How Can I Work From Home Without An Office?
With the abrupt entrance of the pandemic, a lot of things have shifted. This is incredibly accurate for office setups and environment(s). Upwork reports that 41.8% of the American workforce is already working from home. It is further estimated that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from the percentage of remote workers before the pandemic. The question on your mind must then be "How can I work from home without an office?" Great question! Let us look into it.
Undoubtedly, working remotely needs its own space. However, it is not mandatory to have an "official" home office. Yes! You read that right. It is possible to work from home without having a home office.
By being creative, you can achieve this by designating and furnishing the specific space for your home office, creating a work schedule, and more. In this article, I will guide you through these steps and also give insights on how to go about setting up your home office.
How to Work From Home Without An Office
1.Set & Know The Ground Rules
This is especially important for work that includes the handling and processing of sensitive information. For example, if you are a customer care representative for a banking company that does not permit the use of mobile phones while handling calls, honor that important rule while still working from home.
Other important rules to be aware of are the number of hours you are to work and what (tech) tools you may need.
If your job involves logging in into various systems, ensure you perform trial runs with all usernames and/or passwords to increase your productivity when it's time to start working. Setting ground rules is also important for the people around your designated working space.
This is especially important if you live with a roommate or family. For example, if there are children in the house, informing them of where they can play loudly and where they cannot make noise will be of great help. It will also save you from having to stop working, to go do this or that.
2.Designate Space For Work
This is one of the factors that will positively contribute to increased productivity while working from home. Trust me on this one. Working from your bed may seem like a good idea until you happen to fall asleep and wake up an hour later.
Creating your workspace environment is as simple as moving the pile of clothes from the corner of your room and placing a work desk there.
Other areas of your home that could be converted into a designated workspace include but are not limited to:
- Living Room
- Under The Staircase
It is important to note that wherever you choose to designate space for your work must be free of unnecessary noise. Sit away from that flat-screen television and do not get too close to the snack stack in the kitchen.
Statistics report that designating space for work will help you smoothly make the (mental) transition from an office work environment to a home working environment.
3.Furnish Your Space
Not having an "official" full home office should not worry you. That space that you have been able to create is more than enough. The idea behind furnishing your workspace is to maintain productivity and continue to keep you in "work" mode.
Furnishing your space involves adding elements such as an office chair that you'll sit on. You could also invest in a sitting-standing desk if your work involves sitting down for long periods. An ambient desk lamp, pen(s) holder, and new folders for all forms of paperwork should be a part of your furnished workspace.
4.Workstation Height Dimensions
Before settling into your workspace, the desk or table must be within what is referred to as work height. The industry standard is 29 inches from the floor up to the top of your desk or table. If you are a tall person, then a higher height would be ideal for you. Likewise, if you are a shorter person, then a lower height will be suitable for you.
The best way to know if your workspace station is ideal for work is by paying attention to your posture when you sit up straight at your desk or table.
Your forearms ought to be parallel to the ground while your wrists are neither bent up or down when you type or move the mouse.
The top surface of your wrist and the top of your forearm must be on the same plane. This is because the bending of your wrists for prolonged periods could lead to injury.
5. Observe a Good Sitting Posture
Maintaining a good sitting posture is important for your physical and overall health. Bad posture can often lead to back pain and other posture-related health issues. If you can, avoid sitting on dining chairs as you work.
This is because they are rarely the recommended height, and a majority of them do not encourage the needed upright sitting posture.
An ideal chair is one with an adjustable height, provides lumbar support for your lower back, and can roll. An ergonomic office chair is a great example of an ideal home office working chair.
6.Organized And Clean Work Space
A clear working space environment will help you think more clearly. An infographic carried out by Cleaning Services Group has been able to show a direct correlation between a clean working space and enhanced productivity.
A study done by Harvard University revealed that students that worked in a clutter-free workspace were able to work steadily for 7.5 minutes longer than students who were working in a cluttered workspace.
Thus, keeping your workstation well organized is of high importance. It is recommended to clean your workspace at the end of each day so that extra papers and clutter, in general, do not build up. Apart from your immediate workspace, it is vital to keep your surrounding work environment clean and clutter-free.
It will not do you any good when you have to hop over plates and clothes scattered on the floor every time you walk to and from your workspace.
7.Dress Up For Work
This may seem not necessary, but it is extremely important. This is especially true if your work involves video conference meetings. It would be unprofessional to attend a Zoom meeting in your pajamas for a discussion that involves $1 million expansion project ideas.
Even if your work does not involve video conference meetings, it is still important to dress the (work) part. Why, may you ask?
Jude Stevens, a personal stylist, reveals that "what you wear can change your attitude towards HOW you work." She further continues to state that, "getting dressed helps you feel more productive as it signals to you that you are in work mode."
Dressing the part is linked to having a healthy working from home routine. CNBC reports that the most productive individuals do not just wake up and instantly get to work while still in their pajamas.
Be comfortable in your clothes but, give your brain the switch to distinguish between an off day and a working day.
8.Create A Work Schedule
This may seem unnecessary, but it is essential for both your productivity and your health. While it is important to maintain great productivity, it is also equally important to keep track of your hours or rather work time.
A work schedule will help you find a balance between work and personal/social life. It will also help you figure out a work routine while working from home. That way, your working from home experience will be more than just waking up to work, eating, sleeping, and repeating the same cycle the next day.
Within your working schedule, it is important to create and/or know your breaks so that you do not end up overworking yourself.
Automated time tracking apps like RescueTime will let you know if you are on track with your work schedule. The app can also give you insights such as when you are most productive and when you begin to fall off track. Such information is advantageous as you can use it to reserve tasks of importance to your most productive hours.
9.Utilize Project Management Software
This type of software helps in the planning, managing, and organizing of your work. Project management software such as Trello, Basecamp, and Zoho Projects will assist you to:
- To Facilitate Team Communication - whether you are an entrepreneur or employee of an organization/company, communication with your employees/coworkers is important. These kinds of software have got chat features with which important updates and/or alerts could be communicated while still working.
- Stay Organized - your home office may have organizational features like filing cabinets and folders. However, those may not be enough if the majority of your work is online/digital-based. This kind of software will help you keep all of your information online. In addition to that, they can be easily accessed and arranged for your customization without much effort.
- Improve Time Management - the majority of project management software has got the feature that enables you to sync it with your calendar. This way, you are better able to manage your time and projects. It would also be able to help keep track of your remote meetings, daily-to-do-list, and deadlines.
10.Get Reliable Internet
This is at the heart of your working from home experience. On it, you will share documents with coworkers and clients, and also reply to emails. Therefore, if your internet connection is slow and unreliable, your productivity will be heavily impacted negatively.
If all along you have been using your neighbor's WIFI, it is time to bid that boat farewell. This is especially true if your workload involves the uploading and downloading of large files.
Setting up a designated space that is as close as possible to the Wi-Fi router will help you if your work requires speedy or relatively fast internet.
It is recommended to have a minimum speed of 50 to 100 Mbps download speed and at the very least 10 Mbps upload speeds when working from home or rather remotely. If your work involves video or other bandwidth-intensive work, it is highly recommended to make use of wired Ethernet cable connections.
11. Minimize Distractions
Undoubtedly, this is ultimately determined by the space that you decide to set camp. However, if you are in an already limited space, there are other ways to still work while minimizing distractions.
The first is your phone. It is always quite tempting to break for 1-2 minutes and watch that youtube video that has popped up in your notifications. But we all know how the drill goes, don't we? 2 hours later, and you are watching a YouTube video of a turtle singing Girls Like You by Maroon 5.
It is therefore advised to try to put your phone in another room or at least turn off your social media notifications during working hours. If you have set up your office space in a decent corner in the living/sitting room, try and set in facing away from the TV.
Summary - How Can I Work From Home Without An Office?
In conclusion, to effectively work from home, you will need to abide by your company's rules if you're employed and ensure that your internet speed is accommodating to your workload's needs.
Most importantly, ensure that you have got a designated space that is specifically for doing work and respect your work schedule. Ensure that your workspace environment stays clean and well organized as productivity is higher in a clutter-free environment.
For the sake of your physical and overall health, pay attention to your sitting posture whenever you can. Investing a little extra in an ideal office desk/table alongside a chair is highly advised. Be disciplined when it comes to taking breaks and/or taking 5 minutes out to watch a video.
Most importantly, always remember to dress the part as it will mentally help you get in "work mode."