If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we actually have more control over our working lives than we have ever thought. Since the 1920s, people have been growing up, going to college and then heading to an office 9-to-5, five days a week. It was a nice idea when we needed to bring money back into the economy, and it’s something we’ve all grown up thinking that this was what we were supposed to do, but the pandemic has really changed that. Thank goodness!
Instead, we are not sitting at the office in a random building an hour commute away. We are not making small talk around the copier or the coffee machine with people that we have no interest in outside of the office. In fact, more people are getting along with their co-workers now that they’re not stuck together eight hours a day than they did before. That’s right, the birth of the home office has changed everything. The pandemic forced employers to realize that we don’t need to be rigid in our office schedules. It forced employers to realize that people can continue with their working day quite successfully without somebody breathing down their neck.
It doesn’t matter what you do for work, if you’re working in the corporate world you need to make sure that your home office space is comfortable, equipped, and everything that you need for your job. You now have the flexibility to be able to work in a hybrid environment – which means some of the time is in the office and some of the time is at home. When you are at home, you need to ensure that you have everything that you need, whether it’s access to 141 free Microsoft Excel templates and spreadsheets, or a refrigerator in the corner stocked with your favorite snacks. You need your home office to be streamlined, and we’ve got a mega list of things that you need for a solid home office.
- A computer. We are not living behind the times any more, so the first thing that you need for your home office is a study computer. Whether you are somebody who loves Mac, or you are somebody who loves Windows, you need to ensure that you have the right computer for your needs. If you are a small business owner, you might consider having more than one screen – and even if you’re not a small business owner, more than one screen may be necessary for you. Either way, you need to do your research on the best computers with the best memory, and you need to ensure that it can offer you more than a computer at the office. You might even think about just having a laptop and plugging in an extra screen. This will allow you to have dual screen capability but with the mobility of a laptop.
- Computer accessories. Even if you have a laptop, having a mouse is always a good idea. This will mean you’ll need a mouse mat for it to roll on, you may need a keyboard, and you may even need a second monitor. If you have a desktop computer, a monitor is necessary, but it’s useful regardless of whether or not you have a desktop computer. We just discussed your monitors and the capabilities that can do for you, but you really need to think about this! The right accessories help you to work to your best.
- Great Internet. If you want your home office to be a solid one, you need to have an excellent Internet connection. It should be protected, so you should ensure the best security, but it should also be fast. Figure out the times of day where your Internet is the fastest by discussing this with your Internet provider. You may end up catering your working day around the times your Internet is at its best. This will help you to ensure that you are working to your best of abilities, making you a more efficient and productive worker – which is what your boss really wants from you.
- You need a great desk. You might not think it matters where you sit in your home office but it really does matter. A great desk should be ergonomic in its shape, the right height, and it should be big enough to accommodate all of your needs. Having a wider, larger desk is better than having a small and compact one, because your equipment will sit on it in the right way. It will also need to hold a good amount of weight, and it will look great in the room. You need a great desk that is going to allow you comfort while you work. This is so important for you to do a job well.
- You need a great chair. While we were discussing ergonomic furniture, we touched on needing a great desk. A great desk it’s not a great desk unless it’s partnered with a great chat. While your desk needs to be at the right height, you need an adjustable chair to also be at the correct height. You want to be able to work comfortably and without any pressure on your spine, your legs or your neck. To avoid this completely, the best thing that you could do is to ensure that you are getting up and stretching every hour, but you also must have a chair with excellent back support. A great chair is going to keep you upright but comfortable, close to your work but a comfortable distance, and it should move with your body.
- Your office needs lighting. It’s time to ditch those dimmer bulbs you keep in the lights in the ceiling, and upgrade them for a higher wattage. You should also consider making sure that you have lamps with high wattage bulbs dotted around the space. There is no need to strain your eyes if you don’t have to. Bad lighting is going to give you headaches, it’s going to make you feel tired, and it’s not going to help you to be a productive worker.
- A separate telephone system. Do you really want the children answering the phone with clients calling your home? Do you really want to feel interrupted because there are telesales people bugging you through the day? These are things that happen to a home phone number, but they do not need to happen to your work phone number. Instead, you can ensure that your home office has its own telephone line. If you can’t install one in the wall, you may not need a traditional landline telephone anyway. The voice over Internet protocol technology means that this is an Internet based phone service, and mobile phones can be available for this service. This is usually necessary when you’re working from home. See whether or not you can set this up
- You need the right software. Speak to your current manager about this as the IT team could get you set up with the right software in your home office. We talked about Microsoft Excel templates and spreadsheets being available for free, but think about the software that you need to make sure that day to day, your business and your work is working for you. Some people who work from home mainly need access to word processing, but if you need something more complex, ask.
- You might need a printer. Do you print a lot of paperwork with your current job? If you don’t have the capability to move over to digital storage for your documents, and you do still need to print high volume, think about upgrading to a proper office printer. These are bigger than your son at home fridges, and they often have mixed capabilities such as scanning and photocopying. One of these multipurpose machines can make all the difference to your day-to-day business as well.
- A backup plan. You could have the most solid and the most decorated home office, but if you don’t have a backup plan for your paperwork or your online work, there is going to be a problem. All of your data must be protected once your home office is up and running, and while you can use cloud based backup services to copy your files, it’s always a good idea to have an in-house backup system in place.
- You need storage. Home office is not complete without storage, and even if you still aim to be completely paperless, there are always hard copy documents that you could hang onto. That means that you need to have some kind of storage for these documents and a filing cabinet is often the way to go. Choose a filing cabinet that is fire or flood proof with a lock, because that way anything that can’t be stored in the cloud for safety reasons can still be protected long-term.
Your home office can come to life with these tips. Why not get started on them today?