Need some ideas to set up your home office? Now that you’re forced to work from home, chances are you sit in one of two categories; you’re loving the newfound sense of freedom and flexibility, or, you’re bored out of your mind and missing the office camaraderie. Either way, there’s no denying that your home office should work for you and help you be as productive as possible. Sitting on the sofa with your laptop in one hand and phone in the other may have worked for the first few weeks, but it’s time to upgrade your workspace to make it sustainable long term.
Even though social distancing laws might change in the near future, many companies have made a permanent shift in how they operate. Optus have been among the first to announce that its call centre staff will continue to work from home permanently, even after the lock-down is lifted. Others may go back to normal some of the time, while still allowing flexible working arrangements where possible. No matter what your work unique situation looks like, there’s never been a better time to optimise your home office.
These are our best tips to create a functional workspace in your home, no matter how big your house or your budget.
Choose the right desk
Let’s start at the very beginning; the desk. It’s a crucial part of the puzzle and the first building block to your at-home setup. This crucial bit of furniture should be the first decision you make. Choosing your desk comes down to two things; budget and space. The size of your study will determine how large your desk should be. If you have the space, don’t be afraid to go for a large desk with room for extra storage and shelves. If your budget allows, choose an ergonomic desk that allows you to stand as well as sit.
If you’re in a small apartment or you share a home with flatmates, you may have less space to work with. If this is the case, opt for a versatile home office space. Choose a desk that can be folded up or repurposed when you are not using it.
Upgrade your tech game
Does your current tech set up support your new work from the home situation? A small laptop is great for working on the go but, for most workers, it’s no good in the long term. Not only does it mean your neck is constantly craning down, but it’s also not doing any favours to your productivity levels. Now that you’ve got a fancy new desk, make the most of the space by adding one or two screens. This will make all of the difference in letting you work with ease.
In the past, you may have been used to having a desk phone, which may not be possible now. Your personal mobile may be great for checking Instagram and Facebook, but it probably only distracts you when you’re at home trying to work. Get yourself a designated work phone without any social media/games apps that only take your mind away from work. This will also help you create more work-life balance at home but leaving your work phone (switched off) at your desk when you finish.
Consider the light
There might be a corner of your home that is not being used and, therefore, seemingly makes for a perfect work station. However, if this corner gets little-to-no light, you may want to rethink this option. Natural light is hugely important in helping you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Instead, choose a space by a window or under a skylight so that you can get those rays all day long. Alternatively, consider a portable situation that you can easily transport outside on a nice day.
Make it comfortable
Worryingly, the average desk worker will spend almost 1,700 hours a year sitting in front of a computer screen. If you have to spend at least eight hours a day working, you might as well be comfortable. When it comes to an office chair, opt for comfort over appearance, as this is what will make all the difference down the line when it comes to your spine health. Whether you’re working from your designated home office or making do on the dining table, the right chair will make or break your setup.
When choosing the best office chair for your home office, consider lumbar support (otherwise known as support for the lower spine) so that your spine doesn’t curve after long periods of sitting. You’ll also want to make sure that the armrest, backrest and height are all adjustable to suit your individual needs.
Build a designated office space
If you think you don’t have space in your home for an office, a house extension may be the perfect solution. Did you know that, in many houses, up to 30% of the total floor area is the unused space beneath the roof? With an attic conversion, that unused space could be transformed into the home office of your dreams. If you own your home, it’s easier than you think to convert your attic into a designated study. You have full control over the design of your new space, plus you won’t even feel like you’re at home. Once it’s done, you may never want to go back into your old office again!
Spruce it up
Now that you’ve created your space, it’s time to add your own flair. Fill it with indoor plants to humanise your space and cleanse the air. Add a sound system so that you can play some ambient beats in the background while you work. Choose a statement rug or bring in some colours with wall art like Kourtney Kardashian. Your brand new home office is a blank canvas that you are free to create as you see fit, no matter what your colleagues think!
Have you started setting up your home office yet? What features are most important to you?