Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit remote working was becoming the norm rather than the exception. The benefits for both employer and employee are numerous. Able to strike a better balance between work and life, remote workers report feeling less stressed and more productive. With computer and mobile technology more user-friendly and affordable than ever, and cloud storage and video conferencing apps being reliable and easy to use, telecommuting has become an efficient method of working. But setting up a home office can be a challenge, especially if you are new to remote work. Many people don’t have the perfect space in the home to set up their office, but there are ways to upgrade, even in a busy domestic environment. Let’s look at some ways to maximise your at-home productivity.
Get a comfortable chair
One of the worst things about working at a desk is the physical effects of sitting in an uncomfortable or ergonomically unsound chair. Backaches, neck aches, even stomach aches can be caused by an iffy seat. There have been countless studies into the effects of parking your posterior on the wrong chair. Those with ergonomic chairs report less backache and increased productivity.
Get a versatile desk
Just as a good chair can help you when working from home, a desk is equally important. Sitting for extended periods of time is linked to – amongst other things – obesity, which can lead to heart problems or diabetes. There are plenty of desks on the market that switch between sitting and standing mode – standing up is good for your posture, your muscles, your back and even helps your digestion. Needless to say, your productivity gets a boost as well.
Although the trend these days is towards paperless offices, the reality is that we still need to print off many documents. There is a range of great home office printing solutions available which are compact without sacrificing quality. Finding the right model for your needs depends upon how you use the printer – there are workhorse models for heavy use, as well as those that give high-quality color prints. Many printers also feature scanning and faxing features to help maximize your productivity while saving space.
Many of us listen to music while we work. While it relaxes the mind and aids productivity, music that is ambient or features repetitive rhythms can help you focus. Plus office probably isn’t the place to enjoy your thrash metal collection! Today, high-quality speakers are more affordable than ever, and most contemporary models are compact and have Bluetooth connectivity. The lack of clutter is also conducive to productive work.
No matter what kind of work you do, you’ll probably have been frustrated by having to flick between different programs or having a cluttered screen. An external monitor makes it easy to cross-reference between spreadsheets, databases, emails and messaging tools, meaningless aggravation, and vastly increased productivity. Monitors can be found to suit any budget and go from the fairly basic to the ultra-high definition.
Office lighting plays a critical role in our productivity. Of course, natural light is best, if you are blessed with large windows. But if not, variable temperature lights can help boost productivity or aid relaxation. A stylish desk lamp is essential, and depending on your job you may need additional task lighting to help you throughout the day. But mood lighting is also important in an office – traditional workplace lighting can feel a bit austere. Smart technology is also affordable and means you can change the office lighting with your voice.
Talking of smart technology, incorporating it into your overall setup can streamline your workload and boost productivity. Being able to place a fully hands-free call via a voice-activated smart assistant, setting alarms and reminders, changing the music, or simply checking the time keeps your work flowing and doesn’t disturb your rhythm.
Layout and decor
Many remote workers don’t have the perfect space in the home to set up an office. Often, the smallest room in the house is assigned for working, so it’s important to maximize this space. Keeping it neat, tidy, and uncluttered but also foster wellbeing. Storage solutions are available which can really streamline your space, and well-designed furniture (such as desks that fit into corners) also help keep things neat and boost your productivity. Placing your desk somewhere which gets natural light helps, and a view can also be helpful to clear your mind between tasks. Decor is a very personal thing, but it is usually best to keep ornaments, posters and photographs simple and minimal so as not to distract the eye. Plants have been shown to boost mental wellbeing, encourage creativity and relax the mind.
You may be one of the many millions of people worldwide joining the remote workforce. Use these tips to help design the ideal office for productivity.