Research shows that 74% of businesses plan to implement more permanent work-from-home initiatives. So, there’s a good chance you could end up working remotely for longer than expected.
By now, you’ve probably got a good routine going as a temporary measure. How does your home office environment measure up for long-term use though?
Learn how to set up a home office like a boss with our practical remote work setup tips.
Find a Space For Your Remote Work Setup
In an ideal world, we’d all have a study set up and ready to go when the call to work from home came around.
In reality, even if such a room existed in your house, it’s probably been overrun by clutter or repurposed as a makeshift games room or guest bedroom.
If you have a study or spare room, it’s time to neaten it up and get organized. Any place where you can close the door and work undisturbed will do.
If you don’t have enough space in your home for a separate office setup, you’ll need to get a little creative.
Home Office Setup in a Small Apartment
Having a small space available for work doesn’t mean you need to spend your days hunched over a laptop on your couch.
You can optimize a portion of your dining room or kitchen table for work activities, use a low shelf for work, or invest in a standing desk.
In small spaces, it’s vital to separate work from leisure areas, so your mind can make the switch between work and play. So, pick a spot as far away from the television as possible and invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
Home Office Essentials
From office equipment to furniture, taking care to pick the best office gear for your needs pays off. The faster you can complete your tasks, the more time you’ll have for yourself.
When you’re working at the office, you need to comply with set hours.
With remote work, most employers won’t mind what you do once you’ve met your targets, as long as they can contact you when needed.
These are some of the things you need to complete your day’s work comfortably and with the least possible stress:
A PC or Laptop
While most formal office setups rely on desktop computers for their needs, there are some excellent business laptops available today.
Although the best of these are on the pricier side of the spectrum, you can save some money by taking advantage of online shopping deals from reputable laptop suppliers.
The average remote worker prefers a laptop for home use due to its portability and small size. However, you’ll need a few extras to optimize your laptop for your home office.
A separate keyboard and mousepad will prevent back strain while working on a laptop for hours on end. Ideally, your laptop screen should line up with your eyes when you’re sitting straight up at your desk.
To achieve this, you can support it on a few books or buy a laptop stand that raises it to the appropriate height.
An ergonomic office chair ensures hours of comfort while working and prevents injury and strain.
Make sure your desk is at least 29 inches high so that your arms are at a comfortable height while typing or working with your mouse. Your hands should line up with your elbows while working on your keyboard.
An external screen or two can help prevent eye strain and help you to work faster, especially if that’s what you’re used to at the office.
If you can’t afford these extras, ask your boss if you can use your equipment from the office instead.
You must have sufficient light to see your keyboard and workspace clearly.
You can’t beat natural light when it comes to preserving your eyes. Yet, a window located directly in front of or behind your workstation may create glare.
Make sure you have curtains or blinds on your windows to help reduce the dazzling rays of the early morning or late afternoon sun.
Most home offices need alternative sources of light too.
An overhead light source like a lamp is best for dark rooms. Avoid placing a lamp right next to your computer screen, this can create glare, cause fatigue, and may harm your eyes.
A Backup Plan
An unexpected power outage can wreak havoc with your productivity. Set your computer programs to save your work frequently and invest in a UPS.
A small UPS will give you enough time to save your work and shut down your desktop PC without losing any work and can prevent damage from power surges.
Back up your work online or on an external drive so that you don’t lose your information if something goes wrong with your computer.
Without a supervisor breathing down your neck, it’s easy to slack off with your office admin. While most office work nowadays relies on paperless files, some jobs still involve reams of paperwork.
If you deal with stacks of paper that need filing, a filing cabinet with hanging folders works well in a home office for remote work.
A cluttered desk will distract you and affect your productivity.
If you work with lever arch files, store them neatly on a shelf out of sight, or inside a cabinet.
Use trays to keep your pending, in-progress, and completed items neat and separate. File your completed work as soon as you’ve completed your work for the day.
You’ll also need all the regular office supplies if you work with paper. These include:
- A stapler and staples
- Bulldog clips
- File dividers
- Pens, pencils, and highlighters
- Tape and scissors
Keep these neatly in a drawer or a box, so they’re close at hand when you need them.
Surveys show that 83% of executives feel that work-from-home initiatives have turned out well productivity-wise.
Make sure your boss is one of them with these productivity tips.
Distractions are the bane of every remote worker’s life. You can get the better of distractions with noise-canceling headphones, or an app to help you focus.
The best downloadable productivity tools are Freedom, Cold Turkey Blocker, and Leech Blocker.
These tools prevent you from wandering off onto social media sites while you’re focused on a task and help you keep track of time.
Set a timer for your breaks so you don’t wander off and do fifteen loads of laundry in between tasks.
You can also keep tabs on your time with online time trackers like RescueTime, that record your productive hours.
One of the best ways to ensure productivity while working from home is to ‘dress up and show up’. This means you shouldn’t lumber around in your PJs all day.
Going through the rituals of getting dressed for work every morning helps get you in the correct frame of mind for a productive day at the office.
One of the best benefits of working from home is the unlimited freedom to personalize your workspace. Kit out your office with things that make you feel happy and inspired.
Surround yourself with art and photographs that motivate you, and adjust the temperature of the room to suit your comfort levels.
Plants bring life and oxygen into any office and help create a calm, tranquil atmosphere for work.
If you’re thinking of painting your office, blue and green hues supposedly increase productivity.
Remote workers need tea and lunch breaks too. You don’t need to disrupt your flow to stay refreshed though.
Installing a tea and coffee station in your office means you can top up your mug while barely missing a beat and a few snacks in your top drawer can help stave of distracting hunger pangs.
Avoid sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods though, they can cause an afternoon slump. Rather opt for healthy nibbles like fresh vegetable sticks, fruit, or nuts.
Keep your water bottle full and your hydration levels optimized.
Make Your Workspace Your Own
Once you’ve got the basics right, you can further fine-tune your remote work setup to suit your exact needs.
Whatever works for you is always the ultimate solution for your home office, whether it’s art, personal photos, or a bed for your favorite pet. After all, you will spend most of your waking hours there.
Keep browsing our blog for more tips to help you deal with everyday issues.