The beauty of being a remote employee is the opportunity to work wherever (and whenever!) you please. You can work from a beach, a ski resort, your library, or you can simply stay home and work in your pajamas. However, regardless of where youcan work from, it’s important to have one dedicated area that serves as a home office or workspace of sorts.
How you choose to set up your workspace is a personal decision, but there are still some must-haves any type of remote professional have. We asked real-life remote workers what items were the most important in their home offices. Here’s what they had to say.
It doesn’t matter if your home work area is the side of a closet or a huge room: if you’re working at home, you need a space to work at. Nowadays, you have a lot of choices for office furniture, so don’t just order an ol’ executive desk for your office. Consider a standing desk or exercise desk instead.
Lynell Ross, founder and managing editor ofZivadream, says, “Invest in an exercise desk bike for your office. I've found this is a great way to wake up and get going in the morning, and relieve stress in the afternoons while still getting work done.” She continues, “The last thing you want to do after a big lunch is hunker back down in your comfy office chair. That's a sure fire way to become sleepy and unproductive. Instead, take 15 or 20 minutes after lunch and cycle a bit to get your blood flowing, all while catching up on emails. This will keep you much more engaged and lively throughout the rest of the afternoon.”
Maria Lianos-Carbone, author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year, prefers a standing desk. She says, “I work from home and find myself switching from sitting to standing about every hour to avoid neck and shoulder pain. I listen to my body and try to stretch out my legs as well to help with lower back pain.”
And before we move on, let’s talk about storage. Your desk needsenough space to store simple office stationery and accoutrements such as printer paper, pens, tape, envelopes, and a stapler. As a remote worker, you might not need to access these things as often as you would in an office environment, but when you need them, you’ll surely miss them. Who wants to change out of their pajamas to go by envelopes on the last day to mail out their taxes?
Now that you have a desk, it’s time to consider your seating. And yes, even if you have a standing desk, a seating area is especially helpful for things such as video calls or taking a breather on a busy day. Consider ergonomics for both your desk and chair, and don’t rule out getting a foot stool for under your desk.
Internet marketerJamie Anderson says, “In the first few years of working from home in my office, I would buy relatively cheap office chairs. Inevitably they would quickly fall to bits and the comfort levels were and support were quite poor. Two years ago I decided to invest in a high end office chair with a very high back, good support, wide arm rests to give extra room, etc. It's been a great investment so far and has resulted in a lot less sore backs and necks.”
There’s no way you can work from home without an internet connection, right? So make the investment in the right internet package from your provider and choose a few tools to help boost your connection.
Afoma Umesi, editor atOh So Spotless says, “The power of a stable internet connection cannot be overstated for remote workers. Weak wifi could cost you a new freelance client if you're unable to have a video meeting, for instance. But beyond reliable wifi, a couple of other additions can stabilize your link to the interwebs: a wifi range extender and a portable, mobile wifi device. The former means you can stay connected if you decide to work from the bedroom where your signal is weakest. With the latter, you can stay connected wherever you go -- as long as you're within service range.”
Sure, you might do the most of your note taking or written work on a computer, but research shows that writing by hand helps with memory, self confidence, motivation, and more! And let’s not forget that some things for work need to be in your line of vision at all times for work. A chalkboard could work, but save yourself the dust cleanup and hang a whiteboard near your workstation.
Anderson says, “While I am extremely reliant on the likes of my Google Calendar, Evernote and Trello for keeping track of things, I think there will always be a place in my office for the humble whiteboard. It's always just outside my line of vision and it's always a nice feeling of accomplishment when you rub something off that you have completed.”
Need a colleague? Want to streamline your systems? A smart device can help you manage your workday without being intrusive on your mental energy like a coworker who stops by your desk to chat while you’re in the middle of an important task.
Rick Liebling, the General Manager atVSC, says, “I've found a smart home device to be the item I use the most. With my Amazon Echo Dot, I can get news in the morning as I start my day, any type of music that my mood and work situation calls for throughout the day, and with the 'drop in' feature, my family can speak to me without having to yell across the house. There are dozens of other ways to get the most out of your Dot as well, easily track your Amazon packages, weather and traffic updates if you need to run errands, and more.”
Working from home means you’re going to need to print, copy, and scan documents from time to time. But that doesn’t mean you need to head out and buy multiple machines.
Ron Humes, VP of Southeast Region Operations ofPost Modern Marketing advises, “Before you purchase that printer, consider investing just a little more money into a 3 or 4-in-one machine. These machines will allow you to print, but will also allow you to Copy, Scan, and Fax (4-in-one only). You will definitely need the additional functions at some point, and it will probably happen at the least convenient time...If you want to get the best in quality, speed and cost per sheet, consider a laser model with a flat-bed and auto-feed scanner.”
There are a few other tech essentials necessary in a remote worker home office. Consider investing in an external hard drive, backup chargers for all devices, and a microphone and camera for all audio or video calls you’ll be making.
You may joke about needing a pot of coffee to get through the day, but there’s a lot of wisdom to keeping a coffee maker, water cooler, or similar drink machine in your home office. That way, you can grab a drink without needing to completely lose your train of thought to head to your kitchen and grab a drink. Sometimes, simply leaving the space you’re in can completely derail your workday.
Paul Ronto,Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Digital Content ofRunRepeat, says, “Yes it's a cliche in the tech world that every office is stacked with LaCroix, but to be honest, it's pretty true, and taking a break to both hydrate and enjoy a little bubbly water is another great reason to step away from your screen. If you're like me you can easily go through 2-3 of these a day, and paying for these at home can add up. Getting a SodaStream machine that can carbonate your water at home is a great addition to any home office.”
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto
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