Focus. Stop looking at Twitter. You’re on deadline. You're at work.

Those are the kinds of thoughts a lot of people who work from home have to deal with. There are just so many distractions. On MNN, blogger Melissa suggests you set up a productive workspace, preferably with a door that closes, and writer Amy concurs:

A dedicated location with a door you can close is a must….With your desk or table in your dedicated room, go to your workspace, close the door behind you and get to work.

But not everyone has that option, particularly if they live in an apartment or a small house. Or if they're younger, what Royal College of Art grad Rami Santala calls digital nomads, members of “Generation Rent” who might not have that option of a door or a home office for quite a while.

office in sleeveAn office in a laptop sleeve. Really. (Photo: Rami Santala)

He has designed Devide, a cotton and polyurethane fold-up object that is sort of a yoga mat of an office. Wherever you unroll it, you're in an office state of mind. In its non-working state, it looks like any other laptop or tablet sleeve. However when you put it to work, it defines a space, it folds up into a sloping stand or stands up to create a mini-privacy screen. The designer writes:

There are times when we need quiet and concentration, times when we need activity, times when we need focused collaboration. The Devide work surface aims to give people the tools, space, and freedom to pursue their work as it suits them best - and when it suits them best.

Santala includes a Bluetooth sensor, which he imagines would start work apps and programs and shut down the distracting stuff (but twitter is work, I say!) as well as timing your work. I don't find that approach as convincing, and there are already programs and services like Rescue Time that will look over your shoulder and monitor what you're doing (or not). I'm not sure that's a feature people would line up for.

There's really not much to the Devide, other than your going through the physical act of setting up a personal workspace and then folding it up at the end of the work day. But like the guys who put on ties before they sit down to work, it might be enough to help people stay motivated and focused. And as Rami notes about Generation Rent, it may be all that many can hope to have.

More at the RCA and Fast Company or you can watch the video below:

Video by DEVIDE/Workspace for Digital Nomads from Marika Santala on Vimeo.

Related on MNN and TreeHugger:

Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about smart (and dumb) tech with a side of design and a dash of boomer angst.

Your office is a state of mind
A way to create a defined place of work when you're short on space.