For those of us who have worked in an office most of our lives, working from home feels like a dream. Keeping your own schedule, coming to work in your PJs, taking breaks when you need them… it sounds perfect. However, working from home means being self-motivated. It means turning part of your home life and space into a work-friendly, productive environment. What do you need to know to create the perfect work-from-home space?
Consult this list for tips on how to set up an at-home office that makes you actually want to stay and work!
To work from home, whether you’re setting up an at-home office or something more remote, you need a strong and reliable internet connection. That means you’ll want the best Wifi money can by. Not just for keeping in touch with the office and teammates, but the last thing you want is to lose your WiFi connection in the middle of a video conference. A good wireless router can help you get the best connection at home, no matter what else is going on.
Just like at the office, ergonomic furniture makes a huge difference. You might think it’s less important because unlike in a cubicle, you can take breaks and move around – but when you’re working on an assignment, you’ll find yourself with a case of neck or eye strain. Do some research into the best chairs and desk sizes for your height. Remember to tilt your keyboard down and away from you, so your arms and hands follow the slope of your thighs, and tilt the monitor toward you, and never past your eye line, to avoid eye strain. Don’t forget to ensure you have a break out area, so you can take a much needed moment or two away from the desk. You could opt for something as simple as a cushioned corner, a cosy sheepskin rug and a few of your favourite magazines.
Your home office should be a welcoming place! You want it to be professional, comfortable, and an easy space to work in. What’s the point of working from home if you can’t make the place feel homey? Plant life can help brighten up a smaller office, as well as freshening up the air around you. If you pride yourself on your green thumb, growing fresh-smelling herbs is a great way to brighten up your office space, and help you go green with fresh, natural ingredients. If your thumb is more brown than green, stick to ferns, spider plants, cacti variety, or bamboo. These plants require less light, and less overall care.
Speaking of a bit of fresh air. Whether you’ve carved out a corner of the living room, or a disused space in your house to use as a home office, it’s bound to get stuffy in there. A stuffy, uncomfortable space can get distracting. Keep yourself feeling productive by keeping the air in your home office fresh and clean. Invest in a room-sized air purifier to give yourself the cleanest air, even when you can’t manage to open a window. It’s sure to keep you from drooping at your desk and keep your home office from feeling like a cubicle. If you have pets at home, opt for the best air purifier for pets to ensure you rid your space of dander as well as pet hair.
A variety of studies have proven independently that music can help with repetitive or boring tasks. It’s why most office environments have a radio station playing. As well as keeping you upbeat during repetitive tasks, music can also help with memory and information retention. In the age of internet streaming, your radio may be on your phone or your computer. We strongly suggest using your phone or Alexa. Spending time looking for the right music on your laptop is more likely to be a time-waster in the end. Whenever possible, stick to music without lyrics, especially if you’re tackling something challenging. Research shows music can become a bigger distraction in those cases.
The last thing you want is to be midway through an important report or chatting with someone important, and experience a power failure. Surges can cost you data, customers, and just generally wreak havoc on your productivity. Save yourself some trouble by keeping important documents on a separate server, or in an external drive, and invest in a surge protector to avoid data loss and other disasters.
Plenty of Natural Light
Let’s be honest: Part of the reason you left that stuffy office is that you hated working in a dark cubicle. Don’t we all? To maximize the amount of natural light in your at-home office, no matter the size of the space, follow these tips:
– Get some LED lamps and light bulbs, which mimic natural sunlight.
– Make sure nothing is obscuring your window. Use light-colored curtains, and keep furniture from blocking the light.
– Bounce the light from the window with a few well-placed mirrors to make your small home office look bigger and brighter.
– Angle your monitor away from any lights and lamps to avoid glare.
This last point is less about your office décor and more about your work ethic. With smartphones, laptops and remote offices, it can be difficult to draw the line between when you are available to work, and how to balance your life with work. Set boundaries. Establish working hours on a schedule, and be firm. Whether you’re working as a freelancer with some autonomy, or you work for a larger company, do what you can to create a division between work and home life. A specific email and phone that is used exclusively for work is one way to solve this problem. Remember, just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you can afford to have your work life intrude on your home life. Balance is important, especially in our wired world.
The option to work from home is more attainable now than it’s ever been. With a strong internet connection and a reliable smartphone, it feels like there’s nothing we can’t do. But staying productive at home isn’t always easy. With our tips, you’ll be able to create an office space that will keep you productive, while still inspiring that same sense of freedom you were dreaming of!
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