Setting Up to Work From Home
Like it or not, most of us have been thrown into the work-from-home world. That means quickly crafting a space that minimizes distractions and enhances your productivity. A tall order given that your spouse may also be working from home. Not to mention finding space for distance-learning kids.
How do you create the optimal office for you and your family? Here are some tips:
Don’t Try to Share
Many, if not most newer homes are equipped with studies, so it’s natural to think of setting up a home office there. However, unless you are planning to create an office time share schedule, one study won’t work for an entire family. Designate multiple areas of your home for office space.
Different Space for Different Needs
How do you determine who gets what? The person in the family that needs the most privacy should take over the study. That includes anyone who will be spending most of their time teleconferencing as no one needs to see your 3-year-old’s head popping up on the video feed. As for everyone else, built-in planning centers and homework centers make great mini offices. Even a kitchen island, a folding table set up in the game room or a bed tray with a laptop can work.
Your Bed is Not an Office
Okay, we just said that a bed tray could work but it’s not optimal and best left to the kids. You need a place where you have easy access to office equipment, files and your phone. (You can still come to work in your pajamas if you want).
Make a List
Before you set up, make a list of everything you think you will need. At minimum this should include a desk, computer, printer and telephone. Don’t forget shelves and file cabinets.
Get the Right Equipment
A fast internet connection is a must. Today’s new homes are built to handle fast internet speeds and minimize drop zones. In addition, you may need to order a comfortable chair and invest in an actual monitor, keyboard and mouse. The right equipment also includes things like house plants, pictures and anything else that helps you feel centered.
Embrace the Light
No one should work in the dark. It’s bad for your eyes and it’s depressing. Position your desk near windows and bask in the natural light. If you keep evening hours, invest in table lamps with nice, bright bulbs.
Quiet But Not Too Quiet
Not everyone needs total silence to work. Play music to keep yourself on track. If others in your home do need quiet, be respectful and use headphones.
Stock Up on Supplies
Where do you plan to keep pens, pencils, note pads and computer paper? Not sure? That’s not good. The last thing you want to be doing is rummaging in the junk drawer for a pen that may or may not have ink in it. If your office has a closet keep your supplies there. If not, invest in a credenza with lots of storage space.
What Are Your Office Hours?
Sure, working from home lets you be flexible but to ensure you are at your most productive, it helps to set up office hours. That goes for everyone at home as well as your co-workers. Establishing office hours can minimize distractions such as drop-in visits from young family members.