Working from home is the new normal for many people. There is no doubt that striking that balance between work and home life can be challenging. But while you try to navigate between Zoom meetings and household chores, we’ve put together a guide with essential tips to consider when setting up a home office to get the best out of your day.
PRIORITISE YOUR COMFORT
Sitting at a desk for long hours without proper support for your back and neck is a fast track to posture problems. And while it is tempting to just grab a chair from the dining area, office chairs are designed to support you’re sitting for long hours.
Working at home also 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.
The positioning of your monitor/laptop plays an important role too. Some tips to ensure your screen is in the perfect spot include making sure your spine is always in a neutral position, the top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level, at least 50cm from your eyes.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CONNECTION
A good internet connection is essential to work from home. But sometimes the Wi-fi connection is weak in certain rooms. Before designating your workspace, try connecting your computer to the Internet and find the best connection.
But if your workspace is fixed to an area of your home with a weak connection, connecting via an ethernet cable (available in various lengths at any computer store) is a good alternative.
Unfortunately, sometimes internet issues are out of our control. Some connections are affected by the weather, roadworks, and constrictions or scheduled maintenance. A tip to stay connected during those Wi-fi downtimes is to have a data modem for emergencies. These work as Wi-fi hotspots and use network data on a sim card instead of ADSL or Fibre infrastructure.
LIGHTING DOES MATTER
Set up your home office so it has plenty of light. Natural light improved productivity and alertness, and can also impact your physical and mental well-being.
Ideally, you should 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 that are not in your direct field of view or reflecting off your monitor. Natural light is good but shade it with curtains so it doesn’t create glare.
It is also important to make sure your monitor’s brightness is not too dim or too bright, both of which can cause eyestrain. A good tip 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.
CREATE THE RIGHT SETTING
It is often difficult to separate your personal space from your workspace when working from home but creating a defined workspace helps focus your mind. Try and recreate the same setting you’re familiar with at the office whether that’s a desk full of notes and knick-knacks or an organised space.
With the virtual space now becoming meeting rooms. you’ll want to check what your clients and colleagues will see when making video calls. Keep your background professional and work area appropriate. Also, some remote workers find that dressing in work clothes keeps them focused on work items.
CLOCK IN AND OUT
Keeping to a routine makes for a productive day and easier adaptation to working from home. If work requires you to be logged for a specific work schedule, stick to those hours.
Remember to take breaks and step away from the computer. Take those fifteen minutes you usually walk to coffee shop to do something else to take your mind off your current to-do list, so you can return to your work refreshed.
It is easy to forget about time when working from home. These brief mental rest periods break up the workday and can improve your focus. Have some way in place to track time in your office, whether it’s a clock on the wall or the alarm on your phone. Tracking time encourages you to break up your workday effectively and helps maintain regular work hours and a healthy work-life balance.