It’s no secret that space has a profound impact on our productivity and many other aspects of our lives. Research shows that those who have control over the layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier but also up to 32% more productive.
Now, remote workspaces have become part of the new normal for many of us. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to pay attention and arrange it according to one’s individual needs.
In my practice as a productivity specialist, I like to present my clients with a “to-don’t” checklist. And one of the first points that I follow up on is regarding the environment we work in since it is one of the main productivity fundamentals.
But with this freedom of choice for remote office space comes great responsibility. Following our own unique ideas, needs, and wants in a remote work setup gives us the pleasure of easing into the “work mode” much more effortlessly, creating the opportunity to become much more productive and successful.
While we are in charge, we must understand what serves us best and what should be eliminated. Without further delay, here are several important aspects of why an inspiring remote workspace will set you up for career success and how to make it your reality.
1. It Creates Focused Action
While we might understand that productivity is defined not by how much we do but by the quality of actions we take, in an office environment, distractions may derail us from effective prioritizing.
However, with an at home work setup, we already can predict our distractions, therefore, eliminate them before they occur.
Step back and analyze a bit. What takes your attention to wander away from the task? What do you think triggers you to get distracted?
While there are a lot of things that distract us every day, we are not without fault here. We are the ones letting ourselves get distracted thinking, “it will just be a minute,” turning out into another hour of wrong focus.
To tackle those nasty triggers that distract us from focused action, here is your 3-step system:
Step 1: Identify 5 Senses
- Sound – chit chat, pets, white noise, music
- Touch – chair, clothes, table
- Sight – screen, wallpaper, environment, view
- Smell – coffee, nature, scent
- Taste – aftertaste, what you’re eating/chewing
Your work environment should be triggered by as less of those triggers as possible, so choose wisely. To do that, you must identify what distracts you most in terms of the five senses.
Step 2: Eliminate Your Options
If you have your phone or bag of peanuts on your working desk, you will likely get yourself distracted by one of them. To avoid that, put your phone somewhere else and hide peanuts so they are not in hand reach.
It is very easy to pick up your phone when you hear that “bing” sound whenever a new message comes in or when you see notifications on the screen popping up. You know your triggers best, so use that knowledge to your advantage.
Outside distractions hugely impact our work, but we tend to distract ourselves more than we should. So, keep focusing on your tasks and eliminate your options—it’s all in your hands.
Step 3: Set Boundaries
If a laptop is your main working gadget, you obviously can’t eliminate it from your distractions list. However, to keep yourself in focus, set boundaries to spend a certain amount of time on where you should not be spending time at all.
If you are taking a break from your work for ten minutes and start to watch Youtube videos about funny cats, it can drag much longer than just ten minutes (trust me, I know!). So, instead of continuously procrastinating, set boundaries.
For example, watch only two videos, or if you are allowing yourself to do it for five minutes, make sure to set a timer on it to keep yourself accountable and productive.
2. It Unleashes Creativity
Your remote workspace should be the most inviting, motivational, and inspiring place where you are in the zone to create.
You’re at-home work setup is a safe space for ideas to flow because you’ve created it to serve you. If the space makes you feel comfortable, it allows you to be the most productive you can be.
Your work performance depends on your productivity flow. So, knowing your flow is crucial if you want to better your performance, level up, and work less without sabotaging your success.
We’ve all seen people leveling up in business by getting busier as a normal progression, but how about leveling up and actually working less? That can be achieved by using your productivity flow wisely.
Understanding your productivity flow starts with finding your peak window. That is the time when you are more productive, most focused, more energized, and more everything.
So, look back at your days and ask:
- What is the best time for me to have team meetings?
- What is the best time for me to work in my zone of genius?
- What is the best time for me to take calls?
- What is the best time for me to do interviews?
By knowing these answers to your important questions, you will get the most out of the actions you’re doing. Plus, you will create greater impact and feel more in alignment with your purpose.
But you have to do the work because I can’t answer those questions for you. To help you a bit, I can tell you from experience that usually, it is between two to four hours every day.
Knowing this, look at your schedule and notice your energy level change from task to task. After understanding your flow, all you have to do is to fill that window with appropriate tasks.
3. It Has Your Order of Things
Order is an extremely important aspect of productive work. Without order, we would be lost and have difficulty focusing, not to mention prioritizing and management of all things work-related.
By taking the time to declutter and simplify your environment, you will be way on your way to better productivity. Your focus will increase and your mind will be clearer because there simply won’t be that many distractions.
A messy working desk is a reflection of a chaotic approach to work. That can impact your clarity, decision-making, and most of all, focus.
Where to Start and How Much Declutter?
Your work desk and laptop should be your priorities on this list. After all, this is where you spent most of your working hours. The next step is to maintain those areas clutter-free consistently and make sure you have a place for everything and everything in its place.
Everything that is keeping you stuck is clutter that you no longer need because it doesn’t serve you. Things you are not sure about are usually unnecessary as well. And remember that clutter stored away in the box somewhere deep in the closet is still clutter that takes your precious space.
Simplifying Always Works in Your Favor
Simplifying works in your favor because it saves you much precious time.
So, instead of putting folders into folders into folders, reevaluate your system (either electronic or physical). Is it simple enough for you to find things when you need them? Is your order of things serving you or making you work more?
BONUS: Declutter Questions to Help You Create a More Inspiring Workspace
While there might be more than just work-related stuff in your office space, it doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of everything leaving you with empty walls. It might not be easy to understand what should you get rid of at first.
Keep in mind that a cluttered space will keep you more distracted and serve as a trigger for unproductive action.
Whenever you are in doubt about what exactly is clutter, use the following five questions to simplify the process for yourself. By answering them you will get very clear very quickly on what stuff needs to leave your office space.
Improved Remote Workspace Research
A 2007 study found that the usual bland grey, beige, and white paint on office walls affected employees’ moods, causing feelings of sadness and even depression.
Another research showed that the temperature, lighting, and even smells can directly impact your productivity. It was said that the optimal temperature for a typical workplace environment is around 22 °C. A 2002 study also showed that workers with natural light sources stayed focused on tasks for 15% longer than those who worked in artificial lighting only.
Moreover, employees who worked in a windowless environment reported less vitality and less sleep. Finally, according to a 2014 report, what we smell can affect our productivity for the better. A lemon scent resulted in 54% fewer mistakes.
Keep in mind that an inspiring workspace is not exclusive to those with a grand budget or extravagant ideas. You are in charge of your space, and only you can create it according to your desires.
To improve your workspace, you can add more light and your favorite colors in a form of art, flowers, panels, and shelves. The options are endless and depend on what you want to achieve.
Follow the how’s above and you will find yourself more satisfied in your remote office space than ever before. Remember that you are in charge of your productivity, therefore, it’s your responsibility to excel and let your environment work in your favor.
Featured photo credit: Kristin Wilson via unsplash.com
|||^||University of Exeter: Designing your own workspace improves health, happiness, and productivity|
|||^||ResearchGate: Work week productivity, visual complexity, and individual environmental sensitivity in three offices of different color interiors|
|||^||Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Room temperature and productivity in office work|
|||^||National Renewable Energy Laboratory: A Literature Review of the Effects of Natural Light on Building Occupants|
|||^||PubMed Central: Impact of Windows and Daylight Exposure on Overall Health and Sleep Quality of Office Workers: A Case-Control Pilot Study|
|||^||The Guardian: Tips for boosting productivity with good office design|