticky notes while you’re off the clock.
You might have more room to spare than you think — just be willing to think out of the box. For example, many people have unused room underneath their staircase. If you own your home, you can renovate this space and make an office space underneath. Not only are you creating a great productivity zone, but you’re also making usable space, boosting your property value along the way.
Renting a one-room or studio apartment? Take a look at your closets and see if there’s one you can clear (or partially clear) out. If so, you might be able to set your office up inside the closet. Keep the door open during the day, and once your work is done, push in the chair and close it. Voila! Workspace gone!
The Major Remote Workspace Mistake
If none of the ideas above are feasible, you’re going to have to work somewhere in your living space. We still recommend using a dedicated laptop and storing it out of sight at the end of the day. However, we want to bring up one major mistake people make when working out of small spaces: working in bed.
Working where you sleep is like eating where you…well, you know. They’re incompatible activities, and they’re going to make both experiences worse. When you’re on the clock, you’ll find yourself getting tired and unable to focus because your brain is thinking, “Wait, isn’t this where I sleep?” Then, over time, you’ll also start to have trouble falling and staying asleep because your brain will involuntarily go into work mode. Work on the couch or dining table if you must, but save the bed for snoozing.
Working from home in a small space comes with challenges, but with a little bit of creativity, you can thrive. Many people find that, once they get the hang of things, they’re happier and more productive working from home. If you can find your rhythm, you might just discover that remote work is right for you, after all.
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