So, you’ve decided it’s time to set up a study or home office, somewhere you can work in peace without contending with the blaring TV or sound of the hoover. Whether you’re going to join the 4.77million Brits who are self employed or you’re one of the 54% of office workers who are able to work remotely, getting your office set up right is likely to have a significant impact on not only your productivity but also your health. To help you get started, following this five-point checklist will ensure you have all the essentials in place for a comfortable and welcoming home working environment.
Are you sitting comfortably? No, really, it’s important. Having an ergonomic workstation set up is an absolute key planning point that you overlook at your peril.
Bad posture while we work contributes to a multitude of aches and pains including headaches, wrist strain and back pain, all of which can lead to poor health, needing time off or not being able to perform at our best.
What to do
Before you buy and position your desk, make sure you checkout government guidelines on setting up your workspace safely. If you’re concerned about potential costs involved in purchasing items such as supportive office chairs, be aware that you could be eligible to make an expenses claim via your tax return.
2) Services and Facilities
You’ll probably do just fine with a kettle rather than one of those fancy coffee dispensers found in some workplaces and chances are, you’re going to be responsible for cleaning your own office too. However, it’s important that the services and facilities you have at your disposal are fit for purpose and align with your priorities too.
Not having the proper tools and equipment you need to carry out your to-do list will seriously impede your productivity. And if you’re not happy with what you have, you’ll soon start to resent working from home rather than enjoying the freedom and flexibility.
What to do
Make a list of all your work must haves as well as nice to haves, things like up to date software and a speedy internet connection are likely to be a key focus. You may have made do with old software or a slower service at home when you weren’t working there, but with deadlines to work to now you won’t want to be held back. You could even find your building has speedy hyperoptic broadband available.
3) Light Setup
How often have you or someone nearby complained about the lighting in an office space? Too bright, too dim, too much glare, it can all cause problems and put a stop to productivity.
Since this is your very own work space, you get to create your ideal lighting setup along with your perfect office temperature too. This is a luxury to celebrate and get right.
What to do
From blackout blinds to desk lamps and screen protectors, there’s all sorts of accessories you can employ to work along with your light fittings to create just the right amount of light for you.
4) Sound Pollution Prevention
Most people report that they actually manage to get more work done at home compared to working in a shared workspace because there are fewer noises and distractions slowing them down. You eradicate the hum of small talk that haunts open plan office spaces and the office radio but you could inherit other noises that need to be dealt with.
Sounds from the street outside or other rooms of the house could become an hindrance if you’re not too careful, so take steps now before your audio annoyance starts to spiral.
What to do
Quality doors and glazing can make a substantial impact on the ability of sound to travel but sometimes when things get loud only earplugs or defenders will do.
5) Time Management
When you have a job with set office hours and lunchtime, your working day is partially structured for you but this doesn’t necessarily fit with your natural peaks and troughs for getting things done.
There may not be others around to distract you but there’s still the lure of the internet and the biscuit tin. And at the opposite end of the spectrum you could find that you find it difficult to end your working day when you don’t physically step in and out of the house.
What to do
Always plan what work you will complete on a weekly or daily basis and be sure to factor in suitable breaks. You may find breaking down projects into smaller tasks helpful when it comes to staying on track. The Pomodoro technique can be invaluable for putting self-regulated project planning in place.
Have you recently started to work from home? What have you found to be your biggest challenge or change that’s taken some getting used to?