By 2025, a staggering 36 million Americans will be working remotely. Currently, after nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, over 40% of the American workforce is working remotely full time. Working from home is no longer just a novel idea, but the problem is that the makeshift home offices most people have created can’t work for the long term.
Apart from having the right equipment, setting up a home office for remote work is vital if you want to be productive. Your productivity will flourish when you’re working in a healthy environment with minimal distractions. Working remotely comes with a unique set of challenges that could be anything from cramped spaces, kids, pets, noisy neighbors, and the like.
For this reason, setting up a home office for remote work may be one of the best things you do for yourself as it’ll help you mitigate most of these issues. The question is, how do you set up a home office? In this post, we have compiled some home office ideas from the experts on how to set up a home office seamlessly.
1. Go Ergonomic
If there’s one thing you should not overlook when setting up a home office for remote work, it’s your health. It’s very tempting for you to pick the closest chair you can find and use it for your home office, but this is unrecommended. It’s imperative for you to protect your neck, shoulders, back, wrists, and eyes.
When your workplace is not ergonomically designed, you are putting more strain on your body the longer you work, and you’ll be setting yourself up for long term physical injuries and complications. Hunching over your laptop continuously, for instance, can lead to multiple physical ailments such as fatigue, chronic headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, and digestive issues.
Invest in an ergonomic desk and chair for your home office and observe ergonomic working habits. These include elevating your screen to improve your posture and keeping your back straight. Consider investing in a standing desk so you can periodically change from sitting to standing if you work for long periods.
2. Use Proper Lighting
You may not know this, but natural lighting from the sun can increase your productivity and creativity because it will give you energy. It’s highly commended that you consider setting up a home office close to a source of natural light like a window. If it’s impossible for you to set up your home office anywhere that you will receive sunlight, consider getting a seasonal affective disorder lightbox.
3. Choose the Right Location
One of the most important things about your home office is the setup location. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this because people are different. It’s imperative that you consider the traffic frow of the area, the number of distractions you could encounter, and whether you have the ability to withstand them and still remain productive.
Some people thrive in ultimate quiet and private spaces while others like a little background noise to stay productive. These considerations will help you make the right choice in terms of the best home office location in your home. If you’re bound to receive clients at one point or the other, setting up a home office for remote work in a private section of the house would be preferable.
4. Go for Function and Not Form
Your home office setup should be functional enough to serve you. This means that it’s advisable to consider what you need for your workflow before choosing your office furniture. If there are drawers, they should be helpful but not hinder you from working or being comfortable.
Look for furniture that compliments the room and don’t go for the “soulless cubicle” as if you were in a depressing office. Maximize the space you have, no matter how large or small it is.
If you live in an apartment or a small home and live with multiple people, setting up a home office for remote work in an entire room can be impossible. In this case, you can use screens and barriers to separate your working space and give privacy to others living with you.
In small spaces, look for dual furniture for your home office so you can repurpose them for other uses once you’re done. This will help you avoid cramming too much furniture in one place, and still help you maintain other functions in the house.
5. Get All the Essentials
When setting up a home office for remote work, you need to ensure that you have all the essentials for your kind of work. Apart from a comfortable desk and chair, you may also need a laptop or a desktop computer, headphones, a desk lamp, writing implements, and a wastebasket close by.
Depending on your type of work, you may also need a printer paper clips, a shredder, sticky notes, a filing cabinet, (or drawers), coasters for your drinks, and a footrest as well.
Now that you plan to work from home for a prolonged period, it may be suitable to get a desktop computer from a good company, such as Lenovo, instead of a laptop. You can also have both for those times you need to check your emails or complete other tasks away from your desk.
6. Own Your Space
Your home office should be one of the most important rooms in your home because this is where you may spend most of your days. It doesn’t need to be as dull as the traditional office in the workplace (as most are), so own it and personalize it to your appeal. Feel free to play around with furniture arrangements, colors, lighting, and anything else that will help you love it.
One essential thing to keep in mind is that it helps to establish boundaries. Don’t let your work become your life and life become work even though all of it is happening in the same house. Even if you’re in the same space with your family, avoid mixing work time with please, and pleasure during work time.
When it comes to colors, if possible, repaint your work area and give it a new life. You see, colors affect our energy, focus, and productivity. Different colors have a different psychological effect on people, like blue and green giving a soothing environment.
Bright colors such as yellow, red, and orange foster innovation and creates energy, so use these colors to complement your space if you currently have neutral colors like white or grey.
7. Get High-Speed Internet
When setting up a home office for remote work, understand that having high-speed internet can be a lifesaver. While working from home, it’s a given that you’ll need to attend video calls and online meetings with your co-workers or your team, and this can use more bandwidth than you get for your home use. High-speed internet will help be a part of these meetings and conferences without buffering or getting unwanted interruptions due to poor video and audio.
8. Add Plants to Your Space
Having greenery in your working space can create a relaxing working environment for you, and boost your indoor air quality. Having plants in your home means you can get rid of harmful toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.
For quality indoor air, plants like spider plants, Chinese evergreens, and dwarf date plants are recommended. You may also consider getting an air purifier because indoor air is usually more toxic than outdoor air.
9. Get a Virtual Office Address
If you’re running your own business at home, having a virtual office address will communicate professionalism to your clients. Virtual addresses are addresses at shared business locations, such as co-working spaces, and they come with mail forwarding, so you won’t need to go there for your mail. For a fee, you may also find that the shared office offers receptionists and dedicated phone numbers.
10. Apply for Home Officer Tax Deduction
While working from home, you may be tempted to mix your business and home expenses, but this will give you a hard time when it comes to taxes. You need to deduct office expenses, such as writing supplies or [printer. If you use as much as 15% of your home as a working area, you need to deduct other expenses like utilities, bills, and even insurance.
To organize all these matters if you don’t have a secretary, get small business accounting software. While you’re at it, open a separate business checking account. Separating personal and business expenses is one of the smartest moves you could make.
Setting Up a Home Office for Remote Work: What You Need to Know
Working from home sounds like an appealing idea for most people until they try it and realize they can’t be productive. However, with the right setup, the right visual decor, lighting, and equipment, you can maintain, or even boost your productivity. As you can see, setting up a home office for remote work doesn’t need to be complicated.
Now that you know how to set up a home office, check out the rest of our blog for more tips on business and technology.