The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives topsy-turvy. The old normal was gone in the blink of an eye. Suddenly we were all forced to adapt to the new normal. And the new normal meant safety precautions have to take center stage, lest the deadly virus spread and severe COVID cases overwhelm our medical facilities. The World Health Organization (WHO) advised everyone to wear protective gear such as face masks when going out. Social distancing became the order of the day.
In line with social distancing protocols, many businesses have to send their employees home. Remote working arrangements became the go-to option for organizations. This allowed them to continue operations without endangering the lives of staff members.
For those now working remotely, a home office that is actually work-conducive proves vital. Otherwise, productivity might be compromised. Here are the main things to consider when creating a home office.
Find the best spot
This is the first order of business. Those lucky enough to have the privilege of a dedicated room for remote work can skip this part. Meanwhile, those who still need to decide which area in their house to fashion into a home office, please read on.
Consider the kind of work you do. If it requires you to be on the phone or a Zoom call for most of the day, pick an area where you are isolated enough to be spared from distracting noises. This can be on the second floor of your home where not many people linger during the day. If you’re living in a bungalow, at least set up a home office as far as possible from the living room.
If you can, surround the area with a mobile enclosure. There are panels on wheels available online, and they provide any workspace with a semblance of privacy.
Lastly, make sure the spot you pick offers a reliable Wi-Fi signal. If you can have a dedicated internet source for your home office, the better.
Get the right equipment
Your choice of computer should depend on the work you do. For example, you could go for a heavy-duty laptop if you are an artist editing videos or creating animation. For basic admin work and other similar designations, a consumer-grade computer will suffice.
As for the work table, your height is the main barometer. A table that is too low or too high will force you to crane your neck or hunch over or strain your arms. These positions can cause body pain over time. Also, your posture will eventually suffer. The ideal table should allow your forearms to be parallel to the ground when typing on a computer.
But if you already have a table and you do not want to purchase a new one, at least invest in the right work chair with an adjustable height. It should be ergonomically designed.
Proper lighting should not be neglected as well, especially if you work the night shift. Soft lighting is the way to go. Lighting that is too intense can give you a headache, while the opposite will give you eye strain.
Lastly, consider other essentials like a coffee machine, an air purifier, and a dedicated landline phone. These tools can help increase productivity while working remotely.
Know your working style
There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to setting up a home office since we vary in terms of working style. You might be the kind of person who needs to organize your personal space to get work done. If that is the case, then have cabinets in your home office to keep work stuff in order. Or you might be the type who thrives in clutter and disarray. There is no shame in that, so long as you deliver your tasks on schedule.
Set home office rules
Home office rules should cover you and the people you share the home with. It pays that a semblance of routine guide you through the workweek. Start and stop working at the same hour each time. When you are within the work area, Netflix should be off-limits.
Communicate your expectations to your family or housemates, such as when and why you can be disturbed. If you do not set rules, it may be more difficult to focus on the things you need to get done.
Work Well, Work Smart
The goal of setting up a home office is to achieve freedom of space. That equates to an area that allows one to work well and work smart. Working well means being able to finish deliverables on time. Working smart means being able to utilize everything at your disposal to make the job at hand as easy as possible.
Working from home is pointless if a work-life balance still proves unachievable. That should not be the case if remote work is done right. And doing WFH right starts with a home office that is on par with, if not better than, your old one.
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