Working from Home: How to Set Up Your Home Office
Guest article by Lance Cody-Valdez
Whether you’ve been working from home due to the COVID-19 crisis or a newly employed remote worker, you need a place to work. While a home office can be as simple as a laptop at the kitchen table, you’ll achieve greater focus, productivity, and comfort with a dedicated workspace.
Here’s what to consider as you set up your home office for remote work.
A home office should be quiet and distraction free. Unfortunately, that’s difficult to achieve when your family is home while you work. If your home lacks a dedicated office or spare bedroom, look to out-of-the-way spaces like attics, basements, and garages.
While these spaces are less prone to interruptions from curious kids, it takes work to convert them into a comfortable home office. If you don’t have time to spare, hire professionals who can help by hauling junk, cleaning old carpets to remove dirt and mold, and adding insulation and lighting.
Connectivity is another challenge when working from home. Many people discover they need to upgrade their internet service in order to prevent lags while working from home. You can purchase a MU-MIMO router that can transit connectivity to multiple devices at once so speeds don’t suffer when other family members get online. If you don’t want to splurge on a new router, run an Ethernet cable to your workstation.
You may also want to set up a VPN for your home network. A VPN, or virtual private network, is an encrypted connection that adds extra security for remote workers. It’s especially important for home-based workers who are accessing office files from an external location.
Next, turn your attention to workspace ergonomics. An ergonomic home office is important for your comfort and your health. Ergonomic workstation essentials include:
- Sit/stand desk: A high-end adjustable desk isn’t necessary if you’re only working from home part-time, but it is important to have a comfortable standing workstation. Inexpensive options include desktop converters or an elbow-height table or countertop.
- Ergonomic chair: An ergonomic chair may be the most expensive part of your home office setup, but it’s a worthy purchase for remote workers. Unsupportive desk chairs contribute to neck and back pain that stays with you long after the workday ends.
- Wrist rest: If you use a keyboard and mouse most of the day, add a wrist wrest to your workstation. These inexpensive pads prevent wrist pain from repetitive movements.
- Dual monitors: Working from a laptop doesn’t support good posture. Instead, invest in computer monitors that keep your eyes pointed forward. Look for monitors with adjustable height and positioning for maximum comfort.
Whether you need a new desk or monitor, you can find discounts when you shop online at major retailers like Best Buy and Staples. You can reduce the cost of these items even more when you use Staples promo codes and coupons.
Apps and Tools
Finally, remote workers need tools that keep them connected with the rest of their team. Here are some common tools used by telecommuters:
- A remote desktop app: Remote desktop software lets home-based workers access files on their office network. Pair remote desktop apps with a VPN for security.
- Real-time communication: Whether your office uses Slack, Microsoft Teams, or another messaging tool, it’s important to have a way to keep in touch without the lag of emailing back and forth.
- Video conferencing: Zoom has quickly become the most popular video chatting app for distributed teams, but alternatives include Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts.
- Project management tools: Staying organized poses challenges for distributed teams. Project management tools like Monday and Asana offer a simple way to track tasks without overwhelming inboxes.
Setting up a home office poses challenges for workers who are accustomed to the office. However, with a few changes, you can convert a corner of your home into a focused workspace. Before long, you’ll be reaching peak productivity at home and wondering why you didn’t make the transition to remote work sooner.
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