Working from home sounds like a dream come true for a lot of people. However, once you actually start working at home, you’ll start to realise that it takes more than just a computer and a desk to create a proper workspace. If you don’t optimise your home office, you may start to get distracted, feel some sort of back pain, and be less productive overall.
Because of the pandemic, more and more people will begin to work from home for an extended period of time. As such, it’s important that we all have a workspace at home that’s conducive to productivity and proper musculoskeletal health (i.e., good posture and reduced muscle strains).
In this blog, we’re going to help you create the ideal home office. We’ll go through everything from internet cabling to the importance of a good office chair.
Get high-speed internet
First things first, you need a good internet connection. With NBN plans, you should be able to get internet service with at least 50mbps, which is the recommended download speed for those who want to work from home. Anything lower than this might make your working life significantly harder than it needs to be. Indeed, computer and internet rage are very real. Heightened emotions can affect your stress levels and overall productivity. So, if you can, do yourself a favour and make your internet experience as smooth as possible.
Another thing to consider is your cabling. To get the best connection possible, it’s recommended that you connect your computer directly to your router via an ethernet cable. This is especially important if you take a lot of video calls during work or other activities that require high-speed internet.
If you need assistance with optimising your cabling structure at home, we recommend that you hire cabling installation specialists to help you out. Not only will they ensure that you have the best connection possible, but they’ll also make sure that your cabling system doesn’t pose a safety hazard in your home.
Have your screen at the right height
Slightly tilting your head down to see your computer screen might seem trivial in the short term. However, if you spend hours and hours bending your neck to see what you’re typing, you’re eventually going to start feeling pain.
Because of this, you need to make sure that your screen is set up so that it sits level with your eyes while you’re in a proper sitting position. Distance is also important. You don’t want to have your screen too close or too far. A good rule of thumb is to have your monitor an arm’s length away from your eyes.
If your monitor’s height can’t be adjusted, see if you can find a thick book or an empty (but sturdy) box to place your monitor on top of. If you have a laptop, consider investing in a ventilated stand. We don’t recommend using a simple box for your laptop as it can block the vents and cause your computer to overheat.
Make sure you’re comfortable
Your chair is an important part of your workspace. For most people, it’s where they’ll spend most of their time while at work. As such, you need to make sure that your chair is as comfortable as possible. The key things to consider are the backrest, the armrests, the cushioning and the height of the chair.
Most office chairs will likely not provide you with enough cushioning for your lower back. Because of this, it’s a good idea to place an extra cushion on your lower back while you’re sitting down. This supports the lumbar section of your spine and ensures that your back doesn’t ache after a few hours.
The height of your mouse and keyboard is also important. Everything should be within reach from your standard sitting position. Your arms should also be able to rest comfortably on your desk. If you find that the edge of your table is digging into your wrists, see if you can get a desk edge cushion.
Separate your work area from your leisure time area
Setting a boundary between work and home is extremely important for your mental health. If you don’t set healthy boundaries, your work life will eventually affect your personal life. You’ll start thinking about work during dinner time, and you might even find yourself working well past working hours.
With this mind, you should aim to keep your home office separate from the rest of your home. As tempting as it may be, try not to convert your bedroom into your workspace. Your bedroom will only distract you from what needs to be done. On the other hand, if you work in your bedroom, you’re going to find it hard not to check emails after five o’clock.
It’s important that your work does not follow you after working hours. If you’re not able to set up healthy boundaries, you’ll likely stress yourself out, or worse, work yourself towards a burn out.
A good way to separate work from home is to use an unused guest room as a home office. If you have a sizable shed (with proper lighting and heating of course), you can even set up your workspace there.
Get a second monitor
When you’re working on your computer, you’ll probably have a lot of windows open. Chances are you’ll have web browsers, Word documents, spreadsheets, instant messaging programs and digital sticky notes all running at the same time. If you only have one monitor, you’re going to have a hard time squeezing everything in. With a cramped screen, you’ll likely be doing a lot of minimising and closing of windows. This can make your workflow a lot more annoying than it needs to be.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to invest in a second monitor. A secondary screen will allow you to keep certain windows open for easy reference. This could be a world clock, a calendar, a checklist or simply another webpage. Having this simple convenience can make a world of difference to how you work.
There you have it, simple ways to improve your home office. Implement these tips and you’ll likely notice a difference in your productivity, your physical health and even your mood.