The Best and Worst Places for Remote Working
As remote working is becoming more popular, as well as a necessary guideline, it’s important to distinguish the best and worst places that impact your productivity and wellbeing. Not surprisingly, over 20% of us have resorted to working in our kitchens, bedrooms or living rooms. Despite this, creating a virtual office isn’t always easy, with many not having the resources or space.
Best Places to Work
Let’s start with the positives. Whilst some of us enjoy the office bustle, there’s a calmness in knowing your boss won’t be breathing down your neck every 2 minutes. In fact, the HR Review found that 60% of Brits say their mental wellbeing has improved since working from home, and they generally prefer it.
- A private room or office
If some of you are blessed with the luxury of a spare room, you can turn this space into a well-functioning office. Not only does this provide you with some privacy, but it also blocks out any distractions and noise, especially if you’re house sharing or working around your family. It would be worthwhile investing in a desk (or transforming your coffee table) so that you can be comfortable, and not hunched on the sofa.
2. Near sunlight
If your company is flexible enough to permit you to work in sunny Spain, you should really consider taking them up on that offer. Otherwise, it would be wise to move your desk closer to somewhere with a lot of sunlight. Or, make sure you open up your curtains to fill the room with natural light during the day. Between October and March we’ll be getting less natural light, and consequently less Vitamin D. But studies show that exposure to more light during the day increases your productivity and sleep levels by 173% — seems like a no brainer.
3. Next to the Wi-Fi hub
We all know this game: “can you hear me?” or “you’ve frozen”. Poor Wi-Fi connection is the cause of all petty arguments and frustration. With most meetings and contact via Zoom, Slack or email, it’s going to be even more painful if you’re situated further away from the Wi-Fi. Many of us are sharing the connection with others under the same roof, so consider making a timetable or rota for when you need the Wi-Fi most.
4. Libraries or bookshops
A library is a quiet and weirdly motivating place to work. You won’t be tempted to have “virtual office chat”, and it encourages you to stay hyper-focused. It also has a generally stronger Wi-Fi connection, so it’s accessible to more users. Obviously, if your job requires you to use your voice, this might not be the best option for you. But writers and analysts will revel in its glory. Also, you’ll be contributing to your local community! Check beforehand whether your local library is open and what the restrictions are regarding Covid-19.
5. Garden or balcony
Being in the fresh air is exactly what the doctor ordered. This will feel like you’re working abroad, whilst also not being too quiet that it’s disconcerting. Although hearing other people’s conversations is distracting, there’s a comfort in hearing nature or signs of human life. Stats have revealed that 39% of people reported feeling more lonely as a result of remote working. Therefore, sounds of life boost mood and productivity and decrease feelings of loneliness. Sometimes the sun may reflect off your screen, but you can use a cardboard box to shield the rays or angle the screen in your favour.
Worst Places to Work
The following places are just really not recommended — unless you have a really high level of self-control.
- Your bedroom or bed
Top of the list is working in your bed — a big NO. It’s not just the fact that it makes you less productive, but also the more hours you spend awake in your bed actually disrupts your sleep cycle and rhythm. This is because it tricks the body into being a switched-on space, rather than where you rest and unwind. So limit your bedroom to sleep and relaxation only.
2. The kitchen
Unless you want to be distracted by food and eating out of boredom, avoid the kitchen. It’s probably not the tidiest of spaces either, so staring at the dishes piling high will only frustrate you more. If this is your only suitable space, spend some time making it look professional. Clean the area, add some plants, books, a clock or a pencil pot.
3. Coffee shop
We can obviously be flexible in where we decide to work; we’re not limited to the house. In movies, we see people working in a cute café, with their laptops and notepads, business mode on. Sometimes employers like to carry out their interviews in coffee shops. I’ve frequently witnessed this in awe — how is it possible to concentrate with people shouting orders left, right and centre?
You might feel energised after the caffeine hit and use it for motivation. However, you’ll reach your threshold after an hour of the constant hissing of the milk steamer, smell of toasties and hum of chit-chat. Not to mention, you’ll probably get kicked out after 2 hours unless you keep ordering. Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking you won’t be people watching… During these unprecedented times, it’s probably safer to get your morning coffee to-go and host your interviews online.
Remote working doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay at home. With more businesses considering to make a permanent shift even after the pandemic, there are places that can enhance your work performance, whilst still creating that office vibe. However, if you do consider trying public places, please check the guidelines and local risk level for Coronavirus. As always, don’t forget to wear your mask and bring anti-bacterial gel!
Written by Naida Allen
Naida is a Criminology and Psychology graduate who is passionate about promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. She is a creative writer/blogger and runs an online platform with a close friend called ‘Confidently Anxious’ — which aims to help others struggling with their mental health by sharing personal stories and coping tips. She currently volunteers as a Peer Mentor for young persons.