So how can you create the ultimate home office and become an expert at working from home?
The key is to choose some valuable real estate in your home that can fit a proper office set-up and leave you room to breathe. Where possible try to place your workstation / desk where there is plenty of natural light. If not invest in some LED lighting to create the same sort of ambience as natural lighting or enhance the already available amount of natural light.
Key components to a great office layout
- Reliable computer / printer, high speed connection and Smart Phone
- Good storage space
- Warm, relaxing environment
- Quality mic & headset – for live video, conference calls, webinars
- Inspirational quotes and / or pictures to keep you motivated throughout the day
- Spacious desk with room for desktop or laptop and a space for writing
- Ergonomically sound office chair
- Storage trays for printer paper and stationery
- Locked filing cabinet for business documents, marketing materials, and other technology equipment (external hard drive, head set)
- Book shelf to store go-to business books, motivational reading material and resources
- Bright halogen lamp
Note: Chairs should have an adjustable back rest and an adjustable height seat. The back rest should be placed to support the lower back and to have the spine near to right angles with the upper legs
- Desktop computer (and/or laptop)
- Monitor (ideally a dual monitor set-up to maximize productivity)
- Printer / Scanner
- High-speed Internet access (Get the fastest package possible)
- Mobile Phone (or VOIP phone like Vonage or Skype for Business)
- Network router to connect multiple devices (laptop, iPad, phone etc)
- Back up external hard drive
- Timer (phone or egg buzzer)
Consider investing in a laptop docking station, external monitor, a separate keyboard and mouse for your home office. Your body thank you in the long run.
Kmart offers a great range of office furniture, desk accessories, artificial plants and gadgets at very reasonable prices.
- Real or Artificial plants – My preference is real plants as they promote better air quality
- Inspirational pictures or wall quotes
- Family photos
- Calendar – entirely your preference if you prefer one on your desk that collects dust or an electronic version
The goal to creating your ultimate home office is by designing your work station so that it fits you and allows for a comfortable working environment for maximum productivity and efficiency. So, let’s take a look at other elements that make up your ultimate home office including some basic good ergonomic practices;
A footrest might be needed so that for keyboard work your arms are kept level with the desk height, particularly for those of us that are shorter in nature.
The computer mouse and desk phone should both be positioned close to the body and the top of the computer monitor should be level with the eye height.
Avoid balancing your mobile phone on between your shoulder and consider purchasing a headset with microphone as a better option.
Follow the “30, 30, 30 rule”. Every 30 minutes take a 30 second break to do some simple exercises e.g. standing or moving to do some filing and in doing so briefly look 30 meters away. Neck and shoulder muscles can get just as fatigued as a runner’s leg muscles.
Stretching improves your posture as we all aware that sitting or standing for long periods of time can wear on your spine. Taking a minute or two to stretch throughout the day can realign and rebalance your posture. Good posture reduces strain on the spine and neck, lowering the likelihood of shoulder, back, and neck pains and strains.
When decking out your home office, never forget to include a backup solution. The tried and true external hard drive has been rectifying catastrophic events for years and is a must for your home office. The cloud is great and should be utilized as well, but make sure you have a physical backup, too.
Some people like to have gadgets on their desk, while others may have pets or children come and entertain you throughout the day. Did you know if you are deep in thought working on your task at hand and constantly being distracted it can take 20 minutes to refocus and go back to the task at hand with the same level of concentration. Create clear boundaries when working as the best home office is the one in which you feel comfortable, productive, safe and motivated beyond that first cup of coffee.