After you finished your college and university, it is time to step into the real world and build your career. And in today’s world, the number of solopreneurs is increasing at a tremendous rate. More and more people start to work from their home and this is where the problem arises. It is difficult to concentrate and focus when you are working at home or from a remote workplace. This is why you need to learn how to build a positive work environment, and this is where you are going to find out how you can do so.
As a solopreneur who works from home, I understand how difficult and challenging it is to stay focus on our goals and maintain our motivation to work.
There are no bosses or managers to overlook our work and we are all on our own. More importantly, we need to maintain our motivation and have a strong self-discipline to make sure that we put in real work and not just lying on the couch or checking updates on social media all the time.
When I first started to work from home as a solopreneur, things are messy and I find that I need a lot of willpower and motivation in order to get the work done. There are just too many distractions at home that will interrupt and distract us.
Luckily, I manage to conquer myself and able to build a positive work environment that supports my work.
And I’m going to share with you the top 10 tips that I think are important and can help you in building a good and positive work surrounding.
But before that, let’s us talk a little about…
The Importance of Creating a Positive Work Environment
We all understand that having a positive workplace and an encouraging work culture is extremely important because our surrounding and environment can greatly impact our productivity and also our success.
I bet that you know that it is important to build a positive work environment, and most people do. They understand that working in a good environment can boost their productivity, make them more motivated, and create a better performance.
However, these are just the more direct and tip-of-the-iceberg kind of reasons. Here are some that you may never think of before:
1) Positive work environment gives you a sense of pride as a solopreneur
A good and positive work environment makes you feel like you belong to something meaningful and your work contribute to something bigger. It makes you feel proud.
When I first started as a blogger and work from home full time, I don’t really know how to answer when people ask me what I do.
This is mainly because I don’t have much of a result to show and working full time as an internet marketer sounds like something not so “legitimate” to many people in my country. (Luckily, things have started to change as more and more people are working from their home right now.)
Thus, I always try to stay away from talking about my internet business and online career.
Until one day, I discovered that it is extremely important for me to acknowledge my work, my online business, and what I’m trying to accomplish in the future. And I started to treat my online career seriously. I make it professional by changing my work environment and make it positive.
This, my friend, is one of the most important keys to becoming a successful solopreneur. When you improve your work environment, you become more willing to work harder, exceed your own expectation and even others’ expectations, and you become proud of what you do.
2) A positive work environment prevents you from falling into the negative trap
A great work environment will help you maintain your motivation and support you in your journey to achieving your goals.
Try to imagine that you work in a lousy workplace where everyone is blaming each other, trying to avoid responsibility, and they are negative and are not helpful at all. Do you think this kind of culture is going to be helpful in building your career?
A positive work environment prevents you from falling into the negative trap. There will be days that you feel negative, no motivation, and you just want to procrastinate and do nothing.
But when you have a good working environment, you greatly lower the possibility of having bad days.
More importantly, a positive work culture and environment able to remind you of what you want to achieve. You will be less likely to give up, quit, or jump to another so-called opportunity.
3) Improves your overall happiness
Yes, when you work in a good environment, you will be happy. Nobody likes to work in a lousy environment. And I bet you don’t want your workplace to be somewhere you hate going.
This is even more important when you work at home because things can be messy. If you are not careful, you can mix up your work and private life.
When you are happy and enjoy your work, you are able to focus and perform better.
4) Your work environment builds your work culture
How you approach your work will greatly be determined by your work environment. A good culture stimulates work performance, but what builds a good culture is the workplace environment that you are in.
Imagine if you go to a workplace that you hate, day-in and day-out, this becomes a habit. The moment you get into your workplace, you feel lousy and negative and you can’t wait to get out of there, this is not going to be helpful.
This is why creating a positive work environment is crucial if you want to achieve better results and greater success in life.
In fact, most of these factors are applicable to both solopreneurs and people who work in the office of an organization.
Once you understood the importance of having a positive work environment, it is time to discover the 10 tips how you can transform your workplace for the better.
1. Recognize your effort and hard work
Positive work environment starts with recognizing your effort and hard work. Now, if you are working for yourself and by yourself, there is no one there to praise your hard work. And so you will have to learn how to celebrate your own hard work.
You have to recognize your effort. For all the hard work that you have poured in, be proud and celebrate your progress.
As a solopreneur who works by myself, I find that when I first created some results, I feel great, but soon enough, I become accustomed to them and then it quickly becomes a norm. This is when the motivation will fade.
For instance, when you start a blog and you hit 100 visitors a day, you feel thrilled. However, this feeling will never last and it will quickly go away. You will soon become accustomed to having 100 visits per day and no longer feel great about it.
The same feeling goes for making your first $10 or $100. You feel absolutely thrilled when you make your first sale, but this feeling will never last. The motivation will wane if you do nothing about it.
And this is why you must celebrate your progress and keep the momentum going.
Celebrate not just your victories, but your hard work and also all the progress that you have made.
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
– Oprah Winfrey
You can play games, have a night out, allow yourself to do something that you love. Whatever you do, recognize the hard work that you have put in and be proud of yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back.
2. Create a comfortable and professional workstation
It is extremely important to have a proper workstation. This is especially true when you work and operate from your home.
Try to separate your workstation from your regular living spaces. For example, if possible, don’t use your bedroom as your workplace. If you can get a proper room, turn that room into your office with office equipment like chairs, tables, stationery, etc.
If your work requires you to stay in front of your computer for long hours, get yourself a good table and a comfortable chair. Ergonomic chairs are the trend right now.
When you are able to sit and work comfortably, your productivity soar and you’re able to focus on your tasks better.
I bought myself a great and comfortable chair. And I can tell you that it is one of the decisions that I will never regret. Although the chair may be a little expensive, it is worth it. I need to sit and work in front of my computer most of the time, hence, getting a good chair is definitely something important.
Here are a few good tips you can consider to build a positive work environment:
- Consider the lighting of your workplace. Nobody loves to work in a dark place for long hours. Unless you are watching a movie in the theater, a good workplace requires natural and proper amount of lighting.
- Wind flow and temperature. Make sure the room temperature is just nice. If it is either too cold or too hot, it can affect your ability to focus. The best is to allow some natural wind flow to the room. When it is too hot in the summer, switch on the air conditioner.
- Also, consider the colors, noise, and even the decorations as well. Bring in some green plant to ease your eyes and spark your creativity.
- Put up motivational posters and dream boards whenever possible.
Never underestimate the power of the physical environment that you’re in. Your surrounding can affect you and your life.
3. Make your work fun
If you want to build a positive work environment, you must include the fun factor into your work. Just like what Richard Branson says:
“Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home, why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
A workplace can be serious, but you need to have some balance at times too. Being all too serious and being all about work makes Jack a dull boy. Thus, include the fun factor into your work environment.
I believe that nobody wants to work in a place that is filled with only pure work without engagements or fun. When the work is engaging and fun, or when you know how to inject the creative juice into your work, you will love your work more. In fact, you can’t wait to work on your work.
Fun and joy can come from two places. The first is from within yourself, which means internally such as passion. When you are passionate about what you do, you are willing to go beyond and perform better.
The second is from the outside, the external factor. Company’s events such as bowling night, movie day, dinner gathering, etc, are great to not just build a relationship between employees, but also injecting the fun juice to the team.
What if you work by yourself? Well, you need to be creative and make your work fun. For instance, you can play your favorite music while working, take a day off, or even have an annual meeting plus a getaway with yourself by the beach. Sounds cool?
I’m planning to have my getaway trip at the end this year at Four Seasons in Langkawi Island with my wife. Of course, this is not a holiday, but a fun trip to plan my business, life, and the direction of this blog for the coming years.
Even if you are working all by yourself as a solopreneur, you can still treat your work and business like a real business and still come up with great ideas for fun and engagements with your work.
4. Build your scoreboard
In the best-selling book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution says that people and teams play differently when they are keeping score.
When you keep score, you know exactly where you stand, you can then improve your productivity because you understand your metrics, whether you are winning, losing, and how much time you have left to achieve your goals. Thus, having a scoreboard is one of the most important keys to building a positive work environment.
Your scoreboard does not only let you know your progress but also motivates you and gives you a little pressure to work harder.
Imagine that you put up a big scoreboard by writing down your ultimate goal such as to earn $100,000 by the end of the year, you then include your monthly performance and you stick your scoreboard on the wall of your living hall so that your wife can see it.
Now, every time you look at the scoreboard, it reminds you of your target, and you know what you need to do. You know how much you have made and how far you are from your goal.
Besides that, your wife can see your performance and she can question you whenever she wants. This creates a little pressure because you are putting up a public commitment through your scoreboard.
As a result, you feel more motivated to work on your goals and to take action. This is why a scoreboard helps when it comes to creating a positive work environment.
This is why many personal development gurus including my mentor, John Assaraf, use vision boards as a reminder to inspire them to take action.
5. Turn your most important task into your habit
If you seriously want to become productive and get things done, you must turn your most important task into your habit.
Remember my favorite quote from Aristotle?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Yes, what you do once in a while is not as important as what you do every day. Success is about doing the small and right things that will give you huge results over time.
Hence, in my opinion, the best way to build a good work environment is to use the environment to build your work habits.
Find out what is the number one task that you need to accomplish each day and then turn it into your habit.
No matter what industry or niche you are in, there is one thing that you need to do each day on a repetitive basis that will ensure your success.
- A writer’s one thing is to write every day.
- An artist’s one thing is to paint each day.
- An actor’s most important task is to act daily.
- An athlete like Michael Phelp’s one thing is to swim every day, and that is exactly what he did.
Therefore, turn your most important task into your habit. Make your work your habit and so you will never have to worry about having no motivation to work anymore.
When an action becomes a habit, it takes less motivation and willpower to execute. The resistance will be greatly reduced.
Extraordinary people seem like they are able to work all day not because they have unlimited motivation, but because they have transformed their actions into their habits.
When you study successful authors and writers such as Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, Haruki Murakami, and even my favorite blogger and author, Jeff Goins, they have one thing in common, which is that they make writing their number one priority.
They turned writing as part of their daily habit and they write every single day, regardless of whether it rains or it snows, they continue to write each day.
The same goes for you. What is the one thing that can make you extraordinary in your field? Practice it daily, make it your habits, and the results will come.
Use your environment to grow your habits.
6. Socialize with other people
Although you may be working alone like I do, still, we cannot ignore the fact that human needs social and the support from others to thrive in life.
Yes, you can be a full-time blogger and work from the comfort of your home without seeing anyone. But the problem is that we all need companions and we need to socialize with others to survive.
How long do you think you can lock yourself in your room? Keeping yourself alone is not good for your mental health and in terms of business, it is suicide.
No one can succeed all by himself in this world. Even if you work from home, you still need to join others, talk to others, network and socialize regularly.
Building a positive work environment requires you to talk to others and socialize. If you don’t do that, your business cannot grow.
Thus, make sure you have both types of communication, the face-to-face and the digital type where you can communicate using emails, instant messages, etc.
According to author Bronnie Ware who wrote the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, one of the 5 regrets she mentioned in the book is the regret of not having enough time spent with friends.
Bronnie is an Australian nurse who spends years working and taking care of patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in her blog, which was then turned into the book. Bronnie says:
“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
My friend, if you want to live an extraordinary life and build a positive work environment, remember to incorporate social into your work environment.
7. Adopt the mindset of a professional
Finding it hard to get motivated to work as a solopreneur? Don’t worry, here’s a good trick – treat your work as if you are working in the real office.
Meaning, you should not work in your pajamas. Instead, choose to wear proper or at least smart casual even if you are just working from home.
And because you get to work from home, most people will just take things lightly. Perhaps, too lightly that they don’t treat things seriously and fall into the trap of procrastination.
Remember, you are a professional in your industry, so how will a professional wear, look, and manage his work?
- Is he going to check Facebook the first thing in the morning?
- Will he sleep until 10AM or wake up at 6AM?
- Is he going to go through his day unplanned or is he going to focus on doing his most important thing the first thing in the morning?
You have to act and adopt the mindset of a professional if you want to be a professional.
One of the most common mistakes that solopreneurs make is that they did not treat their business as a business. They look at their business as a part-time or a hobby-kind of work.
Guess what, if you are a blogger and you treat your blog as a hobby, you will never be able to grow your blog big. This is because you will always choose to give priority to other things that appear to be more important than your hobby. Your hobby has to give way, isn’t it?
Therefore, don’t treat your online business as a hobby. Adopt the professional mindset and treat your business as a real business, and not just a hobby.
The next time you find it hard to get motivated to work from home, change your attire, invest in proper office equipment and make your workplace like a real office.
And if there are a lot of distractions, you may want to even consider renting a small office room and work there. Else, just work in coffee houses if it helps in getting your work done.
8. Water, snacks, and breaks
If you want to build a positive work environment, there is no way you can go without water, snacks, and breaks.
Water is important because you need to keep your body hydrated all the time. Thus, get yourself a water bottle so that you don’t have to keep going to the pantry or kitchen for water.
As for snacks, we need to keep our mental energy high, and this is where snacks can help. Of course, when I say snacks, I’m referring to healthy snacks and not just any snack. Whenever you are tired, just take a break and get a snack.
Snacking is completely optional, my friend. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. For me, I prefer to take sugar-free mints when I’m working.
Taking breaks from time to time is extremely important. If you think that you have to work 24 hours without breaks, you are wrong. Taking breaks is important because it recharges our energy, both mentally and physically.
This is especially true when your work requires a lot of creative energy such as writing. We can’t write the entire day.
I write mostly in the morning because I found that I have the most energy and able to focus the best in the morning. Hence, I dedicate my mornings to writing.
As for the afternoon, I find that it is difficult for me to concentrate and write. This is why I choose to work on tasks that require less creative energy in the afternoon. For instance, I will schedule Facebook posts, write broadcast emails, check and reply emails, read and comment on other blogs, etc.
I prefer to write in the morning rather than in the afternoon. What about you?
This is why taking regular breaks is important. A positive work environment includes breaks, so don’t be afraid to take short breaks whenever necessary.
9. Share your victories and defeats
A good working environment allows you to share your victories and defeats with others. This sounds possible if you have colleagues, what if you are working all by yourself as a solopreneur?
Well, you can still share your victories and defeats with others such as your friends, your family members, your partners, etc.
It is important because when you are sharing your victories with others, you are telling them and yourself that you can do much better and you expect to see greater success in the future. You will work harder because you don’t want to let those who support you down.
And when you feel down and defeated, you should choose to share those moments too. You don’t have to keep everything to yourself.
However, make sure you share with people who will support and encourage you to go farther, not people who tell you to quit and be realistic.
You can also create a journal to record down your victories and defeats.
10. Guard your time against distractions
A positive work environment should be distraction free. How can you perform at your best if you are constantly being distracted?
Thus, protect your time and guard yourself against all possible distractions.
We often underestimate the destructive power of distractions. This is especially true if you work on the computer where you can easily open a window to check for social media updates or to watch a short and quick YouTube video.
According to this article published on Entrepreneur and written by Neil Patel, the famous internet marketer, he says that there are 5 distractions that we must learn to avoid:
1) Social media
This is one of the biggest time sinks and I believe that we all agree that we should spend less time on social media and put in more time to work on our goals and dreams. According to Neil, you can install apps like News Feed Eradicator to block yourself from checking the social media and use the Rescue Time app to discover where you spend most of your time.
2) Texting and messaging
It is true that there are messages that we need to respond and reply, but when we do that, we are distracting our flow and creative juices. It takes a longer time to recover than you think. Neil suggests turning your phone into the Airplane mode or to switch it off completely.
3) Checking and replying emails
Besides messaging and calls, checking and replying emails is another big productivity killer. Most of the emails are not urgent and do not require your immediate action. If something is absolutely urgent, people will contact you directly and not through email, make sense? So Neil recommends us to check emails twice a day. Rather than checking and replying email every time when you receive one, batch your work and do it all at the same time.
4) Talking with others
Now, if you work in a corporate office, yes, this can be one of your biggest time wasters. However, if you work from home, you may not have this issue. But still, you need to keep an eye on who you talk to and how much time you spend gossiping with others.
We are not wired to multitask. Neil says that our brain is not uniquely wired so that it can multitask more efficiently. Hence, try not to multitask and choose to focus on doing just one task at a time. The solution to this is to set a timer for each task that you do and aim to finish the entire task within the time constraints.
So if you want to build a positive work environment, guard yourself from distractions and interruptions.
I hope that you have learned a lot about building a positive work environment up to this point. Let us have a quick recap…
First, you learn about the importance of building and working in a positive work environment because:
- A positive work environment gives you a sense of pride through your work,
- A supportive work environment prevents you from falling into the negative trap,
- A good work environment improves your overall happiness in both work and life, and
- Your environment can build your work culture.
And then you also learned how you can build a positive work environment with the 10 tips that I have shared…
- Recognize your effort and hard work
- Create a comfortable and professional workstation
- Make your work fun
- Build your scoreboard
- Turn your most important task into your habit
- Socialize with other people
- Adopt the mindset of a professional
- Water, snacks, and breaks
- Share your victories and defeats
- Guard your time from distractions
I hope you enjoy reading this article. Before you go, I want to ask you this question:
“How do you make your work environment positive and supportive?”
Do share your ideas with me in the comment section below. Cheers