Work remote has become an unexpected reality for many of us for almost two years now. Two whole years of work remote, yet I still go on video calls with faces too dark to see while sitting on their couches, or worse, not even on camera. Many of you are still working in your dining room, still having Wi-Fi issues, and don’t even have a second monitor set up. Y ‘all, this is your wake up call, its been two years, and its time to invest in your work remote life! The more we treat our remote office as temporary, the more our career feels temporary and the psychological impacts on a temporary life lead to lots of anxiety. So let’s revitalize, re-energize, and invest in your work remote space so that you feel ready to take on the day (and no, I won’t make you wear pants).
How to Re-energize your Work Remote Space:
Update your Lighting. When working at your desk, light should be in front of you or to the side, but not behind you. If the light is behind you, it will generate a shadow on your face during video calls. Good lighting is important for others to see you as much as it is to keep you focused and alert during your day. Invest in some good lighting features.
Get a Second Monitor. At a minimum, get a first one. Replicate the kind of screens you would have if you were in the office to make your life a little easier. You can even ask your company if you can pick up an extra unused monitor from the office.
Upgrade your Wi-Fi. It had been so long since I updated our Wi-Fi that when we updated it, it was not only faster, but cheaper too! If your Wi-Fi is spotty, its delaying your work, which will only cause more anxiety, frustration and long days. So do the update!
Buy a Desk. Quit using your coffee table or kitchen counter, and invest in a desk that allows for plenty of space to get your work done. Your office space should not be treated as temporary when it is such a big part of your life!
Splurge on a Stand Up Desk. I got myself this Stand up desk converter from Amazon. An affordable and stylish option to add some variety to your long days!
Commit to an Office Space. If you don’t have an extra room or office space, at least create a small corner that’s a dedicated work space. Working from your bedroom, couch, or dining table only creates conflicting feelings of what that space is supposed to be for, work or leisure. If you have been using your dining room for two years now, then it’s probably time you just convert your dining room into an office, clearly no body is missing it as a dining room.
Update your Office Space. Now that you have a dedicated office space with a desk, why not make it your dream office space that keeps you motivated and excited to work in the space? We transformed my husbands office into a World War II Aviation theme bunker! Always wanted your office to have a bean bag chair and a ball pit or some cool pattern paint on the wall? Go to town to get those creative juices flowing, now is the time! Put some motivational quotes up, throw some paint up (blue and orange are great focus colors for painting), and create an office space that you couldn’t have any where else! Check out our transformation below. If your office still looks like our before picture, its time to face the realities of work remote and make a fun and dedicated office space for yourself!
Buy an Office Chair. You sit in your desk chair 8 plus hours a day, 5 days a week, that’s about 2,000 hours in your chair for one year, and you have been in that kitchen bar stool for 2 years now. Having good anatomical support can save you from a lot of neck and back strain. I have a gaming chair, because these chairs are so comfy! Get something comfy and functional because you will be spending a lot of your life in it and you deserve it.
Position your Camera Head on. You should be looking straight at your camera when sitting at your desk, not down, up or to the side. Make sure to position your camera level and head on. Having good camera position will make you look better on camera and save you a trip to the chiropractor from neck strain.
Update your Background. We may not all be able to have a dedicated office space, but we should at least be conscientious about our background. Center a large picture on a wall behind you, or two medium pictures on either side of where your head will be, move around some extra décor and make it a simple background, or get some nice curtains to put on the window behind you. This could mean re-considering where your desk is situated. The option for a nice virtual background or blur is great, but when heads move around or there’s clearly something distracting behind the blur, it will be noticeable. Take a moment to clean up your background. Your work space will start to feel more productive as you organize your space.
Millennials, Buy a Printer. Many of us don’t own a printer, but I think it’s time. Most individuals still prefer holding a physical presentation or reading a report with a highlighter in our hands. If this is you, you are probably a tactile learner and you should definitely invest in a printer to make your job more conducive to your learning style. If for no other reason, get yourself a printer because you never know when you will need one.
I get that we may not want to make a large investment that might still be temporary, however, even if you only have 6 more months of work remote, its worth investing in yourself. Also, many companies have officially moved into hybrid roles, so even if your company has you back in the office, a future role at a different company will likely be hybrid. After one year of work remote, my husband and I bought a house (from a one bedroom apartment) where we both have a dedicated work space and it’s been awesome. I am not saying you need to go upgrade your house, but start treating work remote as a permanent fixture and upgrade your space! We have all saved a lot of money the past couple years by not going out to eat and missing out on fancy travel destinations, so put some money into You! Some companies may even offer to assist you financially in upgrading your space, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Helpful Work Remote Routines
Talk to IT. If you constantly are having issues with connectivity or your work remote space, your IT team may be able to help you out.
Get on Video. I know it may not be the norm in all companies, but it makes a big difference to stay on video for your calls. Also, ladies, no one cares that you didn’t put makeup on or straighten your hair, so forget about it. Being on video will help you feel more engaged in the conversation as well help you connect with others on the call. Be the one to suggest everyone on the call to be on video (just give them a little heads up if you can).
Enjoy your Pets. I have a COVID puppy, and some of you have pets that are loving you being home finally. Enjoy it! Take an extra 5 minutes between meetings to snuggle your pet and release a little stress.
Take Walks. Take advantage of your work remote life. Take some walks in lieu of your commute or take your work remote spouse out to lunch or breakfast. Enjoy it, even if it is temporary!
Block off Time. Block off time on your calendar to eat lunch, take breaks, have focus time, or to log off. With our office being so close to our relaxing and living spaces, it can be hard to take breaks and feel “logged off”. Block your calendar and commit to some breaks and boundaries.
I hope this helped give you some ideas to rejuvenate your work from home space. How are you re-energizing your work remote space? Drop a comment below!
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