Working From Home? Tips on Setting Up Your Home Office
I hope everyone is doing well and keeping cool (here in NYC there is an insane heatwave going on…but I’ll take it over a cold winter day!). It has been well over three months since a lot of my clients, friends, and family have started working from home. At first, we all thought it would be a temporary situation, but as things slowly reopen it looks like a lot of companies will start working at full capacity in the beginning of next year (hopefully sooner!).
Sometimes, working from home can be challenging. You’re in a space that has a different energy than your office environment, contact with co-workers is either by video or phone, and let’s face it - there are so many more distractions when you are working from home. For these reasons, it is important to make your home office an extension of your work office, while setting it up to be just as efficient and comfortable as your "regular" office.
Here are some home office tips for setting up (or improving your current setup):
Pick a good spot – ideally, you’ll pick a spot in your home that has good lighting (preferably natural light), is relatively quiet with the least amount of distractions, you’re comfortable in, and where you have good Wi-Fi. If you’re living in the city and space is tight, you may have to make do with the surfaces that you have such as a dining room table, kitchen counter, or a folding table.
Lighting and background – try not to strain your eyes and have good lighting. I prefer soft white light which creates a yellow hue. There are a lot of Zoom and other video calls happening constantly so it’s a good idea to be conscious of the background of your home office (especially for those of you that are set up in your apartment and do not have a designated room for your office).
Chair – if you have to invest in one thing for your home office, it should be a good chair. You are most likely working several hours and having a comfortable chair is key. In my research, for creating the best workspace, one compared having a good chair as the same as sitting in your car and adjusting your chair accordingly (with the proper adjustments, you’re able to reach the steering wheel and gas pedal comfortably). Imagine the same when you adjust your chair for your desk, monitor and keyboard. If you don’t have the space and you are using something like your dining room chair, consider purchasing a seat cushion.
Power – use the appropriate power strip, if possible, with a surge protector
Ergonomically correct office – things to consider when making your office ergonomic:
1) Monitor is at arm’s length away and the top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.
2) Wrists straight, hand at or below elbow level.
3) Adjust chair height so knees are about level with hips.
4) Supplies (pen, stapler, etc.) are at arm's reach.
5) Use a footrest if your chair is too high to rest your feet on the floor, if not available use a small stool or box with books to prop your feet.
Declutter before setting up – this is my favorite step, I love decluttering! Let go of the things you do not really need or love. Go through that pile of paperwork, file and put it away. Put the overflow of supplies in a container or box, have it handy for whenever you need to replenish. I would recommend having a minimal amount of supplies on your desk. I personally have my notebook, pen, phone and water/coffee. A clutter free space helps you become more efficient and have less distractions.
Add your personal touch – a plant, picture, something that makes you smile and makes your office space a happy place!
I hope these tips help you with your home office, whether it’s improving the one you have or creating a new space!
Stay safe and organized!