By Marie Johnson, Contributing Author at Enlightened Digital
Working from home has become more of a common practice in recent years. Workplace policies have evolved alongside technology, and now, there are more individuals and entrepreneurs than ever making use of their home office.
A home office should be an environment that encourages productivity and efficiency. Thus, the way you set up your office is incredibly important. This article takes a closer look at how remote workers and businesspeople can set their home office (and themselves) up for success.
Choose your office space wisely
In order to create a workplace environment that’s conducive to, well, work, you’ll first want to select an area of the home that will become dedicated office space. This can be a spare bedroom, finished attic space or basement, any free room really. You want it to be somewhere quiet and functional, with a certain degree of privacy. This is key if you share your living space with anyone else.
If you’re going to be taking a lot of important calls or sitting in virtually on meetings, being able to shut a door can help keep extraneous noise from the rest of the house from reaching your work. If you anticipate meeting clients at home, you might want to be more selective about where your office is- staying close to the front of the house may be best to avoid confusion.
Finally, you’ll want to clear any distractions out of the room you choose. Most people use every spare inch of space in their homes to store their belongings. When selecting an office space, you’ll want to repurpose this space for work, rather than home. You don’t want to host clutter in your working environment, as excessive clutter has been linked to stress and decreased levels of productivity.
Select proper lighting
Once you’ve chosen your physical space, it’s time to build an office environment. One of the cornerstones of a good home office is proper lighting. Ideally, you’ve picked a space that brings in plenty of natural light, which some experts believe is the “number one employee perk.” Natural light helps fulfil a basic human need, which can greatly benefit overall productivity, but if you’re working long hours or natural light is limited, you can also use direct lighting. Many spaces in the home provide overhead lighting, but you can also invest in desk or floor lamps that provide greater visibility to your work area.
Whether you use natural lighting, direct lighting, or a combination of both, be sure to check that your workspace is positioned to minimize glare on a computer screen or other device. Too much glare can cause eye strain and limited visibility. If screen glare persists, consider dimming direct lighting and adjusting computer brightness settings, investing in a screen filter or monitoring hood, or using UV-filtering glasses. Some companies sell eyeglasses that are colour-coated to reduce the blue or yellow tint emitted by certain fluorescent lights, which can help reduce eye strain.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably
Even if you have the lighting down pat, your home office isn’t complete without the right kind of office furniture. Specifically seating choice can play a big role in your overall productivity. Though office furniture is often expensive, ergonomic options better support the human body throughout the day. Many at-home workers even turn to standing desks to alleviate any issues caused by sitting for long periods of time.
Take the time to explore your options and select the right desk and seating arrangement that suits your individual needs. Remember, you’ll be the only one to work there on a regular basis, so you want to make sure you’re comfortable.
Invest in the right tools
Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur working for yourself or an employee of a larger organization, you are responsible for making the most of your workday. In order to be productive, you have to supply yourself with the right tools. Make a comprehensive list from the start of everything you think you’ll need. Consider the fact that remote work doesn’t necessarily mean you work in a bubble. Oftentimes, it requires you to interface and collaborate with team members and clients from your home office. Some common tools of the trade can include:
- A laptop or PC
- A dedicated phone line
- A webcam
- Job-specific software
- A printer or scanner
Your list may change depending on your role and responsibilities, but at the very least you’ll need an internet connection. Make sure you have everything you need to do your job so you don’t skip a beat.
Give yourself a break
Stress doesn’t go away by removing yourself from a corporate office environment. In fact, working from home can present an entirely unique set of stressors. You can’t expect to escape stress and exhaustion when sitting in front of a screen all the time. However, being home allows you to take short, frequent breaks that can provide some much-needed relief and stimulation.
Some workers employ the use of apps and other technology tools to set a timer for regular breaks and automate reminders when they’ve had too much screen time. If you’re someone that has a hard time removing yourself from a stressor, tools like these might be extremely helpful.
Remote work has opened up a vast array of professional opportunities for individuals from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking to start your own business or simply trying out a different arrangement from the typical 9-to-5 grind, your home office can be a place where great work