Setting up a remote office today is a necessity and no longer an option. Sadly, COVID-19, until further notice and maybe beyond, has forced companies to sell their products and service without the luxury of face to face meetings, conventions, sales conferences, or in-person networking events.
As a result, most firms will need their employees to setup a remote office in their home. There are a number of different office setups dependent upon the needs involved.
Let’s take a look at an elaborately equipped office example, from a professional coach, that gives you the opportunity to host meetings, perform individual or small group trainings, run webinars, and manage virtual sales.
What are Some of the Common Questions About Setting Up a Remote Office?
- What type of space will I need?
- What equipment should I have?
- How should I place the equipment in my office?
- Does lighting matter?
- What other details should I consider when setting up a remote office?
Remember you have options dependent upon your needs.
What Type of Space Will I Need?
If you have a family, here are some ideas to help you set up your home office and keep everyone happy.
- An Extra Room: If you have the availability, choose a separate room so you can limit the noise by closing the door
- Separation: Choose a space as far away from the noise of your living room, dining room, kitchen or other places people congregate
- Size: Make sure that your office space is large enough to fit everything you need. It is ineffective to have multiple office spaces
- Quiet Zone: If your work requires hustle and bustle that creates loud noise that could disrupt your family, consider an outside space in a garage, workshop, basement, or attic
Setting Up a Remote Office: Equipment
Your team will need to recreate the environment they have in your company’s facility in order to make the best possible impression when calling on clients, new prospects, partners, vendors and other important contacts.
Our friend professional coach Dave Warawa, aka the PROSALESGUY, has a list of suggestions on the type of equipment your sales team will need to execute on virtual selling in a remote setting. Dave’s list is elaborate. If your salespeople don’t need to be this elaborate in their choice of equipment, this still provides a great example of how the professionals setup their home office. Dave’s suggestions include:
- Microphones which could include desk and or lapel mics
- Speakers that produce clear precise audio
- Business phone system that allows conference VoIP audio connection
- Monitor stands
- Correct lighting that eliminates shadows or the overhead spotlight effect
- Quality webcam
- Docking station to handle power and signal transmission
- High speed internet connection
- Workspace that provides the right amount of room
In addition to this list, consider the importance of comfort:
- Chairs: Do you need ergonomically built seating to help with posture or a back condition? If you plan on being comfortable for long periods of time find the right chair for you
- Desks: Stand up desks have been proven to be very helpful in supporting our health but not everyone can stand up for long periods of time. The best solution would be to have both traditional and stand up desks to give your body a break
Setting Up a Remote Office: Furniture and Equipment Placement
Aside from making sure you have not positioned yourself in front of a window that may leak excessive noise from the outside world or stream glaring light that creates a distraction, there is an opportunity to use Feng Shui to enhance your opportunities for success.
What is Feng Shui and How Can It Positively Affect the Success of My Business?
According to author and Inner Architect CEO Susan Hanshaw, Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice used to understand, correct, and harmonize the energy flows of the environment with homes and each workspace. Its goal is to increase personal well-being, happiness, good fortune, and success.
The energy flow is called qi or chi. The energy of Feng Shui can be good, or weakening, or harmful. The tools and techniques of Feng Shui deal with gathering good qi and reducing, deflecting, or eliminating weakening and harmful qi.
Good qi is life enhancing energy with qualities and conditions of well-being and prosperity which can bring forth feelings of happiness and optimism. Weakening qi is stagnant energy that can be found in cluttered, dirty, and dark spaces. Harmful qi stems from sharp, jagged, or angular corners of walls or furniture.
While Feng Shui is very complex with differing schools of thought, there are certain basic things which many practitioners hold in common that can be done to increase good qi and reflect or eliminate bad qi:
- Eliminate clutter which is an indication of negative energy
- Block sharp edges with a live or artificial plant
- Bring pleasant imagery that makes you feel good into your workspace
- Place your desk in a position where you are facing or viewing the door
Setting Up a Remote Office: Lighting is More Important Than You Think
According to Psychology Today, in an older but still relevant piece, “researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, reported that the detrimental impact of working in a windowless environment is a universal phenomenon. Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life concludes that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life.”
It seems that natural light is the best form of lighting for any remote workspace. Nothing can replace mother nature but what do you do if you don’t have the luxury of natural light or even a window for your remote office?
Here are a few tips on lighting your office according to The Spruce:
- Indirect Lighting: Look for ways to diffuse the ambient light that will illuminate your space. The goal is light up your entire workspace “without creating undue glare and contrast while avoiding casting shadows.” That means eliminate overhead lighting as much as possible
- Spot Lighting: For any computer workspace and other tasks that require concentration, “choose a well-defined light source dedicated to what you are doing. An adjustable or articulated desk lamp can put light exactly where you need it”
What Other Details Should I consider When Setting Up a Remote Office?
A few more ideas to consider for your remote workspace:
- Plants: According to Lilly Bernheimer, an environmental psychology consultant, “Workspaces featuring plants and natural materials can reduce blood pressure and increase attentiveness and reaction time by up to 12 percent”
- Air: Airflow is important in improving the air quality in your space. Ensure you have natural ventilation to help remove as much highly processed air and static temperature conditions produced by office HVAC systems
- Positioning: Where a person works within their space is important. Workers with a good view of a natural outdoor environment tend to “perform up to 25 percent better as measured by memory recall and mental function than those without windows.”
The Results of Planning Your Remote Workspace
Many experts are predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered our work and educational systems. Face to face learning and work environments may not come back for months if not years.
An example of this change can be seen in San Francisco. Today, technology companies are fleeing the San Francisco Bay Area for cost cutting economically advantageous operations centers. These companies are taking advantage of favorable corporate tax and personal income tax laws. They are relocating so they can maintain their human capital where their employees can afford to buy a home. And all of these factors have contributed to a change in the location of the workplace.
As people are given the green light by their firms to work from home, the role of the remote workspace will shift from part time after thought to the full time workspace in many cases.
Be ready to plan your workspace for the long haul. If we’ve missed anything let us know and good luck to your build!