There are many benefits to working from home—businesses save money on office space, employees don’t have to commute, and for some people, productivity is at an all-time high. To make working from home successful for you, start with your work area. As you consider the logistics of setting up your home office, consider what will be most comfortable for you and what will help you focus best.
Read on to see which essentials you should include in your workspace to help with productivity while still feeling at home.
Start with your internet connection
A secure internet connection is essential for a couple reasons: it keeps your meetings and workflow running without a glitch and keeps unauthorized people from interfering with your connection.
As you set up your home office, consider a virtual private network (VPN). For many companies, investing in a VPN is critical to maintaining work from home cybersecurity. VPNs protect your sensitive data and make you less vulnerable to hackers.
Your internet connection should be strong as well as secure. How far away is your internet box from your home office? If you live in an apartment complex, will you have to compete with your neighbors for a strong connection?
To check your internet speed, start with a few speed tests. Once you know what you’re working with, you can decide if you need to reposition your router, upgrade it, or work around data caps (some internet providers offer no data caps, while others cap data usage around 40 GB).
Choose your workspace location wisely
Before you set up your workspace, you’ll need to decide where in your home you want it. Do you need a separate office to unplug from your roommates, pets, or kids? Or, will the empty desk in your den work just fine?
If you can, aim to tuck yourself away from the mayhem of the rest of the house. If you live alone, still consider setting up your area away from the kitchen, living room, or any other room that could potentially distract you.
Where you set up shop depends on who you live with, how prone you are to distractions, and a myriad of other factors. In general, though, it’s best to pick a home workspace that has offers the following:
- Lots of natural light
- Distance from others
- Space for monitors, desk and chair, and storage
- Soundproof doors or walls
As you decide where to set up your home workplace, consider how often you’ll take video calls or have visitors over. Is your workspace soundproof enough or will your work calls be drowned out by kids playing or the dog barking?
Evaluate and assess before you go shopping
Once you determine where to set up your new office, assess the room’s floor plan. Detail the number of windows, electrical outlets, lights, cable outlets, Wi-Fi router boxes, and more.
Doing this will help you better plan on which equipment or furniture works for the room—and it’ll help you best position your workspace.
For instance, if you know your electrical outlet is on the left side of the room and not the right, position your desk towards that wall and avoid a running loop of electric cords around your feet.
Once you’ve evaluated what you need, make sure you have the the following home office essentials:
- Wireless mouse
- Keyboard pad cushion
- Extension cord
- Surge protector
- Trash can
- Writing materials
Make your workspace productive—and homey
Treat your home workspace as you would an in-office desk. Avoid clutter, keep it as clean as possible, and make sure it’s to your liking (after all, you’ll be the one working in it!).
Once you get all your workspace essentials set up, consider other things that will elevate your workspace and make it more comfortable for you—posters, greenery, lamps, and snack jars are great ideas to start.
If your home workspace is a little dull, spruce it up with some plants or bulletin boards. If your current workspace area doesn’t have enough light, bring some lamps or light fixtures in. If you’re not a fan of a standard desk chair, invest in a standing desk, balance ball, or ergonomic ball stool.
Find a work from home routine—and stick to it
Once you’ve designed a home workspace, it’s important to create a routine for yourself so you can be productive when you work from home. Establish a morning routine and get ready for each day, take breaks throughout the day, and check in with your colleagues often to stay connected with your team.
Working from home can be distracting, but it also offers the chance to have uninterrupted time to get into your groove. Once you’ve nailed down your workspace area and daily routine, you’ll be able to work as—if not more—efficiently as in the office.
By Bruna Ostheimer