“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz
How true! Not only can you lounge about in your ruby red slippers, but if properly equipped you can be incredibly productive. We wrote Look Out Above! The Young Professionals Guide to Success in a writing studio we designed, so we’ve given the home office matter some thought. Here are some suggestions to help you – a young professional – build the perfect remote workspace.
- Bookcase to hold Look Out Above! The Young Professional’s Guide to Success. We could stop right there as that’s all you really need, but here are more items . . .
- Private space – where you can shut the door, ideally not in a bedroom (though that may be your only option if you have roommates)
- Great internet – hard wired into your docking station or desktop is best
- Uncluttered desk or writing surface, the larger the better so you can spread out
- A place (credenza, bookshelf, small table) to store work you’ve set aside or work that’s next – for maximum creativity use your desk or writing surface only for the task you’re working on now; keep other papers and projects off it and out of sight
- Quality chair – don’t skimp here or your back will suffer
- Good lighting, both for your workspace and front lighting for video conferencing
- Quality headphones (ideally noise-cancelling) or headset
- Nice keyboard and mouse
- Water bottle – stay hydrated!
- Recycle bin and shredder – you can’t simply recycle sensitive company documents
- Label maker and tape – a bit nitpicky here but trust us, nice to have! Once you start using your label maker, you’ll have the urge to label everything in your house
- Office supplies: pens, pencils, highlighters, stapler, staples, staple remover, file folders, pads of paper (suggest the hard-backed, yellow, narrow ruled ones), paper clips, binder clips, envelopes
Nice to Have
- Stand up desk or a desk that elevates – consider splurging for an electronic (vs. hand-crank) one with three push-button settings that you program based on your preferred sitting and standing heights; since “sitting is the new smoking,” here’s suggesting that you mix in some standing during your work day
- Extra monitor – really helps for video calls where you want to see multiple participants and slides simultaneously
- A quality microphone – they cost less than $150 and make you feel like you’ve got your own radio talk show
- A filing system of some sort, and a place for it such as a two-drawer legal size cabinet (letter-size files, and cabinet, are too short for many types of documents); if space is limited this cabinet can also hold important documents like your passport, tax stuff, etc.
- Coffee maker, tea, hot chocolate, crates of Red Bull – whatever your preferred caffeine delivery system
- A small live plant or two
- Printer/copier/scanner/copy paper/extra toner
- Whiteboard – great for brainstorming, and is much preferred over writing on the walls “A Beautiful Mind” method
Really Nice to Have!
- Fresh air made possible by windows that open – since glass box office windows almost never do, how cool is this?
- Music – at a minimum you’ll want quality speakers for your laptop or computer; at best, consider upgrading to a speaker system like Sonos
- Art and stuff on the walls that inspires you!
At one company I am familiar with employees weren’t allowed to decorate their office as they saw fit. To ensure a “professional” appearance in case a guest dropped by, all art and other wall hangings were decided upon and purchased by an interior designer. Depending on your taste, you might hate the stuff on your own office wall. No such problem now. Personalize your remote workspace so you enjoy being in it. Nick and I are partial to old WPA posters of National Parks we’ve been to.
Beware of having
- English bulldog – although they enjoy a good snooze, their snoring may disrupt your Zoom calls. And when it’s play time, they demand attention!
There you have it. No loss of productivity for you due to working remotely. Design and create your own remote workspace that is functional, creative, and inspiring. And maybe that even allows for some fresh air!
Look Out Above! The Young Professional’s Guide to Success has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, HR Digest, CBS News, and more. It is available for purchase on Amazon, or by contacting the authors directly for discounted bulk orders.