Remote Work for the Long Term: Set Up Your Workspace for Success
Remote Work for the Long Term: Set Up Your Workspace for Success
June 4, 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the U.S., many employers changed their business policies to allow employees to work from home to follow social distancing guidelines. At first, a simple desk or work setup at home could suffice, but now, we are looking at longer-term remote work or a permanent shift to remote work for some sectors.
Whether you choose to work full time from your living or dining room, a den or nook, want to turn a second bedroom into a home office, or you already have an office area to use, there are many ways to set up your space for success so that you can work efficiently and effectively, right from the comfort of your own home.
Creating Your Office Space
First things first: Decide where in your home you will be working. You don’t necessarily need a huge room; many remote workers can find success in a small area, with everything they need within an arm’s reach. Size is not an issue as long as you have created a space that suits your needs and helps you stay focused.
Not only is the area you select for your home office an important factor, but so is the office furniture you decide to use. You may need to buy new furniture or swap out old furniture to make it feel more like a work area and less like home.
Is the dining room going to be your workspace? If so, you might want to consider replacing one of your dining room chairs with a new desk chair and putting a chair mat underneath it so that it does not damage your floors. You might also want to consider getting a standing desk converter or desk riser to place on your dining room table if you will be using the table instead of an actual desk.
If you are setting up to work in your living room, a small desk could work well, as it doesn’t take up too much space. In some cases, a smaller desk can even be moved near the couch if that’s where you’re more comfortable sitting to work.
Couches and desk chairs are comfortable and traditional, but there are other options to consider. Ball chairs can be helpful if you are looking for a more active form of seating. Ball chairs can also add an element of modern and fun design to your home office. Choose one in a vibrant color like bubble gum pink or sour apple green, and it can instantly brighten the room and, hopefully, your mood along with it.
Your office chair has a large impact on your workday. If you aren’t comfortable, there’s a chance you may not be as productive. There are different factors to consider when choosing the perfect office chair, such as height and adjustability, upholstery, style, and color.
Getting a Work-From-Home Stipend? Here are Some Tips
Many employers are giving their employees a stipend. Usually, these allowances are meant to go toward home office needs, such as computers and other electronics, desks, chairs, lighting, storage, a faster Wi-Fi connection or an additional phone line, and any other office tools needed to improve your productivity.
With this additional income, those with work-from-home (WFH) jobs can recreate scenarios in their homes that are much like they were used to in the office. Companies want their employees to feel comfortable and still be as productive as possible, despite completely changing their working conditions.
Aside from the essentials, think about using this stipend to purchase things that can elevate your remote workspace even further. Perhaps the type of work you do requires you to have a larger computer screen. 24-inch computer monitors are great for video conferencing with co-workers and clients, ensuring that your Zoom or Skype sessions are crystal clear. Using a monitor can also help you extend your laptop or desktop, which can help you multitask and get more done.
Another great computer accessory to have is a wireless keyboard. Wireless keyboards can help with productivity, as typing on the laptop keyboard is not always the easiest. The ability to move it anywhere on the desk allows it to be placed in the most ergonomic and comfortable location. They can easily be used with your desktop computer and any mobile device, like a laptop or tablet.
Purchasing a wireless mouse can also help minimize the clutter in your desk area and allows for a larger range of motion. With a wireless mouse, you don’t necessarily need to be sitting at your computer or laptop to use it. This is especially beneficial if you are someone who often gives virtual presentations to your colleagues or clients while working from your home office. If you might need to click through your presentation slides while standing away from your computer, a wireless mouse provides you the freedom to do so.
It might also be wise to invest in a faster internet connection. Whether you work full or part time from your home, you don’t want your work and productivity to be slowed down by slower internet speed. If the Wi-Fi connection is poor where you’ve set up a home office in your house, consider a Wi-Fi extender to help boost the connection around your home.
Achieving a Work-Life Balance While Working From Home
Now that you’ve decided on a home workspace and have your office furniture and supplies set, your new home office should allow for a productive workday. The goal is to have a space that feels comfortable, suits your needs, and allows you to separate work life from home life, as working from home full time can often cause the line between the two to blur.
Here are a few simple tips that can help you achieve the work-life balance that will lead you to WFH success:
Determine and stick to your working hours: This may look different for everyone — some may follow the traditional 9-to-5 schedule, while others may have a more flexible arrangement that allows them to begin and end work as needed. Whatever the case might be for your particular situation, it’s important to have a start and end time for your WFH job to keep yourself on track. At the end of the day, leave your work in your office. Turn off the computer, put files and documents away, and know that everything will be in place when you return the next morning.
Take a break: Step away from your desk and computer at some point in the day to have a cup of coffee, go for a walk, or sit down for lunch with a family member. Having a routine each day, including a break or two, can help you adjust to the new normal of a remote job.
Get dressed before starting your workday: One of the benefits of a WFH job is that you don’t have to take the time to get dressed. Pajamas and comfortable athleisure have the potential to become your new work wardrobe. Wear whatever suits your situation, but getting dressed each morning helps establish that work-life separation. You don’t necessarily need to put on a suit and tie or a blouse and heels, but changing out of your pajamas (even if it’s into new pajamas) can certainly affect your mood and productivity throughout the day.
Have the right tools: Think of all the equipment that was accessible to you at work whenever you needed it — things that were already set in place, such as Wi-Fi, internet bandwidth, various software, printers, access to secure files, and other technical requirements. Try to have everything you once had in that work environment readily available in your new home office.
Take care of yourself: Set a timer to get out of your chair a few times throughout the day and walk around the room or get in a good stretch. You might also consider taking a break from staring at a computer screen. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends making a conscious effort to blink regularly to keep your eyes from drying out, following the “20-20-20” rule of shifting your eyes every 20 minutes to something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, using computer glasses to help decrease eye strain, or reducing the glare on your computer with a matte screen filter.
WFH jobs are here to stay for the foreseeable future, and with that comes the need for a reliable place to complete remote work. With the right home workspace, you should have no problem tackling every task that comes your way.
About the Author
Shaina Wizov is a lifestyle blogger and social media influencer with a background in journalism and media studies.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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