Picture this: you’ve been working from home since the start of the pandemic. You may think you have it all figured out, but there may be a few things you’ve overlooked. While working from home may seem like a great thing to do, there are a few things to make it easier on yourself, and possibly safer.
Whether it be better securing your home, purchasing ergonomic furniture, or upgrading your home and home office in general, these are just a few of the things you can do to make your work-from-home experience better.
Secure Home Network
Securing your home network is critical when working from home, especially if you have a high-security position such as a government or cybersecurity job.
The first step to securing your home network is to change the default name of your home network and the password.
Changing the default name and password makes the Service Set Identifier (SSID) unique to your home network and more difficult to guess from a hacker’s standpoint.
When changing these defaults, it’s important to not use any personal information such as birthdays, names, etc.
Creating a guest network with a different password than your main home network is also important. This will limit the number of people who have access to your home network credentials which in turn decreases the risk of hacking.
If you have a job with a high-security clearance, like one might find working for the government or a financial institution, you might want to consider updating your network’s firewall.
A firewall is important because it can block unwanted traffic into your home network. It can also alert you when someone is trying to get into it so you can deny a potentially dangerous connection.
Functional Work Desk
Different people have different styles and workflows. Choosing a desk that works with your specific style and workflow is critical for working efficiently.
Functional work desks could include standard rectangular desks, L-shaped desks, standing desks, or even automatic desks that raise from a sitting desk to a standing desk with a press of a button.
If you’re in a position where you have multiple monitors, you might need an L-shaped desk to offer yourself more room.
Or maybe you’re a person who can’t stay still and need to change between sitting and standing often, then an automatic desk would be best for you! Other features that you might look for in a desk are USB ports, additional outlets, or a wire basket to hide all of your wires!
Did you know that more than 80% of computer users complain about lower back pain? Practicing correct ergonomic posture while working has many benefits.
According to BostonTec, some benefits include improved health, better mental focus, increased productivity, decreased back pain, and increased work quality.
Ergonomic furniture can make practicing correct posture much easier. Having an ergonomic office chair can offer a flexible working arrangement that allows you to move around easier.
A flexible working arrangement is important because it allows you to move freely resulting in higher productivity, better teamwork, and more.
You can also focus on your work versus distractions from any discomfort you’re experiencing. Typical office chairs force your body to sit in awkward positions resulting in poor posture and poor health.
There’s a lot more to ergonomic desks than just “sit-to-stand” desks. When picking a desk, it’s important to pick one that has enough room for your legs underneath.
Most standard-sized desks are around 30 inches from the floor, which should be enough for the average person. When placing the desk in your room or office, there should be a minimum of three-and-a-half feet in between the desk and other furniture in the room.
It may also be a good idea to look for desks with a keyboard pull-out to ensure your keyboard is at a comfortable height. Placing a keyboard too high could result in long-term discomfort or muscle strain.
Lastly, if the desk has a sharp edge versus a rounded edge, you may want to place a wrist pad along the edge to prevent any pinching on the wrist.
Smart Assistants & Technology
Smart assistants are a new up-and-coming trend that many homeowners are investing in, and can be very helpful when working from home.
These are devices that you can command to complete tasks such as turning your lights or music on/off, setting reminders or alarms, and much more. Some of the most popular brands are Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.
Using a smart assistant, like Alexa, isn’t just for turning on the electronics in your house. They can be very useful for offices for joining meetings, scheduling calendar events, or letting meeting hosts know if you’re running behind.
You can also listen to your emails, order supplies for the office, manage your to-do lists, and listen to your calendar for the day.
In addition to smart assistants, there are other forms of smart technology. Smart technology includes security systems, video surveillance, smart plugs, appliances, and much more.
Smart security systems and video surveillance can be extremely useful for your home office to ensure only the right people can gain access. They also give you the ability to see your office from anywhere on your smartphone.
If you’re a business owner, securing your home office with a security system and/or video surveillance is critical. Utilizing smart technology in every aspect of your home workspace will give you people of mind that your data and office are secured.
Creating a green, or eco-friendly, office is important now more than ever. It might sound difficult, but there are a few easy things you can do to create an eco-friendly office.
First, try to discourage printing and keep things digital! This is easy to achieve when you use platforms like Google Drive.
Sharing documents with coworkers can be much easier when using the same platform, plus there’s no need to distribute physical copies!
Working from home allows you to reduce waste by using reusable cups instead of disposable ones that are typically found in an office.
Not to mention, the amount of paper you use is significantly smaller when working from home compared to if you were in the office.
Another way to be environmentally friendly is to decrease the need to travel to an office space and hold virtual meetings instead, when applicable.
Holding online meetings via platforms such as Zoom or Google Meets is an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions into the environment from your employees.
Lastly, consider plugging your devices, such as printers, copiers, TVs, etc., into timed power strips. Keeping devices “on” at all times can drain energy and increase your electric bill.
Having these devices on a timed power strip or a smart plug where you can shut them off easily can save you some money on your energy bill and be more environmentally friendly.
There are also power strips that have sensors to shut the strip off when it doesn’t detect devices powered on.
Upgrading your home office appliances, such as your computer monitor, can make a large difference in your productivity.
If you’re working from a small monitor and have lots of tabs open, purchasing a larger monitor might be beneficial to you.
For example, if you are into a graphic design or marketing position, an Apple iMac might be the best option for you.
Apple iPads are a great resource for offices and business owners for multiple purposes.
For starters, if you’re a person who creates checklists to stay on track or closely follows a schedule, try using a digital checklist on your iPad! Digital checklists are also extremely convenient for traveling and workers on the go.
It’s no lie that upgrading your office appliances can be expensive. If your company does not provide a stipend to help create your perfect at-home workspace, then that money will have to come out of your own pocket.
There are a few ways you can upgrade your home office with ease. If you are a homeowner, utilizing a home equity loan will allow you to make those upgrades to your home workspace and you may have funds left over to complete any other projects you have at home.
Creating the right office environment might be one of the most important things to do. If you have a messy office with clutter everywhere, are you really going to be productive?
This is also a great time to establish your brand if you’re a business owner. This could include hanging your logo or business name, inspirational quotes, or framing business milestones such as your first dollar, best-selling product, customer reviews, or anything of that nature.
It might also be important to remove any distractions from your office such as TVs, radio, personal computers or books, or anything else that might distract you from being productive.
Another way to increase your productivity is to set alarms for 20 or so minutes for certain tasks.
For example, if you’re working on a project that requires a lot of mental stimulation, setting an alarm for 20 minutes can allow you enough time to focus on the project while also offering a break from that project after the allotted time you gave yourself.
Creating a home office takes time and effort to determine what works best for you and your workflow. Being able to pinpoint what you need and how to achieve it will help you and your business thrive.