Set Up A Home Office for More Productive Work Weeks
Working from home was less common before the pandemic. Many companies were reluctant to give their employees that much freedom when managing their tasks and schedules. They were afraid that productivity would dip, company operations would suffer, and employee loyalty would be affected.
Back then, the only employers who allowed remote work were those looking for freelancers or operating in multiple time zones.
However, when the pandemic began a couple of years ago and sent everyone locked down in their homes, employers realized they had been avoiding a gem all along.
As far as employee loyalty is concerned, they found out that more employees were grateful that they could keep their jobs and work safely from their homes with their loved ones.
There are many other benefits in allowing employees to work from home as far as business finances are concerned. For one, overhead costs, which include operations, office rent, equipment, and energy consumption, were significantly reduced.
Even for small businesses that allow their employees to work from home alternately, a significant decline in expenses has been observed.
Why is a Home Office Necessary?
If your employer recently announced that the company would allow employees to work from home, then the first thing that should be on your checklist is to choose a place in your house that can serve as your home office.
Setting up a home office helps to boost productivity. Having a designated place for you to work allows you to “get in the zone” and focus while in that particular area.
Similar to how employees perceive the office as a place where productivity should take place, you will also see your home office as the area where you need to switch from home to work mode.
Boosting productivity is easily attainable in the company office. When everyone starts to work, the natural tendency of any employee is to work and do their assigned tasks, as well.
However, the same could not be said if you work from home. The only person who can motivate you to work is yourself, and that would be next to impossible if your workspace is the dining table where the food is, the living room where the TV is, or the bedroom where the bed is.
Separation of Home and Work Life
For many years, work-life balance advocates have been pushing for remote work because it allows employees to enjoy life with the people they work so hard for.
In addition, working from home also means no more long train and bus lines, no more commuting, and no more traffic. Working from home allows them to save hundreds of hours of travel time to and from the office.
However, that work-life balance begins to tip when the remote employee mixes their professional life with his personal. That could mean working in front of the television or while playing with the children.
You would know there is something wrong with this balance when you cannot decide when to start working and when to spend time with your loved ones.
This is where having an office home setup is most valuable. It gives the employee a unique space where all they need to do is work.
Guidelines in Selecting a Home Office
Now that you know how important it is to have a separate office at home, you must consider a few guidelines when setting one up.
1. Choose a Good Space
Pick a location in your house where you have enough room. An ideal place is a separate room where you can work silently without getting distracted.
In addition, the area should be well ventilated and has good indoor air quality. If your home does not have any separate rooms, you can set an office up in your living room or the dining area.
2. Invest in Ergonomic Furniture
Just like in an office, you will need furniture to help get you started on your home office. The two most essential pieces of furniture any work-from-home employee should get are the table and chair.
The tabletop height should be near your abdomen so you can rest your elbows on the table when typing or using the mouse. The chair should be adjustable and has great lumbar support to reduce back pain. Consider purchasing a small filing cabinet to hold all the important documents and reports related to your work.
3. Get Good Lighting
Looking at the monitor of your desktop, Macbook, or iPad for long periods can cause eye strain if the area does not have good lighting. It would be best if your space is well illuminated, with natural light that you can easily adjust using the blinds or curtains.
However, if that is not possible, you may just get a desk lamp with adjustable settings. Make sure that your eyes are not staring too closely at the screen. Investing in UV protection glasses is also an option.
4. Double Check Internet Connection
Your Internet connection is your link to your workspace, and without it, you may not be able to focus on your assigned tasks or even complete them in the first place.
Some companies also require their remote employees to log in to their portal, while others monitor activity through a program. Either of these will not work if your connection is acting up. That is why early into planning your work-from-home setup, make sure to get a fast and reliable internet connection right away.
5. Check Your Posture
One of the drawbacks of working from home is that employees do not feel the need to stand up from their seats anymore. They can continue working from 9 to 5 without ever leaving their seats except for bathroom breaks. This in itself is not a problem.
The problem begins when they fail to maintain the proper posture, which can eventually lead to back problems. Make it a habit to stand up and walk with the proper posture once every couple of hours to prevent future back pains.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Telecommuting
The idea of working from home may excite some people who have seen depictions of it as working while doing something relaxing such as eating, watching Netflix, or lying down.
Unfortunately, these depictions are not only impractical but also contrary to how telecommuting work should really be done.
Eating, Sleeping, or Relaxing in Your Home Office
You must prepare your mind and body that the moment you take a seat in front of your desk, you have officially switched to “work mode.” You can bring coffee to keep your mind working during the morning, but aside from that, do not eat on your office desk.
In addition, it isn’t a great idea if your office has a nearby sofa or bed because it will only make you want to lie down and laze around.
Placing Objects or Devices that May Distract You
If your home office has a TV, take it out right away. Never start working with the TV beside you waiting to be turned on. Unlike in the office where your supervisor or boss could remind everyone to stop slacking off, no one would tell you it is time to stop watching when you are in your home.
Taking Your Work Outside of the Office
Some employees tend to do their tasks even outside their home office. This should not be the case. Taking your work outside is like taking your work home from the office.
It will make you want to continue working even if it’s past working hours. If you make this a habit, you will find it challenging to find that healthy work-life balance.
Working Beyond Office Hours
Speaking of working beyond office hours, when working remotely, it is highly tempting that you would put off work you can do right away, thinking you have all the time to do it.
Again, this destroys the work-life balance. Soon enough, you would feel burnout, and your stress levels would be at a much higher level because of procrastination.
Make the Most Out of Remote Work this Pandemic
Working from home could be a very rewarding opportunity for the right person. If that employee has initiative, can work well with less or no supervision, and has the discipline to separate work and life tasks at home, then they will surely succeed as a remote employee.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely paved the way to make remote work a viable option for employees. This crisis has also become an eye-opener of the benefits of telecommuting both for the employer and employee. However, its true efficiency lies in the employee who knows how to separate their work from personal life.
If you are having trouble separating the two, and you haven’t chosen or set up a home office yet, then it’s time to start, especially since it seems that this practice is here to stay even after the pandemic is over. You will definitely be surprised how such a simple task can help you become a better work-from-home employee.
About the Author!
Johnny Ching is the owner of Direct Marketplace — an online furniture store providing the finest quality and budget-friendly products since 2010. He maintains excellent client relationships and ensures that customers have the best possible experience. When not working, Johnny likes to spend his time with his family strolling along the beach of Southern California.