Author: Jocelyn ter Morsche, marketer at remote company Xoxzo.
Are you ready to start your remote life? Something I underestimated was setting up my home office: it took more than I had expected. In the end, I had to wait for my office chair an entire month and my room had poor lighting, which slowed down my productivity. I advise new remote workers to be prepared to get off to a good start. In addition to our list of 3 indispensable tools you need for remote working, we want to add this extra guide with some things to keep in mind when setting up your home office.
- Dedicated space for your home office
- Fast and reliable internet connection
- Proper work height for your desk, monitor, and chair
- Good lighting
- Other office equipment
1- Dedicated space for your home office
Even though it’s okay to break the rules every once in a while and enjoy the comfort of working on your sofa, in the kitchen, or even in bed, it’s better to not abuse this pro of working from home because it can easily start turning into a bad habit. Working remotely doesn’t mean you should lack rules and structure.
This is why you want to start by choosing a dedicated space where you want to set up your home office, preferably a small room away from distractions. A study room, guest bedroom, or hobby room could easily be converted into a home office.
Working remotely in Tokyo myself and living in a small studio apartment, this is one of the most challenging parts. In this case, the best you can do is make sure your desk faces a wall or window instead of it looking out on the rest of your room. You can also get creative with curtains to create a less chaotic atmosphere.
What should your workplace look like? That is entirely up to you! As mentioned in our article: The Pros of Remote Work, picking a place that you feel comfortable in is most important. If you’re looking to make your office space look nice we recommend having a look at Pinterest for inspiration and creating a concept with colors and furniture and other items you need before starting to order random items that might end up not looking good together.
2- Fast and reliable internet connection
This one goes without saying; slow internet is the nightmare of many of us teleworkers. Fun fact: “One study showed that, on average, workers waste a full week each year waiting on their Internet connection to respond. One week wasted on looking for missing papers and a second week wasted waiting for your computer to load!” (Source: Develop Good Habits)
This is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a fast and reliable internet connection. Most people already have a router at home and while a wired connection is stronger than Wi-Fi, it is easier to move around with a wireless internet connection.
Keep in mind that if family members or roommates are using the router as well it may slow down the internet. If you’re not sure about the specifics of your internet you could always make some test video calls to friends or family to make sure that you will be able to communicate well with your tele-coworkers.
And the most ideal option of all: have a backup connection.
3- Proper work height for your desk, monitor, and chair.
A good chair and a good desk with the proper height is an investment for your health and posture.
How to pick a proper work desk? The most important factor is picking the correct height for you. You could also choose a standing desk, which may help you stay fit while working from home. This guide shows you exactly what height you need for a sitting or standing desk according to your height.
For example, for someone who’s 170cm (5”7) tall, the recommended sitting eye height is 118cm (46.5”) and the sitting elbow height is 64cm (25”). For a standing desk, the recommended eye height would be 159cm (61.5”) and elbow-length 104cm (41”).
When it comes to the monitor, it should be 25%-30% above eye level so you keep your shoulders level and don’t hunch your shoulders. A riser can help with the correct height of your monitor.
Good work chairs come in all prices and forms, from expensive to affordable. A must is that the height is adjustable and some pros are that it can roll and provides lumbar support for your lower back. The most important thing is to try sitting in the chair before ordering it because comfort is personal and hard to tell from a picture on a website.
4- Good lighting
Lighting is maybe not the first thing you think about but it is important. Lights that are too dim can make you sleepy and too bright might make it hard to see your screen.
According to Galen Gruman from Computer World, overhead lighting is the best, such as from a ceiling lamp used to illuminate the whole room. Light from a window behind you or next to you can create glare on your monitor screen on a sunny day so if you decide to set up your workspace next to a window make sure to invest in some curtains as well.
5- Other office equipment
Depending on your needs there is some other office equipment that may come in handy. Most office workers will need a keyboard, and a mouse with a mousepad.
If you have to make many calls in a day you can invest in a headset so you have your hands free and walk around to move your body a bit.
If you deal with a lot of documents, going to a print shop every time will be a hassle. A multifunctional scanner, printer, and copier is a good help, and a paper shredding machine will also come in handy if you deal with a lot of trash.
By purchasing an external hard drive or a USB stick to back up your work you can make sure you still have all your important documents in case something happens to your computer. Combine that with an automated backup to the cloud and you’re good to go.
Lastly, it’s important to keep your desk organized so make sure you have enough storage space. you might want to invest in a file cabinet, file folders, and hanging folders. If you don’t deal with paper, just apply the same standards with your digital folders and have them neatly organized.
What tip did you find most useful and what would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to check out our other articles for more tips, facts, and information about remote work: