Working from home has been a dream for many, and a reality for few for quite some time now and the sentiment has been steadily gaining both traction and popularity in recent years. This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic forced the hands of corporations around the world, and now what was once a dream is the reality for the majority of office workers despite the change not coming in the best circumstances. Since there is currently no end in sight to the pandemic, we thought we would provide some information regarding what you need for an effective home office setup.
Furniture is essential to an efficient and comfortable work life, while you are able to suffer through a few days or weeks of work on things like the kitchen table, for long term solutions you need to consider more practical furniture for both your productivity and your health.
Regardless of what your job entails, a home office without a desk is not much of a home office. While the specific measurements and details of your desk will vary greatly depending on what exactly it is that you do for a living, having a good desk is essential to being able to continue doing your job effectively. For example, if your job involves perusing over physical documents, then you will need to accommodate more space than if you simply needed to use a computer. Another example is that if you deal with sensitive information, a desk that has locking drawers is a must.
Ergonomic chairs can be expensive, and the higher cost, unfortunately, dissuades many people from purchasing them. However, if you spend extended periods of time at your desk working, an ergonomic chair is vital if nothing else then for your own physical health. Cheap and poorly made chairs can result in neck and back issues along with a plethora of other problems, all of which can be permanently detrimental to your health if you are not careful. Invest in your own health and get a high quality, ergonomic chair.
Finally, while this last point does not exactly count as furniture, it is just as important as the desk and chair themselves. To prevent eye strain that can lead to headaches, it is always a good idea to have a lamp of some sort on your desk for when you need to work late at night in low light conditions. You may also need things like filing cabinets that, once again, will depend on what you do for a living, but it is important to consider them nonetheless.
If you are working from home then you likely already have a laptop, computer, and if necessary, a printer, but there are also some other factors you will need to think about when making the switch to work from home.
Video Conferencing Hardware
With many human interactions now taking place online, you will need to be ready for the inevitable video conference call you will attend whether it be to speak to a client or to meet up with your co-workers. Your laptop or computer may already have a built-in microphone and camera, and while a built-in webcam should be fine, we highly recommend that you purchase an external microphone along with a good pair of headphones. The external microphone will prevent background noise from being picked up, and the headphones will prevent any sound from your computer being fed back into your mic for anyone you are connected with to hear.
You will hopefully already have any software you need to continue to do your job and it has likely already been provided by the company you work for. We also recommend that you download an application for virtual meetings and video conference calls, the most popular options being Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. Zoom is particularly useful because it allows you to make use of virtual backgrounds and services like Hello Backgrounds have a leading virtual background for video meetings. These virtual backgrounds allow you to maintain a professional appearance despite the fact that you may be in an unprofessional setting such as an untidy room, but they can also be used to add a little humor to your meeting depending on what you choose.
Good Internet Connection
When working from home, the single most important thing you need aside from a computer itself is a good internet connection. Your connection is how you connect to the outside world so it is vital that you can handle video conference calls as well as being able to download and upload documents and information as needed.
Working from a small laptop screen is fine for a while, but before long you will want to invest in a higher quality and larger monitor. For most jobs that do not involve image manipulation, a mid-level monitor is a great choice and they are not too costly. Additionally, if you are running low on desk space, monitors can be wall-mounted to free up that little bit more.
Lastly, in virtually any job you need to store data and while physical storage is important, we recommend a cloud-based storage solution that you can access from anywhere. This means that even if you head out to a coffee shop or overseas, you can still continue your work without having to carry around hard drives that can be cumbersome and can be potentially stolen.
Finally, we have to consider the overall ambiance of your workspace. This may seem unnecessary, but it is actually essential for maintaining your mental health because a dark and dreary workspace can quickly take its toll. To prevent this try to pick a spot to work in that has access to natural light and somewhere you can see outside, if that’s not possible consider buying some plants or artwork to liven the place up and keep you feeling good throughout the lockdown.