A home office for productivity
At Leaf, we embrace remote work to get a productive edge. However, it’s easy for a remote environment to work against you.
This is my workspace. It’s very boring looking, and not particularly fancy, but I’ve taken several steps to make it a great place for me to get things done.
I’m easily distracted by movement, so I’ve positioned my desk in an alcove so that my I have walls 180 degrees around me. There’s a window there so I’m not completely boxed in, but there’s nothing particularly distracting going on outside — it’s mostly clouds.
Compared to the average office, where people are constantly walking around in the background or making sporadic eye contact, my home environment is much less disruptive for me.
I’ve also installed a blackout blind, and dimmable lamp that I can control directly from my computer. This allows me to adjust the amount of light around me, so on bright days or if my eyes are tired, I can dim everything down and work without strain.
It’s a small thing, but the aggressive fluorescent lighting of shared offices can get very wearing over time, and personal preferences in lighting vary a lot from person to person. Having this level of control makes it that much easier to settle into focussed work.
Room to breathe
Working from home means I get to be selfish with my space. My workspace isn’t huge, but there’s plenty of room there for me to move about, or have extra stuff on my desk.
Most importantly, however, it’s completely tailored to me. I’m 6'5" tall, so the desk it extra deep to accommodate my legs, and sits a couple of inches higher than a standard office desk, which feels much better to work at. I also invested in a proper chair, preventing me from fidgeting, and allowing me to get comfortable.
I find I’m able to concentrate much more with the right kind of music playing. In a shared working environment I’m forced to use headphones, but at home I can crank up the Sonos in comfort.
There’s also no background chatter at home either, meaning it’s impossible for me to be dragged into conversations, or get distracted by noises behind me.
When distractions are removed, focus comes naturally. The result of all these small optimisations is a working environment where it’s easy for me to fall into a focussed state and stay there, rather than fighting for control of my own attention.
If you’re struggling to get work done in the office, try switching to an environment you can control. Done correctly, you can craft yourself a cocoon of productivity. If you’d like to learn more, I’d recommend reading Deep Work, by Cal Newport.