One thing remote freelance workers have in common is the possibility to choose where to work according to one’s biographical geography.
Nice, isn’t it?
Yes, I confirm it is. It’s very nice, or rather wonderful. Be careful though, don’t fall for stories.
We all agree that having earned the chance to comfortably work from home is a privilege in many respects (we’ll talk about this “comfort” in a while). The same applies to working from a public space, like one of those comfortable cafeterias with Wi-Fi and armchairs where you can sit for hours after having a frappuccino.
Not to mention the priceless vitality of coworking spaces, I mean the good ones, or what you find in the most remote and fascinating corners of the earth, while visiting places that most people can only enjoy on TV.
You should never forget, though, that beyond imagination there’s reality, and a light laptop or just one desk for each computer are not enough to concentrate and be productive.
Even if you’re a digital nomad, and therefore used to a certain kind of flexibility, remember that your workplace must be comfortable, convenient and well organized.
This is not just about good concentration but also, and above all, to protect your health, especially if you are a freelancer; no company will actually be supposed to do it for you.
Workstation: even if it’s at home, it’s still a workspace.
The first thing to consider is that, even if we are at home, it will still be our workstation. First of all, it shall be rationally arranged: computer, keyboard and mousewill play the main role on the desk. It is also useful to have a notebook and some pens, pencils or markers close at hand to take notes.
It can always happen that you need to take notes when you receive a call or make a videocall: a large, tidy and uncluttered desk, with just the strictly necessary items on it, is a starting point to work comfortably.
What about the camera, cables, charger and hard disks?
My advice is to leave some free and clean space for the things you use the most when you work (computer, phone and notepad in my case).
Then, set up a container system, like small shelves where to put all the accessories that you use pretty often but not all the time.
Let there be light!
Secondly, the lighting: try having your desk exposed to sunlight, close to a wide and sunny window. This will also turn out useful during spring and summer, because you will get the chance to enjoy some fresh air while airing the room. A stuffy room is actually not only unpleasant, but it also makes everybody feel less lucid.
What about when it gets dark sooner? Get a nice light source, with warm light and pointing up, in order to have a uniform and relaxing lighting in the room.
Give yourself some comfort!
One of the mistakes that workers from home and/or digital nomads definitely need to avoid is believing that any chair, stand or stool would do.
Comfort is not just a whim but rather a way to be more productive in the long term. A correct posture is essential to work, breathe and sleep well. A modern and comfortable office chair, ergonomically designed and with an adjustable back, proves a very helpful expense for your well-being. Sitting comfortably, thus avoiding painful and unnatural postures, is important for our back, spine and neck pain, it helps avoid headaches and promotes a high productivity.
Beware of the bed (and sofa).
Many people think that comfort means working while lying stretched out on the bed or sofa. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m afraid to say that the habit of working on the sofa or the bed all the time is absolutely toxic.
The position is actually uncomfortable and can jeopardize your neck, chest, diaphragm and carpal tunnel; what’s more, work matters mingle with the places where you’re supposed to be doing different things.
You either sleep or make love in bed.
Sofas should be used to watch movies and TV series, or to read books while sipping some wine or having a tea. And make love.
Desks are where you are meant to work. (and sometimes also make love on it).
Set up your ideal space
Any home worker’s or digital nomad’s workspace is unique in its own way because every single member of this tribe has a unique job and an exclusive way of working.
If you’re constantly working at the computer but also on your phone, an adjustable mobile stand could turn useful; it helps you keep your neck straight or avoid eyestrain.
If you’re often reading books or magazines, place your desk close to a bookcase or shelf.
If you work with music, keep your stereo or the remote close at hand, in a proper place for all the accessories on your desk.
Even colors need to meet your tastes and your mood: choose the colors that make you feel at home and comfortable.
Let’s get to the more complex part, beyond the office design studies and choices that we can make over the years.
It actually took you some time to realize that your home space was not just home anymore but also an office, right? Well, don’t let your loved ones violate it, because it is a portion of “fortune” that you’ve been toiling for and earned with sweat. Just like your independence.
The office (for the luckiest ones) or a desk corner (for most of us) shouldn’t be used to drop the keys of the car/the bags containing your most recent deliveries/kids’ games/or as an early morning walking space for your cat.
Everybody should respect the place where you work and it’s up to you to claim that people take it seriously, as much as you would like your job to be considered.