Home Office Dos and Don'ts
Working from home has been an adjustment for many remote workers kept away from the office. Whether the adjustment has been beneficial, by no longer having to commute to work every day, or more challenging than expected by having to deal with many distractions at home, working from home is expected to continue in some capacity for quite some time.
According to PwC's latest survey on remote work, over 50% of employees would prefer to work remotely at least three times a week. With some 83% of employers saying that shifting to remote work has been a success, the likelihood increases that even when offices worldwide reopen fully, the future of work will be hybrid.
Many companies are still trying to determine the optimal balance of time in the office and at home. Regardless, employees will need a productive work environment while at home, starting with their home office. We spoke to remote employees to determine some of the do's and don'ts when setting up a home office.
Home Office Dos
For many remote workers, the opportunity to work from home might mean not having to roll out of bed to get started on the day's tasks. It might mean being able to sleep a bit longer and stay in a comfortable place.
While it can be tempting to work from bed or wherever else you want in your house, it is still beneficial to have a specific space dedicated as a home office. Having a home office can improve the ability to get in the zone and focus on the task at hand. So what do you need to remember when setting up this designated workspace?
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Plan Your Space
The first step in setting up an office is to plan the space you'll use for your office. While you might be tempted to start with buying that new desk and chair you saw discounted online, be sure about exactly where you plan on putting everything first. "If you're ill-prepared, you might neglect something crucial like the location of your outlets or whether your desk is going to fit. This could lead to significant delays, leaving you behind on your deadlines and working in unsatisfactory conditions," said David Marshall, founder of Irvine, Calif-based Perormio.
Curate Your Environment
While you might not necessarily have a spare room you can turn into a home office, it's still important to curate your work environment. According to Danny Markstein, founder of Birmingham, Ala.-based Markstein, you should "create a semi-private workspace where you can focus and engage in video calls while you avoid encroaching on others in your home."
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Video calls occur almost daily for many employees working from home, so you should also invest in high speed internet to reduce disruptions caused by weak signals. Also, find ways to reduce noise from distractions while conducting video calls.
Focus on Ergonomics
It might be tempting to get any furniture when setting up your home office. However, it would be best if you focused on a setup that helps you maintain good posture. While it may be tempting just to place your laptop on your kitchen table and get working, this can affect your back over time. It's also a good idea to invest in a suitable keyboard to prevent any wrist damage.
Home Office Don'ts
Don't Work From the Couch
It can be tempting to work from your couch while watching Netflix in the background, but this can create the wrong type of environment for work and can even impact how well you're able to relax when you're finished working.
"Your concentration is a lot more liable to dip in such environments, which hurts your productivity and output. It's always best to work in a designated workspace and relax in a designated relaxation space. That way, you'll never have to force yourself into the correct mindset," said Marshall.
Don't Neglect Your Health
Finally, even though the purpose of a home office is to get work done, it can be tempting to work longer hours since you no longer have a commute. However, Thanh Hoang, head of marketing at London-based Savincom, said you should be wary of isolating yourself when working from home. He suggests regularly catching up with your team at a set schedule during the morning and try to avoid sitting down for extended periods.
"As your home office might be much less ergonomic than your workstation in the office, try to have small breaks, go get some water, do some movements to keep your body active and healthy," he said.