If you’ve spent the last year or so stooped and contorted at a makeshift desk in your bedroom/kitchen/garage you’re in good company. So, if like 71% of the American workforce, you’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s time to make the experience as pleasurable, healthy and happy as possible.
From avoiding eye strain to investing in the right IT and tech, read on to discover how to create a home office that works for you.
1. Get the right tools and tech
Getting the right tech and tools is a priority. This includes your IT equipment, connectivity, printers, scanners, platforms... Everything you would expect to have access to in your office, and everything you need to connect effectively with your teammates, clients and customers.
We’ve all heard stories about firms expecting their employees to invest in their own IT during the pandemic, or people having to make do with substandard tools. In most cases, your employer should furnish you with everything you need to do to do your job properly. But it doesn’t stop here. They should also provide the training you need to use the tech well. Without your IT team on hand adoption of new tools can be a challenge, so make sure you don’t struggle alone and tell your boss straight away if you’re having problems.
2. Design a space that is dedicated to work
It’s not always possible to have a dedicated room or area to work in, but if you can then you should put this near the top of your list of must-haves. If space is tight then try to angle your desk away from your personal space, such as the TV or your kitchen. This should help with being distracted too much by ‘just one more coffee’ too!
3. Find the right desk
With remote working unexpectedly thrust on us, many of us were - and still are - just trying to negotiate a peaceful working environment rather than focusing on which desk style or height is the right one for us. But with back pain among one of the most frequent work-related health complaints in the US, finding the right desk is a definite must-have.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a desk.
4. Keep it tidy
Whether your usual office desk is an absolute trash heap or sparkling clean, you should try to keep your home office as neat and tidy as possible. When work and home merge, one of the simplest ways of putting your professional hat on is to feel like you are in a professional environment. Plus, if you share your home, it’s only fair on your cohabitants!
5. Avoid eye strain.
Without human resources making sure we adhere to health and safety guidelines, it’s easy to forget about maintaining your physical health when working from home. Eye strain is a common work-related ailment, so make sure you pay attention to where the lamps and other lighting is in your workspace.
Lamps that are specifically designed to avoid eye strain are readily available. Plus you should always make sure you are positioned to get plenty of natural light, though don’t dazzle yourself, obviously! When you are around other people in the office you have much more interaction so you regularly vary your fields of vision and perspective. When working solo, make sure you take plenty of breaks from your screen and avoid heading straight for your phone during lunch.
6. Get organized.
Even if space is tight, it’s a good idea to create some shelves or install lockers to sore your work bits and bobs. If you need a printer, scanner or copier, opt for an all-in-one version that will keep clutter to a minimum. Post-it notes are great, but don’t let them overtake your workspace. There are some really user-friendly desktop apps to use as an alternative or you could even erect a whiteboard.
Lastly, don’t risk injuries or just driving and your housemates up the wall with tangled wires all over the place. Invest in a power strip, tether long cables, and tidy everything away at the end of the working day.
7. Get some peace and quiet.
If you’re sharing a home, getting peace and quiet can be really challenging. Noise-cancelling headphones are a great investment, or you could try a white noise app that neutralizes background noise. If you do have space to play with, distance yourself as much as possible from others, the front door, busy roads and any other aural distractions.
We hope these tips for creating a home office that works for you have been helpful. Homeworking can be challenging and for many of us, it has taken a lot of getting used to. If you work alone, loneliness can creep in. If you share your space, the interruptions and background noise can drive us to distraction. So, it is well worth taking some time to make your workspace comfortable and welcoming. Where possible try to implement a few of the above changes - if not all - and don’t forget to share your successes with your colleagues. You might inspire them to make some positive changes, too!
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