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THE INC. LIFE

3 Productivity-Boosting Things You Need in Your Home Office

If you do it right, your coworkers will rarely notice that you’re not physically there with them.

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BY Quora - 23 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

What are some tips for constructing your environment as a remote employee to help eliminate distractions? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Michael Lee, Public Policy Analyst, on Quora:

  • Set up an actual home office. It's easy to do this kinda half-assed and just sit at your dining room table with an open laptop, or something. But I find that only works as a temporary solution - maybe while I'm wrapping something up, or if I need to send an email before officially starting my day. If you can spare the space, set up a room that's your office. Set up a desk and a laptop dock, get a comfortable office chair, and close the door when you walk in. You need it to be your work space, not your home space where you work.
  • Put that home office where you can minimize noise and visual distraction. Odds are that remote work will involve a fair number of phone calls. Try to make sure your space is set up where your pets or family members won't distract you or your co-workers. It happens, of course: every remote worker knows someone whose dog or child has interjected on a call! But you want to minimize that ambient noise if you can manage it. And you don't necessarily want to be staring out a window at your neighborhood, because it's really easy to be distracted by everything. "Oh, the mail man's here. Hmm, I wonder where that UPS truck is going?" I like my vitamin D as much as anyone else, but it might be best to orient your desk away from the windows, at least at first.
  • Make sure you have the right tools. The first purchase I made upon becoming a remote employee was a nice Bluetooth headset for my work cell phone. I knew I'd be spending a lot of time on it, and I wanted one that'd let me easily mute on the headset (having to unlock your iPhone, then get to the phone app and unmute is death during important calls!) as well as minimize background noise, since a lot of nicer headsets have multiple microphones to filter background noise. It's not perfect at that, but it definitely helps. Same story with the rest of your IT support: make sure you have a good enough laptop to run what you need, get a printer if you need hard copies (and I recommend a laser printer for better quality) and any other electronics your job requires. The more you miss things or can't get things done because you're working remotely, the worse you look professionally!

The biggest tip, though, is an intangible. You need to have the discipline to work during work hours. But if you can manage that, your coworkers will rarely notice your absence.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

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