1. Dedicated WorkspaceThis may be challenging if you have limited space in your home or young children who are used to being able to play everywhere in the house. However, if you are planning to fulfil the requirements of a full-time job, you’re going to need to claim an area for your remote office.
Lucky workers may already have an “office” space in their house that simply needs a tidy up, while others may need to utilise one end of the dining table or the spare bedroom. Try to create as much distance from everyday living as possible, to avoid distraction and blurring the lines between working hours and relaxation.
Also try to look after your body, with an ergonomic set-up that supports your back. There are simple tests you can do to check the appropriate height of your chair and screen, and the positioning of your keyboard. Adjustable chairs will make this easier, but if you don’t have one in your home already, you can also create DIY footrests or add height to chairs with cushions.
Lighting is also important, as poor lighting can lead to eye strain and headaches. Position yourself under an existing ceiling light, or use a lamp over your desk so you can clearly see your workspace.
2. Hardware and Other EquipmentNow that you have your desk sorted, you need to furnish it with the essential equipment in delivering your role. Your workplace may have already provided you with a laptop and mobile phone, but also think about any extras you might need.
Review your current office setup and make a note of all the equipment you use regularly. We’re talking about things like multiple monitors if you deal with large amounts of data or if you work across two screens, or perhaps a handsfree headset if you work on the phone a lot. Even small pieces of equipment like a particular type of mouse or keyboard might make a difference when you’re a week into working from home.
Since you’re now unable to go out and purchase these things, it may take a bit of creativity to get what you need. Could you borrow a spare monitor from someone in your household, or take turns sharing a headset with your partner? By looking at what’s already available to you at home and thinking outside the box, you can make working from home during the lockdown as easy and comfortable as possible.
3. High-Speed Internet AccessThis is a no-brainer and a home office essential for delivering any kind of office-based role remotely. Not only will it enable you to access software and systems at a faster pace, but it will also support interactions like video and teleconferencing without dropping out or delays.
Assess your current internet connection and consider upgrading if you think you’ll need increased bandwidth – you’ll need to contact your internet provider if they can do this during the lockdown. If it isn’t possible, perhaps you could switch to a mobile hotspot or ask your housemates to refrain from heavy internet usage during work hours.
4. Software Relevant to your RoleIf you haven’t taken a company laptop home with you, consider what software you need to deliver your work, whether it is Office 365 or the Adobe suite. Software such as Dropbox or WeTransfer will be helpful for sharing large documents with colleagues if you are not working on a shared drive.
Your organisation may also be investing in communication platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, or project management tools such as Trello or Teamwork during this period of remote working, as well as video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype and GoToMeeting. Ensure you have the most appropriate version downloaded and that you are linked up to your colleagues and projects.
SummaryAlthough the current situation is complex, you can still adjust your way of working and continue to succeed. We hope this checklist of things every home office should have will help create a sustainable, productive environment for the foreseeable future.
If you’re taking this time to think about your next career move, get in touch with our team of recruitment specialists and we can set up a call or video conference.