With more and more companies moving their default locations to home offices, working virtually is a common part of life for millions of people. At-home employees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs are all living the dream, or so it sounds like until you’re in it!
The reality behind the dream-come-true stay at home career can be a little trickier. You have to enforce discipline and structure in your day, for one thing. That’s not an easy task for everyone, but it’s a must-have for success.
A virtual office also requires a few things to run smoothly or you’ll be scrambling and losing productivity every time you need something.
When you are ready to work from home efficiently, make sure you have these seven elements in your office before you get started.
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1. An Organized Workspace
When you can work “from anywhere,” it can be tempting to do just that. If your job is pretty independent, you might talk yourself into using the bed or couch as your desk or deviating from a set area.
An organized workspace is crucial to your productivity, though. It reminds you to stay on your routine and prevents distractions. If you live with others, it’s also a signal that when you’re in your office area, they need to leave you alone.
2. A Quiet Work Area
When the dogs are barking, the phones are ringing off the hook, and the TV is blaring, it’s hard to concentrate.
Some people can compartmentalize excess noise and focus. No matter how good you are at it, though, your brain is still registering the distractions on some level. This is affecting your productivity, whether you realize it or not.
A little light background music is okay if it works for you, but in general, try to set your virtual office up where it’s quiet and distraction-free.
3. A Good Computer and WiFi
Your ability to be productive virtually hinges significantly on your computer hookup. When your WiFi is running slow or your computer gives you problems, you’re spending a lot of time troubleshooting instead of working.
If you’re using an old electronic device, you might want to consider upgrading now that you’re working remotely.
When your computer is still running slow, though, you might have some connection issues. Another internet service provider could solve the issue, or an upgraded package with the one you have might be an easy solution.
4. The Staples of Office Supplies
Working in a company environment does have some benefits. The office manager typically provides everything you need in the form of supplies, so you never run out.
In your virtual office, this task falls on your shoulders. Make sure you have the basic “staples,” like:
- Copy paper
- Pens and pencils
- Notebooks and post-its
- A stapler and staples
- Scotch tape
The default necessities for you to do your job are now up to you to keep track of!
5. Communication Tools
Being the “lone ranger” in your virtual office probably does not mean you work completely alone. Most jobs require communication between at least two people.
Whether you have chat tools on your software, Zoom calls, or phone conversations, make sure your communication devices are up-to-date. If you’re video conferencing, the background others will see should be clear and professional.
6. Printing Capabilities
Chances are, no matter your job, at some point you are going to need to print something. A wireless printer is a smart investment in every virtual office, and they’re not that expensive.
With the right printer, you can send over documents from any computer on the network, including your smartphone. This is one of those “better to have and not need than to need and not have” essentials!
Pro tip: Always keep an extra ink cartridge on hand, too.
7. Your Personal Essentials
We all have things we need to get through the day. Snacks, drinks, and medicine, for instance, should be right on hand.
Keep your personal essentials nearby but out of sight. Sure, you can store them in another room, but then you lose productivity when you need something.
It’s okay to have a few toiletries and personal effects in your virtual office. Just limit this to the bare necessities to prevent distractions.
Setting up your virtual office is exciting! You get the independence of working from home and the freedom from the daily commute.
When you plan it right, your day can be efficient and productive without unnecessary stress. Turn your virtual work environment into a success with these seven essential elements!