How to Work from Home and Setup Your Home Office

Home Office work space set up
Photo credit: Tim Young

In our fight to socially distance, keep ourselves safe and take care of our vulnerable members of society, working from home has become the norm. The effects of Covid-19 have been far-reaching, we still need to maintain some modicum of normality, well, a new normality that is. Our homes have become schools, offices, restaurants, movie theatres and more. Unlike entertainment, however, our livelihoods depend on drawing an income and this has proven to be the biggest challenge for many. We have a bunch of useful tips and tricks though, which are sure to get you on track to your new normal. With your new home office, you might even find you prefer working from home.

The Best Place for Your Workspace

Finding the right spot to set up your workspace is the first and most important step. If you’ve got a home office, spare room or secluded nook, you’re fortunate. If you don’t, however, all is not lost. Most home workers will be setting up their workstations in dining rooms, lounges and even in their kitchens or garages.

The most pressing factor in setting up your workspace is isolation and separation from the general goings-on within your home. If you can’t physically separate yourself from your family, you need to devise a system to let them know when they cannot disturb you. Whether you schedule time when you are available, close doors, put headphones or even switch on a particular lamp in the room, this is one important step in aiding your productivity. Of course, it’s not quite as simple with children, but you could try to schedule your ‘do not disturb time’ around their nap times, online classes or screen time.

Setting up Your Desk

Home office Ergonomics showing eye to screen positioning

Comfort is essential. Your desk, chair and computer placement will all affect whether you are able to knuckle down or if you will go to bed in agony with back pain. Ideally, you want to invest in an ergonomic chair and a work desk but if you are unable to, you will have to keep reminding yourself to sit up straight and keep your equipment in the most comfortable positions.

Space Saving in Your Home Office

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It’s likely that you don’t have as much space as you might like so your best bet is to keep your desk as neat and sparse as possible. Consider your most important equipment and tools. The best desk arrangement is organised so that everything you use is at an arms reach. Your mouse, screen, laptop pen and notebook should all fit into this little area.

Make it Your Own

Stylish Home Office in Lounge furniture for focused work
Photo credit: David Woolley

It’s hard to deny the fact that humans find comfort in aesthetics. When your little work spot is aesthetically pleasing it has a psychological impact on your wellbeing. It’s easier to get comfortable and use the space for it’s intended purpose. While its best to avoid sensory overload, you do want to decorate the space with art and plants. Other aspects which will really ensure your comfort are natural light, the right room temperature and the kind of music which will help you concentrate.

Ensuring Productivity

Once the initial excitement has died down and your workspace is packed with furniture for focussed work, it’s time to get back on schedule and keep the workflow going. Before you get overwhelmed by juggling, remember you’re not a clown and it’s no use having too many balls in the air at once. Set up a work schedule so that you don’t fall off the wagon and lose your focus. It’s easier to fall off the work-train when you’re not in an environment solely dedicated to working.

Video Call Software

Our sound cards and webcams have become the unsung heroes of lockdown life. Whether you’re having meetings, check-ins, lunchtime chats or after work quiz nights, this is the best way to get through lockdown loneliness. The best software to use is dependant on your teams operating systems and existing hardware, lately however, it seems Zoom has taken the lead. Of course there are a bunch of others to choose from.

Destroy Your Distractions

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Easily the single biggest distraction if you don’t have kids, is social media. It’s a universe of news, jokes, conspiracy theories (stay away from those) and social interaction. It eases the most pressing need – unadulterated procrastination. But, it comes at a price. It swallows not only your time but also your energy and ability to concentrate. The best way to deal with follies of social square eyes is by limiting your screen time, and you have to be strict. It will pay off though.

Work/Life Balance

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While some may struggle to sit down, others easily get far too comfortable and struggle to get up. Working from home can lead to a plethora of new health concerns and these can be drawn directly from the blurring line between your work/life balance. If you’re one to get in the zone and disappear for hours on end, be sure to set an hourly reminder to stand up, take a break. Drink some water and get a small snack.

If you struggle to focus, in the same way you schedule your work, schedule the chores, as well relaxation and exercise. If you struggle to focus exercise can be extremely helpful. There are an infinite amount of free and paid resources to help you bend, stretch pull up, push up and squat. Expelling excess energy helps to focus your mind.

The Don’ts

Stay in your jim-jams all day! Pyjamas are a wonderful thing, but they are unlikely to get you into the right frame of mind to be productive.

Snack too much or snack exclusively on junk food. We all need a treat now and then, but healthy snacks during the day will help you concentrate and prevent post-lunch sluggishness.

Some days will be busier than others, but don’t let that wreck your routine. When things are busy, don’t skip lunch. When things are slow, make sure you get up on time, double-check your schedule, check-in with your colleagues and reply to your emails.

In the end, working productively from home is easier said than done. When you’re struggling a little, remember to give yourself a break. Take a breath, stretch your legs and make a cup of tea, this isn’t easy for everyone but you’ll make it through.

For furniture advice don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are open and ready to help!