As more employers are shifting towards the concept of remote working, employees are in need of an effective and comfortable home office. Removing the clutter, finding the best location in your home, and making sure that you have proper lighting are the important aspects of setting up a home office.
Home Office Setup
The first item on your home office setup checklist should be the location of the home office. This should be followed by how to set up a home office, setting up the logistics, purchasing what you need, and following tips to manage your workflow.
Your location should be a secluded area of your home where there is plenty of natural lighting, privacy, and it is free from distractions and noises. This will help reduce health issues, increase your productivity, and eliminate headaches and eyestrain.
Your home office can be a spare bedroom, a large unused closet, a basement, or a corner in a room. Curtains, walls, and dividers are some things that can be used to help set up your home office when you are on a budget or tight on space, yet you need privacy.
How to Set Up an Ergonomic Workspace
Here is how you should set up a home office space based on industry standards and guidelines on office ergonomics. This will help prevent and/or minimize problems that can arise such as neck pain, carpal tunnel, sore joints, and back pain.
1. Organize Your Desk
Your ideal work desk should be adjustable and free from clutter underneath the desk. You should have adequate room under the desk for your knees, thighs, and feet so that your feet rest flat on the floor. The proper height of the desk according to standards and guidelines, should be “29 inches from the floor to the top of your work surface.” This is based on writing on paper.
To accommodate typing and using a keyboard and mouse using a pull-out keyboard tray is an office desk setup idea that will help you. The trays are usually 1 – 2 inches lower than the desk height.
Your office desk and workspace setup should allow you to sit up straight while having your forearms parallel to the ground without bending your wrist when typing, writing, and/or using your mouse.
2. Invest in a Comfortable Chair
The ideal chair for a home office setup should be adjustable, one that can roll features an armrest, and offers lumbar support. You want to avoid using dining room chairs or other types of chairs that do not fit the requirements for an ergonomic office chair.
Your chair should help keep your spine in a neutral and upright position while working.
3. Set Up Your Monitor Correctly
Your monitor should be placed an arm’s length away in front of you, behind your keyboard. When you are looking at the monitor the top of the screen should either be at eye level or just below it.
The ideal monitor should be an adjustable 25 to 27-inch monitor that offers a high-quality resolution to help minimize eye strain. Your monitor should be positioned to where you can avoid hunching your back and maintain leveled shoulders.
4. Make Sure You Have Proper Lighting
The lighting in your home office should consist of a mixture of artificial and natural lighting. Eye strain is the biggest issue due to a poor lighting setup. This leads to headaches and a reduction in productivity.
Task lamps and overhead lighting provide the optimal alternative to natural lighting. You need to have adequate indirect lighting to be able to see what you are doing, such as reading work papers and looking at your computer monitor without a glare.
The positioning of your lighting is important. Lamps and other types of artificial lighting should be placed away from your direct viewing area and should not reflect off your monitor. You should have access to methods of diffusing(i.e. curtains or shades) natural lighting to reduce glares on your computer screen and redirecting the light from your viewing field.
Home Office Equipment and Logistics
Your home office equipment should help with managing your workflow. You need to think about the type of work you do and what type of work you will be doing. For example, if you need to print a lot of paperwork, make copies, and/or scan or fax documents, you should invest in an all-in-one or multipurpose machine.
How will you back up your work? How will you protect your equipment in the event of a power surge? What will you do in the event of a power outage? An uninterrupted power supply (UPS), can save a lot of time, money, and headaches if your power goes out. It provides you with a source of backup energy to safeguard your electronics and reduce financial loss due to downtime.
Are you on the phone a lot? If you use the phone a lot to perform your job duties, you should look into a headset. The type of headset you use depends on the type of phone you have. If you use your cell phone a lot, then you can use wireless or wired earbuds, versus a traditional headset that plugs into your phone’s audio jack.
How does your internet connection perform? Do you use an internet connection for the majority of your work, such as connecting to your company’s database? If so, you will need a high-speed internet connection. For optimal results, you should have a setup using an Ethernet cable hardwired from your router into your computer or laptop.
Tips for Maintaining an Efficient and Productive Workflow
Here are a few tips that will help you remain efficient and productive:
- Organize your office space with filing cabinets, floating shelves, and storage bins. Make sure you put things back in their place when not in use. This will reduce the time spent looking for misplaced items.
- Use home office setup ideas that will help you personalize your office space. This includes setting up your office so that everything is easily accessible, including your filing system and regularly used office supplies.
- Organize your wires and cords so that they are out of sight and out of your way. This is another form of distraction that reduces your productivity.
- A study was conducted stating the way you keep your office reflects in your work, motivation, and productivity. Clear the clutter and stay organized to work more efficiently.
- Devise a way to track your time so that you can set boundaries when it comes to start and end times.