Project Management Professional (PMP)® Articles - Managing Remotely: 7 Must-Have Items for your Remote Management Workspace

Managing Remotely: 7 Must-Have Items for your Remote Management Workspace

Do you have everything you need to manage your team from where you are? It's understandable if you don't, as remote work is still a new and ever-changing work arrangement for many. A Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics study found that remote work had increased 91 percent in the last ten years. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has likely sped up the adoption of this practice in many parts of the country.

However, while many are now required to embrace this new way of working, you may still be unaware of all the tools and support you need to make it work for you and your team. In March of this year, when many countries began to shut down, Gartner found that companies with over 10,000 people were in a position to support only 10 percent of their workforce to work remotely.

Much goes into supporting a remote work arrangement—including the furniture and tools you have in your home workspace. So, what things do you need in your office to excel? We are here to provide a checklist of what you need to ensure you all have everything you need.

Here are the must-have items you need for your remote work workspace:

An Ergonomic Chair

Did you know that your productivity can increase by almost 18 percent with the right chair? Well, it can. Who knew that your level of comfort could impact how well you work? An ergonomic chair is essential for you, not only improving your productivity but also maintaining your health. The right chair can improve your posture, preventing a variety of health issues down the line. It's hard to work and manage a team when that persistent back pain doesn't quit. Additionally, this is where you will be spending the majority of your time, so make sure you are comfortable. Doing so will allow you to get the work done that you need to.

For example, suppose you want to establish a new tailored marketing strategy. In that case, a relationship with the accounting department can give you insight into the cost and help you contribute to the company's bottom line while keeping all other major players in mind. Ultimately, the more relationships you build, the easier it will be to get others on board.

A Timer

Managing your work time—and breaks—can be as simple as using a timer throughout the day. A timer could be an online Pomodoro Technique tool, a phone-based stopwatch, or a cooking timer. Even with an ergonomic chair, it is vital that you get up and move around throughout the day. Many health experts have called for workers to find ways to be active during the day, which helps ward off more advanced diseases down the line. As a remote project manager, it's vital that you understand how important it is to put your health first. Having a way to notify yourself to get up and move throughout the day is an excellent start to that.

A VPN

A VPN is a virtual private network. This tool offers a private network from a public internet connection. All information is encrypted and secured, so it is hard for anyone with harmful intentions to intercept your information. VPNs are especially necessary if you are sharing any sensitive customer information or keeping your project's or company's information confidential. With the rise of remote work due to COVID-19, cybersecurity has become a massive issue for many organizations. With more data being accessible online, it is more likely that information can be stolen. Therefore, to protect yourself and your company, consider investing in a service like a VPN.

Soft and Natural Light Sources

You would be surprised by how your environmental settings impact the way you work. A recent study by Cornell found that workers who were exposed to natural light saw an 84 percent drop in headaches, eyestrain, and blurred vision, all things that can impact your ability to work remotely effectively. A great way to enhance your work environment and productivity is to work near natural light if possible (open those windows!). If you do not have natural light, you should consider investing in soft light desk lamps. They are easier on your eyesight and prevent you from straining your eyes or depending solely on your computer or tablet's screen lights. During a time when you might not be able to visit a coffee shop or coworking space to get natural light, it's essential to pay attention to the lighting in your workspace.

A Digital Home Assistant

Automation and artificial intelligence has transformed the business world. No longer do you have to worry about keeping up with appointments yourself, or even hiring someone to do it. Devices like Google Home, Alexa, and the Echo can make appointments, set up to-do lists, order supplies, remind you of important meetings, or even take calls. As a remote manager, you likely have a lot on your plate. From juggling deadlines to guiding your team members, there is a lot to remember and manage. A digital home assistant can make it much easier to keep track of your day and manage the tasks you need to complete.

An Ergonomic Keyboard

Carpal tunnel can ruin anyone's day. If you are sitting at your desk six to eight hours a day, then your wrists could be facing much stress. This is where having an ergonomic keyboard can come into play. They allow you to comfortably place your wrists and hands in a way that prevents pain and potential long-term damage. Some even allow you to tilt the keyboard so you can position your keyboard in an even more comfortable configuration. While not life-threatening, wrist injuries can put you out of commission. Investing in an ergonomic keyboard is almost just as important as purchasing a comfortable chair.

A Whiteboard

Computers, tablets, and even mobile phones allow for many new ways to brainstorm and display creativity. However, there are limitations. Whiteboards allow you to work through your brainstorming process physically. You can create diagrams, record ideas, and write-out agendas for meetings. A study from the Association for Psychological Science revealed that writing things out helps to aid retention and leads to better processing. Whiteboards are even a great way to track and process your to-do lists for the day. Whether you are using it to write quotes, goals, or brainstorm strategies for your team, a whiteboard is an excellent tool that bypasses technological limitations.

Make Your Remote Management Workspace Your Own

Unlike your office counterparts, you can make your home office and workspace work for you. You can purchase the ideal chair, keyboard, software, desk, and office supplies for yourself. You will spend most of your day in this space, so you want to make sure it makes it possible for you to be the most productive. The more comfortable your workspace is, the more likely you will do your best work and effectively manage your team. So, do your research, and look around for the tools that will benefit you the most.

Sources:

A dual cybersecurity mindset for the next normal,, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/risk/our-insights/a-dual-cybersecurity-mindset-for-the-next-normal

Cornell University Lighting the Computerized Office, http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/lighting/lilstudy/lilstudy.htm

Remote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations, https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/#:~:text=Remote%20Work%20Is%20Increasing&text=In%202015%2C%203.9%20million%20U.S.,or%203.4%25%20of%20the%20population

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614524581

US Companies Unprepared for COVID-19 Mandated Remote Work, https://www.bbcmag.com/breaking-news/us-companies-unprepared-for-covid-19-mandated-remote-work

What is a VPN?, https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-privacy-what-is-a-vpn.html

Why An Ergonomic Office Chair is Important at Work, https://ergonomicchaircentral.com/why-ergonomic-chair/why-an-ergonomic-work-chair-is-important/#:~:text=Studies%20indicate%20that%20an%20adjustable,the%20right%20chair%20and%20training