The way we work has changed, probably for good. Many of us have come to realize that the countless hours spent in the office conducting meetings and writing minutes of those meetings could have been a simple e-mail and that there are a lot more professions that could be worked from home than we thought. If you are reading this then you are one of the many who have recently moved out of the workplace and into the home office and are trying to figure out how to set up the office for the optimal work environment. So, here are a few essentials that I have picked up over the years that could help you boost up your game in the home office set up.
It goes without saying that if you are going to be working from home it will be over the internet. If you are like many of us who never cared much about internet speeds or data caps then you need to gear up my friend. Without the high-speed and reliable internet connection, you will be pulling your hair out in a few days.
Research all the internet service providers in your area to see what they offer. Try to go for a provider with the highest customer satisfaction that offers at least 100 Mbps download speed and unlimited data allowance. If none of the providers in your area offer unlimited data then go for the highest available limit so that you don’t have to worry about exceeding your data limit and paying overage fees.
Just to get you started, I would suggest you to check if Spectrum is available in your area as all of the Spectrum packages offer unlimited data allowance and speeds starting from 100 Mbps and going up to as high as 940 Mbps. If they do not cover your area then like I said, look for the best option available to ensure that there’s no hindrance in your work routine caused by an unreliable internet connection.
Stand Up Desk
Now that we have the most important thing out of the way, it’s time to get started on the furniture, stationery, etc. I don’t know about anyone else but I feel the center of an office (home or otherwise) is the desk. Traditionally, an office desk has always been a sitting desk but considering the health risks of sitting for prolonged hours the trend of standing desks has developed. I use an old drafting table that a former roommate left behind, to work standing up. When I feel like sitting, I have my study table from the college days.
Standing is much healthier because it reduces the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and back pain, among other problems that can be caused by prolonged sitting. However, standing all day can also cause problems. As they say, “Excess of anything is bad.” You should aim at alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day to keep things balanced.
If you want to buy a new desk, then buy an adjustable standing desk that allows you to stand or sit to work whenever you want. Some come with a lever that you need to turn and some with a button that you press to adjust the desk’s height. You can buy whichever suits you better, budget and usage wise.
Yes, I know you must be thinking that a chair is a chair, why spend money on something you already have readily available in the house? To that I would say, the chairs you have in the house aren’t meant for prolonged sitting. An ergonomic chair is built to support all the spots that may encounter pain when not sitting in the optimal position for hours at length. A chair is even more important than a desk when it comes to your health.
Although, before spending your money on a chair you must do your research to ensure what exactly you require out of it since everyone has his or her preferences. There are a few things to keep in mind; lumbar support should fit well into your lower back, height and armrests should be adjustable, and the chair should both swivel and roll.
If you’re going to be working with lots of printed papers then this is a must-have for you. Otherwise, you may start with a clean desk but soon enough it would become a mess. This would end up in you losing precious time and energy looking for things instead of being productive.
Filing cabinets come in many forms and shapes these days and you can choose between plastic, metal, and wood. You will find one that fits your budget, fulfills your needs, and looks great in the office.
I’m assuming that if you have been asked to work from home then your company has provided you a laptop computer as well. If they haven’t and you’re working on a desktop computer then please ignore this. However, for the rest of us working on laptops, I’d recommend you get a laptop stand.
Hunching over your computer for long hours creates posture problems, pain in the neck, and shoulders. A laptop stand can help keep your posture in check by bringing the laptop screen to eye level while helping to keep the laptop’s airflow problems at bay.
The office stationery you’ll need depends on the work you do. It could be just a notepad and pen, or an extensive list including printer papers, pens, binders, highlighters, paperclips, etc. However, do keep in mind that if you’re going to have more than just a couple of pens and a notepad, then you may need a desk organizer to keep everything in place.
Whatever You Need
The above-mentioned things are the items that are completely essential for you to start setting up an office. You will find out many more things you need or don’t need as you get used to the work from home environment. A few things that can be added to your checklist as per your requirements are a 2 in 1 printer scanner, a power station with USB outlet, keyboard, mouse, monitor, Bluetooth speakers, noise-canceling headphones, paper shredder, a fireproof safe box, some indoor plants, adjustable table lamp, coffee maker, and a mug warmer.
For me, I can work anywhere as long as I have a table and chair and a peaceful environment. However, I do appreciate having a home office set up according to my needs where everything serves a purpose. This helps me stay sane because everything is organized, while I am also able to manage my time efficiently. I can guarantee that even though you may not feel you need a proper office right now, but it will take a toll on your work quality in the long run. Therefore, I would say it’s better not to spill the milk than cry over it later.