In our last article, we spoke about how to figure out if a Work-From-Home style of work is for you. If you have decided that it is something you think would be a good fit, then this article covers the next step: setting up. If you look at the few hundred ‘how to work-from-home’ articles that popped up at the beginning of the pandemic, you will notice that a lot of articles are filled with product placement instead of real advice.
Creating an effective work-from-home space does not have a single solution. Instead, it changes with every individual in every situation. Because of this, we have taken the time to break down the four core necessities of a work-from-home office.
Separating your work space from your living space is incredibly important, hence why we are addressing it first. To encourage focus and organization, a separated space should be one with barriers between you and distractions. Distractions include kids, chores, housemates, television, and even pets. While there will always be exceptions to this rule, such as emergencies or breaks, the barrier is there to help and should be held up as best as possible.
If you live in a more open space where creating barriers can be difficult, look into rearranging the room to make an artificial space. Create a place where you look away from the distractions in your house and keep your work in front of you, giving you minimal reason to turn around. Windows offer great natural light and work as a way to separate yourself mentally from your location by giving you something to look forward to, literally.
Separating the space in your house is about more than just efficiency in your work. It also encourages a healthy relationship between your work and your non-work lives. By creating a clear separation in location, you also create a clear mental separation, so when your work day is done, it becomes easier to walk fully away from work and not re-engage until the next work day.
While it seems obvious to call for dependable internet in a work-from-home situation, it is a guideline not often followed. Dependable internet refers to more than buying the most expensive plan on fiber optic cables. Instead, you should take the time to learn how to best utilize your internet for your work-from-home needs. To ensure that you are set up to use your internet plan as efficiently as possible, follow the checklist below:
- Make sure your router is updated
- Use an Ethernet cord
- Disconnect unnecessary devices
- Check your bandwidth regularly to clear out any auto-updating devices or applications that are slowing you down
- Check for WIFI congestion- this can be hard to get around in urban areas, but it could help you find other in-house devices that are causing a slow-down.
There are expert guides and tips all over the internet that are worth checking out, but for the needs to day-to-day office work, this should keep a modern computer running fast and dependable.
We are all guilty of analyzing background on video calls. Whether it is a personal or professional call, there is always fun in learning more about those you talk to through their backgrounds. Because of this, you want to make sure that your background is appropriate to the situation, clean, and lacking distractions when you video conference.
There are three methods to ensuring that virtual visitors only see what they should. On one end, you can stick with a real background by either angling the camera to face a clear wall or clearing the area behind you, so all distractions are hidden or removed entirely.
On the other end of the spectrum is the fake virtual background. Many video calling companies offer free virtual backgrounds and even more are available online. That being said, it can have an unprofessional air to it, so take time to think about what the situation might call for.
A good medium is the fake backdrop. This method uses a sheet that one hangs from the ceiling or walls to create a, preferably, monochrome clean background. This is a great middle between the other two solutions, as it keeps you from having to disrupt how your room is normally situated, but still keeps a professional look, despite being a false background.
The optimal workspace does not mean an uncomfortable workspace! Your workplace should be a balance of comfort: not so comfortable that you fall asleep but not so uncomfortable that you are distracted from your work.
Stay away from couches and beds when doing work. While tempting in terms of comfort, they almost certainly guarantee a midday nap. Additionally, avoid stools or stiff chairs for the exact opposite reason. It becomes hard to focus when you are desperately hoping for a backrub instead.
Take time to find a chair with good back support that fits well with the height of your workstation. You should be able to plant your feet on the ground while still having back support. You do not want to walk away from your station constantly sore and unhappy, so set yourself up right!
This guide is meant to give you the core values of how to set up your work-from-home office. If you have useful tips and tricks, share them below! If you are looking for a new opportunity, working either from the office or from home, then check out our job board and apply to our listings! If you are looking for something different but do not see anything that interests you, send us your resume and we can connect you with a recruiter who can help!