Setting up your home office; what you should know
We’ve all seen work-from-home promos that portray some person sitting on their couch, looking very relaxed and comfy, probably having a snack or drink…while working. The truth is, its all propaganda. Working from home can be very fun and flexible but way more structured than such promos make it look.
Why do I need a work space at home?
Sure, you get to work in your pajamas, you have the luxury of working from any part of your home, you can eat or have a drink all you want but all these don’t happen everyday…unless your game plan is to get fired or ruin your business.
You see, its easy for friends and family to perceive your remote working as nothing serious. Extra responsibilities and errands thus get heaped on you since ‘you are always at home’. The earlier you make them realize that you have work to do, the better and nothing establishes this better than having a structure; a work schedule and dedicated work space / spot.
Start by carving out a dedicated work space
Yes, your journey begins with having a spot to call your work domain. If working randomly around your home works for you then – by all means – go for it. Its however a good idea to have a spot which not only helps you detach from distractions but lets family and friends know you’re working (and probably busy) just by seeing you there…boundaries.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy space, just somewhere you’re comfortable in, can get some privacy and work done.
Tips for setting up a good Tech. work space
I’m Tech. oriented so my advice might need a little tweaking to fit a non-Tech occupation.
1. Your work chair is half the work
I can’t emphasize this enough. Aside from a bad sitting posture, an uncomfortable chair can leave you stressed with chest and back aches before good work is put in. It only gets worse workday after workday.
You don’t have to get an expensive ergonomic chair, just something very comfortable and you’ll be very glad you did.
2. Ensure you have good ventilation
If you’re concerned about the polluted air outdoors then you should be even more concerned about the one indoors. Pollutants build up very quickly indoors and there’s little to clean them up; indoor plants can’t even keep up. A good ventilation (preferably cross) ensures effective indoor-outdoor air exchange.
3. Install lighting that works for you
Its important to work in a well lit space but feel free to vary the brightness and color combination of your lighting to something you’re very comfortable with. If you’ll be staring at your monitor for long hours in a dark space, some ambient light is a good idea to minimize eye strain.
4. Invest generously in power (renewable energy)
Power, internet and your gadget are the three pillars of your remote work. I’m not a fan of generators. They’re not only noisy pollutants but drive up your cost of operation especially if you live in Nigeria (like me) where frequent and lengthy power cuts are as normal as sunshine.
I’m an advocate of inverters and power stations not only because they’re cheaper and more reliable on the long run but also because you can wake up in the wee-hours to work and have power without disturbing the neighbors with your noisy and fumy power-generating set.
5. Keep your space clutter free and attractive
You don’t need more space, you need a better arrangement. Clutter is not only distracting but could negatively impact your productivity. Go wireless where you can, pack wires neatly where possible and only keep actively-in-use tools / items on your desktop.
If horizontal space is limited, look into vertical arrangements and designs to maximize your space. A painting, indoor plant or soft ambient light can give your work space a nice touch at little cost.
With work spaces, expensive is not necessarily better. Neat and comfortable trumps expensive but clumsy any day. Office branded items like mugs, pens, T-shirts, jotters etc. could also give your home work space a nice touch and keep you motivated.