How To Set Up a Workable Home Office?
A home office can help boost your productivity immensely as compared to working off of your couch. But not all home offices are equal. This article will discuss how to set up a home workable home office that helps you work more efficiently.
With the world brought to a stand-still in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are now working from our homes. Now offices are designated spaces for people to work, and hence carry the notion that they make people more productive.
However, working from home becoming an imminent trend even after the pandemic, it would be highly beneficial for us to set up a workable home office to keep our work output impressive.
There are a few things you should that will help you build a workable home office. This includes everything from choosing the right chair to setting up the screens and even select the location of the office. Read on to understand how some minor tweaks can help improve your home.
Why Do You Need a Home Office?
Your brain associates your bed as a place to rest, your couch as a place to relax and your kitchen counter as a place to eat. Let us say you suddenly decide to start working from your bed one day, your brain will still be associating that space with sleeping.
Subconsciously your brain will decrease your focus and you will not be able to work as efficiently as possible.
Similarly, your brain associates your workspace as a place where your sole goal is to get things done.
So again, subconsciously you will be more productive whilst working from a space specifically designated to work. That means you will get more work done, with higher quality, in a shorter amount of time.
And we all know that time is money, so that is a win-win situation. So when working from home, it is always a good idea to set a small workspace specifically to get your work done – otherwise known as your home office.
The Set-Up – an Overview
It would vary from job to job how you would set up your home office. For example, if you are an accountant, all you would need are some books, your laptop and a desk.
But if you are a musician, for example, you would instead need your musical instrument, a notepad to write song lyrics on and probably your laptop to compose the final melody.
This article will discuss a generic home office set-up that will cater to most people.
Regardless of your job, however, the general notion remains the same. Keep your set-up focused, minimalist and clutter-free. This will help you remain focused and energized whilst you work.
The main thing you will need is a desk and chair. That is it. The rest depends on your line of work.
We will discuss now in detail as to how you should set up a generic home office. You can use this knowledge to play around with your workspace to make it suitable for your work.
Now you do not need a fancy desk with exceptional features or storage. All you need is a desk you can set aside specifically and only for your work.
As discussed earlier, when you sit down to work at a designated workspace, your brain will understand that you mean business.
So do not go about using your kitchen countertop or your bed’s side table as your workstation.
Use a proper desk at which you have enough legroom, and can sit in a comfortable position.
You do not want to strain your back by leaning or hunching over the desk.
Again, you do not need an expensive chair made from high-end materials to help you set up a workable home office.
All you need to make sure is that it helps you maintain a proper and natural curve to your spine.
Make sure you don’t have to lean over the desk to work and that your feet do not dangle whilst you sit on the chair. Your feet must remain flat on the ground whilst you work. This will again help maintain a proper posture.
To keep all of these things in check, select a chair with sufficient lumbar support. If your chair does not have that lumbar support built-in, use a lumbar cushion instead.
Use a footrest to help keep your feet flat on the floor. Mix and match your chair’s height, usage of a footrest or maybe even try wearing some shoes.
In the end, you want to maintain a nice natural posture. This will prevent backaches, shoulder aches, muscular stress, neck straining and many other issues that may arise with prolonged periods of sitting and working.
Your Personal Computer Set-Up
So you have your designated desk and comfortable chair. Now it is time to set your computer up.
It is always a good idea to have your monitor at an arm’s length away from you. This way you can look at the entire screen without moving your neck around and this, in turn, will help prevent neck straining.
You monitor’s height should be as such that when looked at directly you see just above the centre of the screen.
Not this may sound a bit odd or undoable when you are using your laptop instead of a desktop. In that case, we recommend you put your laptop on a laptop stand or even some books to adjust its height at an arm’s length away.
You will need an external physical keyboard however to make full utilization of this set-up. In the long run, though, this is worth it since it keeps your eyes from straining, helps protect you from bad posture and neck pains.
Depending on the number of screens you use, you might need to ensure where you place your monitors.
When using only one monitor, place it directly in front of you at the recommended height.
When using two monitors, ensure they meet end to end and the plane of contact is directly in front of you.
When using three monitors, place them end to end with the centre monitor being directly in front of you. This will ensure the best results that will be comfortable for you.
The Keyboard and the Mouse
When you do put your monitor at the suggested place, you will need an external keyboard whether or not you use a laptop. This will help better the ergonomics of your work but easing any strain on your eyes or muscles.
Now it is best to use a flat keyboard. However, a keyboard that has its top-end dipping slightly downwards will work too. This ensures that your wrists are not in an odd position and will help prevent straining your wrist muscles.
Place the keyboard just far enough from you and at a height that your upper arms hang naturally, whilst your forearms rest parallel to the surface of the desk.
As for the mouse, ensure that its height is the same as that of the keyboard and keep it the side of your dominant hand, close to the keyboard.
So you have an excellent set-up. Now what?
If you cram all of this away in a dark corner of your room, all your efforts might go to waste. So make sure that your set-up is in a place with lots of natural light to keep you fresh and active.
Make use of lamps if necessary. It is always a good idea to have your home office near a source of natural light, like a window.
Make sure you are near an electrical outlet and use an extension if you need more than one electrical outlets.
Another important thing is to set your home office up to be as far away from distractions as possible.
So we are almost all working from home now, and this might be a trend that will stick. So setting up a proper home office will not only help you do your work properly but also increase your productivity overall.
By ensuring proper work etiquette, you can get your work done efficiently and properly.
Apart from improving the quality of your work, by having a proper home office set-up, you will be maintaining a healthier work routine; both mentally and physically.
This will help your mental health by improving the quality of your professional life as mentioned earlier.
It will also help your physical health by preventing stress to your eyes, muscular strain and spinal aches. As an added bonus, you will be able to take full advantage of the flexibility that comes with the ability to work from home.
By making just a few changes to your work station you can make a proper and workable home office that will increase your work ergonomics ten folds.