As more and more teams shift to remote or flexible work from home (WFH) to combat the spread of COVID-19, we are all adjusting to a different way of working. And as I type this, my child has entered my makeshift office space about 14 times, so I’m feeling the pressure to get my groove on. But having a decent working space can do wonders for productivity and motivation.
In many cases, WFH means fewer distractions, less commute stress, less noise, more personal space, and — most importantly — more dog pats. Win!
Here are our tips on how to best set up your home office or study space.
1. Choose workspace according to your needs
We’ve all seen the Zoom calls where people have their dirty dishes in the background or family walk past. When choosing a place for your home office, think about how you’re going to use it. Will you make conference calls? Do you need to keep kids or pets away from your workspace? If you’re like me and relegated to the shed, make sure you’ve swept away those spider webs before starting your conference call, or it can get a little humorous.
2. Get natural light
The first rule of building a comfortable space is to get plenty of natural light.
Why natural light? It feels better, you’ll see better and if you’re exposed to it during the day you’ll sleep better at night. So, make sure to position your desk and chair in a well-lit room.
3. Install F.lux on all computers
F.lux is a free download that warms up your computer display at night, to match your indoor lighting.
At normal brightness, a computer screen has a dominant blue light component (i.e. “cold light”). This is the same as natural sunlight, which is why a bright screen feels welcoming in the morning.
As the sun fades over the day, the amount of blue light it emits decreases. Late evening sunlight has a predominantly red light component (i.e. “warm light”).
F.lux automatically changes the color temperature of your screen over the day. It makes the screen “cold” in the morning and “warm” in the evening.
4. Save your bum
No, we’re not talking about toilet paper. A comfortable chair is the heart of a productive home office. You’ll spend nearly half your day on it. Investing in a good one will make a notable difference to your work life. To find the right fit, pay attention to back, thigh and arm support. Also consider the material options and warranties offered, if any.
5. Use a second monitor and your regular set up
A MUST for working efficiently. A second monitor is the closest you can get to a productivity superpower. An additional screen makes so many tasks easier — coding, designing, writing and researching. It also makes multi-tasking more approachable.
Take your keyboard and mouse too – they may not seem important, but will help you adjust to your regular office environment and many people are quicker on a mouse than on their laptop’s mouse pad.
6. Buy a standing desk
Monarch’s entire office carted their stand up desks home last week, in an effort to maintain this habit. We love being able to stand up for periods of time and stretch the old legs. It doesn’t mean you write entire board reports whilst standing. Research suggests you only need 9 minutes up then sit for 20 mins, to really help keep your posture.
A standing desk is exactly what you think: a tall desk where you work standing up. Most of these desks are height adjustable (i.e. you can lower/raise the height as needed). Some more expensive versions can even be converted into conventional sit-down desks on the fly.
7. Manage those wires
If your working space looks good, you’re way more likely to want to be at it. So make sure your wires and cables are organised. It doesn’t take much effort – a few pegs can keep things tidy and stops the dog from blacking out your screen as his trips over one.
8. Get speedy
Make sure your internet is running fast enough to support your workload.
Check your internet speed with specialized services like Speedtest, Fast.com, or SpeedOf.Me. For more accurate results, do multiple tests and do them when no one in your home network is downloading or sharing files or doing video streaming and video chats. If the results are way lower than advertised, connect your provider and check your network for unauthorized devices.
Ready to take a course online? Check out Monarch’s qualifications here or call us on 1300 738 955. Or if you have any questions, book a time here and we’ll call you https://drift.me/monarchinstitute/meeting.