Do I really need to have a dedicated work space??
In a word, yes. If you spend a significant portion of your time working remotely having an office, a desk, or even a dedicated surface like a kitchen table or counter that is only your work-space is very important. But this can be hard, especially if you live in a smaller space or have a live-in partner, roommate, or children. So let’s talk about why it’s important to section off some space for your remote 9-5:
- You’ll take your work more seriously. Investing in the space or items will likely make you give your work the credit it deserves. Especially if you sometimes struggle with others taking your job seriously (and I believe this is all of us WFHers at one time or another, read more here) having a dedicated work-space, better yet a desk or an office, can help you feel more confident.
- Boundaries. When you don’t head into an office every day it can be challenging to separate your home life from your work life, especially after the day is done. A physical desk or work-space sets spatial boundaries and can allow you to walk away if only mentally. If you work from your couch, bed, or kitchen table that you also use to sleep, relax, or eat you’re blurring the lines of your work and personal life.
- You can set up and control an environment that is most conducive to you. For me I need a few drawers or shelves to organize files, desk space to keep pressing items top of mind, wall-space for a whiteboard, and generally a dumping ground for the 500 to-do lists and post-it notes I write to myself. Having a desk and dedicated area allows me to have all of these things nestled away from the rest of my home. Which brings me to…
- You can keep it as cluttered or as clean as you like. Some people are organized and clean at all times. Others are all chaos, all the time. I’m somewhere in between. When I need to be organized in my job I don’t like to have to deal with clutter that might be around my home since I still haven’t unpacked from a weekend trip. Or on the flip-side: if I have scribbled notes all over my desk to help me think through an upcoming strategy session I usually don’t want that mess bleeding into all aspects of my life and home. Having a dedicated space lets you leave not just your work at work but your mess as well (or avoid your messy home if you need cleanliness!)
- You’ll put some structure into your life. If you’re working from your couch (or worse, bed!) day, and day out you’re bound to think of your life as one big blur overtime: get up, bring coffee into your bed, log onto your computer, grab charger, decide it’s time for breakfast, move to couch, realize it’s time for lunch, take a meeting, realize you might want to put on pants. Sound familiar? This might work for the day after Thanksgiving when no one is around the office or for an hour before you head out of the country on vacation but this is not a sustainable work from home approach.
- You’ll like it more. A little secret of mine is that just 5 years ago I really disliked working remotely. That was partially because face-time was crucial to being effective in this role but it was also because I didn’t have a desk or even a table set up that I could work at in my kitchen. When I had to work remotely I would do so from my bed. I hated this. I felt like I was studying for exams in college. It didn’t feel like I was doing my job or being effective. But 5 years later and I’m a raving fan and pro-WFHer. I credit my desk and dedicated work-space a lot to this shift.
If you work from home does having a dedicated desk or office help you? Share in the comments below!