COVID-19 pandemic has made ‘Working-from-Home’ an unplanned requirement for many office and knowledge workers.
Even as the coronavirus crisis eventually recedes, many employers will have discovered that they don’t need large office buildings, and many employees will have discovered that they don’t need to be in the office every day or spend hours commuting.
In fact companies like Twitter and Square announced in May that all their employees will have the option to work from home forever. While there are many benefits that come with working from home like reduced commute times, lower pollution levels, reduced operational costs, and increased morale….a permanent work from home business model sounds like the ultimate win-win-win-win for any business,
Well, not so fast. There’s a world of difference between making something work temporarily because you have to and choosing it as your permanent environment. Many people have set up makeshift home offices for the pandemic that won’t work well for the long term.
Ideally, if you are looking for a long-term home office you should separate space in your home that is properly outfitted for work. Here are a few tips you can follow to create an effective, safe workspace for the long term.
Lighting is often an area people don’t think about. Ideally, you have sufficient indirect light to illuminate your workspace, so you can easily read papers and see physical objects. Overhead lighting is usually best, such as from a ceiling lamp.
Indirect lighting means lights, not in your direct field of view or reflecting off your monitor. For example, an outside window behind or to the side of your desk can create glare on your monitor screen when the sun is shining.
Natural light is quite pleasant but diffuse it with shades or curtains, so it doesn’t create glare. To achieve great lighting avoid, placing a lamp right next to a monitor, where you end up with competing light sources and possible glare.
You may need lamps for additional lighting, but if possible, place them in a way that they don’t create glare on the monitor screen. Likewise, make sure your monitor’s brightness is not too dim or too bright, both of which can cause eyestrain.
A rule of thumb is that the monitor’s lighting intensity should be just a little brighter than your ambient lighting and that ambient lighting should be sufficient to read paper documents without additional light.
The bandwidth within your home matters too. The best connections are wired Ethernet ones, so if possible, connect your computer to your router via an Ethernet cable; that’s especially important if you do video or other bandwidth-intensive work. Wi-Fi is fine for basic office work, so if you can’t wire your computer to your router, use Wi-Fi.
In both cases, be sure to have modern equipment supporting at least 100Mbps for wired connections
Ideally, your office should be in a quiet area that allows you some privacy. This is especially important if you share the house. You might find that a spare room with a door can reduce noise from the rest of the house if you’ll be on the phone frequently. It could make sense to choose a room near the front entrance of the house if you’ll be meeting with clients in your home office. You might need a dedicated studio that’s separate from the rest of your home if you need space to spread out the design or tech equipment.
Working at home means spending a lot of time at your desk. So, you want to invest in a desk that fits your budget, your workflow, and your space. And, you want a desk that contributes to your productivity by helping you stay comfortable all day.
Consider getting a standing desk instead of a traditional “fixed” desk. With an ergonomic height adjustable desk, you can sit when you feel like it and stretch your legs when you need to by bringing your desk to standing height.
Be sure to also get a chair with adjustable height, that can roll, that provides support for the lower back, and ideally has adjustable seat pan tilt, arm height, and lateral arm position. An armrest is preferable, but only if you use it correctly: That means your forearm should rest very lightly on the armrest; there should be no pressure from your arm onto the armrest.
Most of us are always carrying around various devices. Smartphone, laptop, tablet, smartwatch…the list can go on. While we’re living such connected lives, we must make sure all our devices have the battery power to survive the workday. That’s where charging accessories come in — these heroes have multiple ports and quick-charge capabilities to accommodate devices of all stripes. After all, nothing slows your productivity down more abruptly than a dead laptop.
To Set up your home office, you might need to use a small room in your house that can hold a desk and your computer equipment. If you still don’t have a spare space, don’t worry you can always convert a guest room into a dual-purpose space: an office most of the time and a guest room when people visit. If you can’t get a dedicated space you can separate from the rest of your life, try to find a niche space you can use that is out of the rest of the household’s way.
Apart from working from the home office, you might also opt to work from a coworking office or even if you travel for work you cannot bring your home office, but you can improve the workspace so you can work more effectively and safely with your laptop.
The portable-office setup also can work well when you are working in a temporary home space, such as your kitchen table — especially if you can also add a larger monitor to the mix. It also works if you can’t get a large monitor and must use your laptop screen in your home office.
Here is a few equipments you might need for your set up:
Be sure to find one that is not too thick when folded, so it fits in your luggage. When you’re at a hotel desk or at someone’s office, you usually can’t choose your desk, table, or chair.
You likely won’t get an external monitor. But you can adjust the height of your laptop screen with a foldable monitor stand. You may also need to use books or something else to augment that stand, depending on the table or desk height and the type of chair you have.
To make this setup work, you’ll need a travel keyboard and mouse, of course. Thin ones fit better in a suitcase. Just remember that if your input devices are wireless, you must remove their batteries before placing them in checked luggage for a flight. If your devices’ batteries aren’t removable, you need to pack them in your carry-on luggage.
Also, carry a small bag of adapters when you travel. They include video adapters, so you can plug into pretty much any monitor or conferencing display. Also, carry USB-C-to-USB 2.0 adapters in case you need to use a thumb drive, someone else’s keyboard and mouse, or some other unexpected external device during my visit. If you travel overseas, also don’t forget to carry your multi-country power adapter that includes two USB ports so I can charge my phone and tablet from the same plug