Over the past 12 months, working from home (or WFH, as some now call it) has gone from being specific to certain professions to being very common. With COVID-19 restrictions coming and going and workplaces being temporarily closed, people have been forced to transform spaces in their homes into functional offices. This is something most haven’t found easy – being forced to work from bed or to clear a small area on the kitchen counter where they are constantly interrupted by their family. The situations many of us have found ourselves in are far from ideal but work from home looks like it’s here to stay for a large proportion of the nation’s workforce.
Globally, several big companies like Google, Twitter and Uber are claiming that staff are just as (if not more) productive whilst working remotely, so are giving them the option to work remotely indefinitely[i]. Smaller companies appear to be following the trend. Remote work has always been a faraway certainty, but the pandemic has brought it from the future into the present.
Despite the initial difficulties of setting up laptops and investing in a chair that won’t give you chronic back pain, working from home can be great for employers and employees. It means more free time, less money spent on commuting, and more work being completed. In a survey conducted by Statista, 43% of US respondents said they want to continue working remotely after COVID-19.
However, none of this is achievable without having the right office set-up and the right motivated mindset that lends itself to working from home. In this guide, we’ll tell you exactly how to work from home with success.
Few places in the house make an ideal home office environment, but you can make anywhere work with some creativity. During lockdown, we’ve heard about people utilising the following spaces in their homes:
Setting up a functional workspace is the most critical aspect of working from home that you need to consider. It’s preferable to have a dedicated room, especially if you don’t live alone or have children, but you can easily create a space to work from if you don’t have a room spare. So, what do you need to think about when designing your workspace?
Ergonomics are key to choosing the right office furniture. To ensure your back stays in good nick, consider the following[ii]:
The correct height for your desk and chair will depend on your height. You can calculate it here.
As a bare minimum for your home office furnishings, you need a spacious table or desk and a chair. If you are working from home on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, investing in an ergonomic chair is well worth it. Sitting in a spare dining chair or stool is ok every so often, but over time your back will really start to suffer. If you don’t have space for a desk, your dining table will do the job. Just make sure you meet as many ergonomic requirements as possible.
Whether you have a full PC or a laptop, you should make sure you have an optimal tech set up to allow you to work efficiently. Unless you work for yourself, your company should supply everything you need on this front to allow you to work comfortably. If you think you need something to make remote work easier, you should request it. Some nice office extras are:
Good, adjustable lighting is essential for any working environment. As well as having effective permanent lighting fixtures, you need to consider your lighting for video conferences. Having a bright daylight lamp that you can move around will help with this.
Try to make sure you aren’t sitting facing or with your back to a window to limit eyestrain. Avoid using fluorescent bulbs instead of using daylight or full-spectrum options that are not as harsh on your eyes.
Now your office is set up, we’ll look at how you can stay motivated whilst working from home. Although many people find themselves working from home better than they would within an office, others really struggle to get their head down and produce high quality work. The trick is keeping yourself motivated, and here’s how you can do just that:
Whether or not you are comfortable with the idea of remote working, there will be times where it’ll become stressful and overwhelming. Just remember that anything is possible with the right motivation and mindset, and you should never be afraid to ask your workplace for additional help or support should you need it.
blitzresults.com, n.d. Ergonomic Office: Calculate optimal height of Desk, Chair / Standing Desk. [Online] Available at: https://www.blitzresults.com/en/ergonomic/ [Accessed March 2021].
Hadden, J., 2021. 17 Major Companies That Have Announced Employees Can Work Remotely Long Term. [Online] Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/354872 [Accessed March 2021].
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