5 Practical Steps to Create Your Ideal Remote Workstation

Remote work offers flexibility and freedom, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. If you’ve been working remotely for some time now, you have likely experienced getting distracted during work hours or feeling unmotivated without the structure of a traditional work environment. On the other hand, if you’re only starting to build your at-home workstation, you might not even know where to begin.

Fret not. Those are valid experiences for most, if not all, of us navigating the remote work setting.

In this article, we’ll provide you with practical strategies that can help you create or reinvigorate your remote workspace — the birthplace of our productivity.

The importance of creating an effective at-home workspace

Working remotely has a world of benefits: freedom to work from anywhere, flexible schedules, and liberation from the daily commute. On the downside, distractions lurk at every corner, and maintaining a work-life balance becomes trickier.

This makes it all the more important to carve out a workspace that is:

  1. Free from distraction
  2. Optimized and functionality-driven
  3. Catered to your specific needs and work style

The key is to make your environment work for you rather than trying to conform to a rigid notion of productivity. Read on below for a few tips and habits to help you establish a remote workspace that embodies your personal working style and inspires your best output.

Tips for creating a conducive remote work environment

#1: Schedule the day around your peak productivity hours

You might have heard other people say that the most effective approach to productivity is waking up early and following a strict daytime schedule – no ifs or buts. The truth is, this doesn’t work for everyone. One person may wake up with a burst of energy and creativity, while another can hit their stride in the afternoon or evening.

Instead of forcing yourself to abide by a set of rules that doesn’t honor your natural rhythm, try to align your schedule with your energy levels. Pay attention to the hours when you feel most alert, motivated, and engaged. By embracing flexibility and understanding your work style, you can begin to have a more fulfilling remote work experience.

#2: Honor the boundaries between your work area and personal space

Set a separate area for working and working only. This helps shield you from distractions that are happening elsewhere around you. You can convert a spare room, a corner in your living room, or even a dedicated desk in your bedroom into your workstation. Ideally, your space should have a door or walls. In small or shared living spaces, however, it’s enough to simply designate a peaceful portion of a room as your working area.

Once you have a clear space established, it’s time to invest in the right furniture. Get a comfortable chair, an adjustable desk, and adequate lighting. Don’t forget to add personal touches! Things like plants, picture frames, and motivational posters can go a long way in making your work area feel more comfortable and inviting, even if you are already at home.

#3: Set firm ground rules with people in your space

Working in an office is one thing. Trying to work when you’re surrounded by your children, a loud roommate, or family members is another. Unlike in an office, you and your housemates aren’t tied to the same schedule, work goals, and productivity metrics. This can lead to a host of problems that are awkward at best and, at worst, detrimental to your productivity and personal relationships.

“It’s paramount to lay down firm boundaries with the people you live with. To do this, set a schedule for “quiet hours” in the household. This way, everyone is on the same page in observing a strict schedule for those that need to work,” suggested Riva Jeane Caburog of Nadrich & Cohen.

If you live with other remote workers, make sure to initiate communication about your schedules so you’ll know when one of you has an important meeting or needs to stay up extra late. It’s one way to be respectful and considerate to those who share your space.

#4: Maintain an organized digital environment with the right tools

Much like your physical space, your digital space should also be organized according to your workflow.

Organize your files, streamline your email inbox through labels, and leverage productivity apps and tools that help you stay efficient. “It helps to create a well-structured folder system on your computer to easily locate documents and files. I recommend using productivity apps like Trello, Asana, or Notion to aid in project management,” shared entrepreneur and content creator Peter Hoopis.

If all of this sounds intimidating to you, you can explore what productivity expert Tiago Forte calls the “second brain.” This concept refers to a flexible, multi-purpose digital commonplace book where you can store, develop, and organize ideas. Think of it as an extension of your mind, providing a centralized space to capture information, insights, and inspirations in a way that’s less structured but accessible to you.

#5: Keep a distraction notebook

This approach involves having a dedicated notebook or digital document where you jot down any distracting thoughts or tasks that arise while you’re working, allowing you to quickly acknowledge and address them without derailing your workflow.

When working remotely, distractions can come in various forms, such as personal errands, social media notifications, or random thoughts. Instead of succumbing to these distractions immediately (or trying to suppress them), the distraction log encourages you to acknowledge and capture them in writing. You can then set aside specific times throughout the day to review the entries in your notebook.

“This technique worked like a charm on me. I found that allocating time and intention to address my distracting thoughts help me regain control over when and how I attend to them, rather than letting them disrupt my work in real-time,” said Shaun Connell of Writing Tips Institute.


Establishing the perfect remote work setup takes time and experimentation. But it’s not about following strict schedules or adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, it’s about understanding your own work style, setting strict boundaries, and leveraging technology in a way that works best for you.

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