Working from home initially looked like a temporary arrangement for many of us, but it has become something more permanent. The pandemic didn’t really cause this monumental shift, but it simply sped up the process. As we prepare for the new era of hybrid work, we should all be ready to embrace more of a permanent work from home setting.
While some like myself are accustomed to working from home (I have done it over the last 15 years), for many it’s been a challenge adjusting to working from home over the long term. However, with so many businesses opening up permanent remote work opportunities, and many more putting in plans for a hybrid arrangement, it’s worth setting yourself as well as possible for long-term working from home.
Here are three important pieces of advice I’ve learned over my 15 years in a home office setup, and what I advise you to take seriously.
Getting a comfortable home office chair is important, but it’s not the only thing you’ll need. In order to be the most productive possible, you need to think about the ergonomics of your workspace.
It was not that long ago that I went to my chiropractor to help with the pain in my neck and shoulders. I never thought that the way I had my keyboard and monitor set up was the cause. Since this visit I have made some changes that have helped dramatically. These include:
- Positioning my screen monitor at eye level to ensure my head is not looking up and down throughout the day
- Getting a chair that supports my back and allows for a 90-degree arm angle when typing
- Investing in an adjustable stand-up desk for the times when standing will help with circulation
These are the few adjustments I have made and they ensure that my office setup is better optimised for my physical needs.
Create quiet space
One of the biggest challenges that many face when establishing their work-from-home office is finding a quiet space. Ideally, if you have a spare room, you can turn that into an office space and make it your own. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of a spare room, but that does not mean you cannot find a quiet space where you can focus.
Investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones and downloading the white noise application on your smartphone can create a space of quiet which will allow you to focus despite what may be going on around you. I have adopted this practice when I have needed it (travelling, visiting family, etc.) and it works quite well.
Additionally, consider purchasing an application like Krisp, which eliminates background noise on your devices. This will make your calls and video conferences that much more productive and will eliminate the need to continually toggle the mute button.
Outfit your office
Using a window for a whiteboard or a spare chair from storage is okay if you are only planning on working remotely for a short period of time, but given that many of us will be in this for the long haul, employers and employees alike need to be thinking about what is needed for maximum productivity and quality. Below are a list of things I believe every employee should have to optimise their home office environment:
- High-speed internet: make sure you can support your video calls
- An ergonomic chair and desk setup (see above)
- A headset for video and conference calls
- A whiteboard: not a necessity but I use mine far more than what I would have thought
- A reliable video conferencing platform: and of course your best option here is RingCentral Video!
- A printer: yes, I know the majority of things are done via email and electronically, but you will be surprised how much you will still need to go to a good old fashioned printer.
These are all things I have invested in. If you’re a business owner or executive, put budget towards equipping your team with these items and any other that you deem as essential to helping them get the most out of their work.
Many who I talk to long for getting back to normal. What they have failed to realise is that the only normal that we can truly count on is change. The majority of you reading this will be anticipating a change from fully remote to a hybrid arrangement, where working from home will remain a large part of your weekly routine. This is going to be quite normal for a long period of time, so make yourself as comfortable with it as you can.