Internet Human. Software Engineer.
Throughout 2020 and 2021 the mode of working changed for many people. There was less office time, moving away from big cities, and more time spent working in an unconventional spot, like on your couch or a closet so you could get someplace quite for a few minutes. As a long-time work from home employee my work changed as well, which lead me to question exactly what I needed from my work setup.
When I first started working from home, years ago, I assumed my home workspace basically had to be a home office. This wasn't practical in NYC, SF, or other cities, but I did it anyway. I had a big L-shaped desk, a secondary monitor, a vertical monitor, a powerful workstation, and a mechanical keyboard. My office had a printer, a stapler, stereo speakers, and all the other accessories that make a place feel professional. I even had a VoIP phone at one time, so I would never drop calls thanks to spotty mobile phone service.
A lot has changed in the past 10 years.
Last year lots of us started working from home, and I already had my setup, but, like everyone else, more people were in my home as well. My spouse needed a spot to work, my kids were doing online school and needed work places -- the days of the dedicated home office were over. Now I, like many others, settled into an itinerant WFH experience -- spending a few hours at the standing desk, a few on the couch, 30 minutes in a walk-in closet to do a presentation...
This got me thinking about what was needed from a workspace.
If I'm working for a time slot of under 30 minutes, I find it can be anywhere. Sitting up in a bed, sitting on a couch, standing at the kitchen counter, it doesn't matter. If I have my laptop and a WiFi connection, I'm good to go.
If you are working for a 1-hour slot, almost any place will do. You can be sitting or standing (providing the standing place is sufficiently high) and the place needs to be away from foot trafffic, but I find nothing else is necessary.
For a 1-3 hours stretch of working, I need a everything mentioned previously, plus seating, an outlet for charging, a place to put a glass of water or a cup of coffee.
This is a serious stretch of time. If I'm carving out this much time to work, I'll likely need what's mentioned above, plus a phone charger, a quiet enough spot to take a Zoom meeting, enough space to write down some notes on paper, and the place can't be too clean (like a bed) because I'm going to eat at some point.
I rarely find that I work 5+ hour stretches any longer and I'd recommend not doing so if this is a normal thing for you. Breaking up your work with a walk, some exercise, some unrelated reading, a light nap, or almost anything, will mean greater productivity when you start up again.
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