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Working from home has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you can make your own hours, play the music you want to play, even work in your pyjamas if you fancy. On the other, it can be hard to motivate yourself to work; it’s easy to get distracted, and you don’t meet many other people so it can get a bit lonely. The trend of hot-desking and co-working has become a really great way to counteract this. Co-working is very flexible and laid back, but it means that you get to meet people, and remove yourself from the home environment. This can help you mentally prepare for work at the start of the day, and switch off at the end.

With Raw Space’s flexible memberships you can easily do a mixture of the two. You could keep working from home most of the time, but come into the space when you need to do more focused work, or meet with clients. Wherever you chose to work, there are simple steps to take to make sure you’re getting the most out of your environment.

Creating the right work environment

Decorating your home work space:

  • If you have a designated office space, make sure you are decorating this in a practical way. Bright colours may look good at first but become quite distracting when you have to sit staring at them all day. If you want colour then try using it in accessories such as rugs, cushions, photo frames and stationary.
  • Think about lighting. During the day, you want to embrace natural light as much as possible, but you will still need additional lighting for when it gets a bit drab and dark. Try and spice up the space with some interesting lamps (if you want a calming environment then a salt lamp gives off a lovely warm glow).
  • Be at one with nature. Try adding some plants to your space to inject some green and some life into it. If you have a tendency to kill plants (don’t worry it happens to the best of us) then a cactus will do.
  • Make sure you have somewhere comfy to unwind. Realistically, you aren’t going to be working all the time, so you need somewhere comfy to unwind in the times that you’re not. This will also help you disconnect when you have breaks, and at the end of the working day.

Make it practical:

  • Make your space ergonomic. The top of your computer screen should at eye level, or a little bit below (you can get cool stands for this here), and make sure that you have a really good desk chair that supports your back.
  • Have good storage options. Home offices have a tendency to become cluttered with bits of paper so you need to make sure that you have a good space to put it. If you don’t fancy a filing cabinet then try going for interesting shelving options instead. You can find desk organisers and magazine racks with really cool patterns on them such as these (which will also help with the colour part).
  • Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t like having cables all over the place or being able to see the bin then try and strategically place these things so you can’t see them.

For at a co-working space:

When you’re hot-desking at a co-working space you don’t quite have the freedom to personalise it that you do at home. A few of the same principles as working at home apply, but a good co-working space should have thought about a lot of them already. The most important thing is that you choose a co-working space where you genuinely feel comfortable and like you can produce your best work. Raw Space provides a range of different seating areas, ergonomic chairs and laptop stands and plants.

  • Keep it clean. If you have papers and all sorts of things scattered over the desk, not only will it annoy other people, but it may distract you. Make sure you’re keeping your area nice and organised – take in folders and anything you may need for this. You could also invest in a cable tidy to stop metres of cable trailing everywhere.
  • Position yourself by a window. Just like natural light is important at home, the same is true at the office. If a desk is available by a window then try sitting there.
  • Stay hydrated. Lots of spaces have unlimited free tea and coffee, however, if they don’t have your favourite then why not take some along?
  • Finding the right temperature. Studies suggest people work better when they are warmer, but no one wants to be sitting at their desk sweating! Make sure you find a spot where you won’t get cold from being blasted by air-con, but you won’t be too hot. At Raw Space we have blankets for when you want to cuddle up warm.
  • Utilise the space. Being at a co-working space instead of the home office will most likely mean there are different facilities. Raw Space has stand-up desks, and some of the desks can be written on with whiteboard markers. All these touches make it a bit different from home, so make the most of them!

Shaping your experience

At home:

  • Make sure to get in the right head space. when you’re working from home it is so easy to be distracted by home comforts. Try and remove yourself from these – use a different room, find a quiet spot in the house. Short mental tasks like meditating and reflecting on what you plan to do with the day before you start will help improve focus.
  • Switch off. At the end of the day, it can also be hard to disconnect and just leave work. Try and set yourself a clear time perimeter for when to finish. When you’ve finished working, spend ten minutes clearing away. Try and move immediately to a different, home-life related task.
  • Have distractions at the ready. Even at work, you wouldn’t work solidly, so you don’t have to at home. Try and have a completely different activity on hand for when you want a break e.g. a guitar or video game.
  • Play some good music. Music can really help boost your mood, and at home, you have the freedom to play what you want. If you will be too tempted to sing along then try classical music or meditation music.
  • Make sure you have note pads around. How often do you have a great idea, then by the time you try to write it down it’s gone? Have notepads and pens around to stop this!
  • Get out of the office. You can really improve productivity by just getting out of the space. Head to a coffee shop, run some errands, anything!

At a co-working space:

  • Use the commute to reflect. On the way there, use it to get in the right head space and plan for the day. On the way back, use it to reflect on what you got done and what you need to do tomorrow.
  • Bounce off those around you. One of the great perks of a coworking space is the people there. There are so many great businesses and people who are really great at what they do. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help and bounce ideas off each other.
  • Get involved in the community. Loads of coworking spaces have socialising events, some for business, some for pleasure. At Raw Space we have a range of things from lunches, and drinks of Friday evening, to business brainstorms.
  • Get some decent headphones. If you work best with background music then play this, otherwise, noise cancelling headphones will be your best friend.
  • Try different areas. Another pro of co-working spaces is that there are (normally) a range of spaces. At Raw Space we have quiet rooms, open plan desks, beanbags and sofas, standing desks – give them a go!
  • Be inspired. there are so many people around you working hard to build their business. Let yourself be inspired by being in a productive environment.

We would love to hear your tips for how you get the most out of your space. Send us an email with your tips!