Despite all the news that employers are forcing work-from-home natives back to the office, there are still hundreds of companies that are permanently going remote. And now that we know remote work isn’t just a fad, we have to consider how to successfully work from home.
A suitable office environment is essential for everyone. While remote workers don’t have to worry about office politics occurring outside of their cubicles, they do need to make sure they remain productive — and workers are at their most productive when they’re comfortable, focused, and organized.
Your home plays a big part in checking these boxes. If you work remotely and are looking to purchase a new home, make sure your new space has what you need to get the job done.
7 Important Features You Need for Your Home Office
If you work remotely, your experience while house hunting will be a little bit different than your in-office counterparts.
Here are some vital features to look for when searching for a new remote office:
1. Access to Amenities
When you work remotely, it can be easy to become isolated, especially if your employer doesn’t see the benefit of a fully realized corporate culture. If you tend to keep to yourself, look for houses that are located near amenities like parks, libraries, malls, or coffee shops.
Better yet, find a location near coworking spaces or remote-friendly community offices. These places will give you an opportunity to take a break and interact with other people.
2. Good Internet Connection
A reliable internet connection is crucial when you work remotely. In the United States, you’ll find the fastest internet speeds in large cities, but you can improve your internet in rural areas by upgrading your plan and router equipment. You should also upgrade to 5G when it’s available.
While the internet is better in an urban setting, homes are more expensive there. To understand how much loan you can afford, use this SoFi calculator for house mortgages. If you can only afford a home outside the city, then you may need to suffer through subpar internet speeds.
3. A Dedicated Workspace
When the pandemic made millions of Americans work from home, many realized they didn’t have a dedicated workspace. A table in the corner of the living room can work in a pinch, but even if that space has a curtain, you’ll still face distractions from noise and foot traffic.
Try to find a home that gives you a dedicated workspace. Look for a house with a spare room or a nook that you can use as your office, as it’ll help you work more productively.
4. Natural Light
A Cornell University study found that workers exposed to natural light experienced an 84% drop in eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision. Natural light also improves sleep, fights depression, and helps you feel more energized — all of which can make workers efficient and productive.
Since natural light is important for your well-being, be sure to find a home with large windows or skylights. Install sheer white curtains if you’re worried the light will create glare. If possible, get a home with a fenced-in backyard, so you can work outside with a laptop whenever you’d like.
5. Good Ventilation
Workers spend a lot of time indoors, usually in a poorly ventilated space — and that can be detrimental to their health. For example, bad ventilation can lead to rashes, headaches, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, and overall discomfort for occupants.
To prevent these problems, look for houses that have natural cross ventilation, easy access to air filters, and good air circulation. If you do end up in a home that doesn’t have great ventilation, try to spend more time outside or with the window open.
6. Quiet Neighborhood
Too much noise can disrupt your workday, but typically the distractions come from inside, not out. While you can’t always control internal noise, you can mute the outside if you buy a home in a quiet neighborhood. You can also insulate the inside of the home to muffle outside sounds.
Is it possible to live in the city and find a quiet neighborhood? Absolutely, but you have to be strategic with your house hunt. Avoid main roads and neighborhoods that might hold festivals or frequent outdoor gatherings. Try to find a house about a 10- to 15-minute walk away from highways.
7. Access to the Outdoors
We’ve mentioned the importance of natural light and outdoor spaces, but this point can’t be understated. If a home doesn’t have access to an outdoor space, such as a backyard, terrace, or balcony, look elsewhere. Humans need sunlight to stay healthy.
Spending time outside can help you relax and recharge, which will improve your productivity. You should take multiple breaks to walk outside or indulge in outdoor-specific hobbies.
Work-from-home professionals should treat their humble abodes like permanent offices. If their new home doesn’t include all the features they need to stay productive, they risk losing their livelihood. At the very least, they would limit their work output in an unproductive space.
But if you find a home with the features included in this article, you’ll instantly become more efficient. And when you’re at your maximum efficiency, you’ll be more productive. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to improve your focus!
|This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. Occasionally, we’ll share other people’s ideas about running a remote company. If you have a topic you’d like to pitch for Buildremote, send us an idea here.