March 30th, 2020

COVID-19 Guide – How to set up your home office

Home Office

After the government instructed employees to work from home whenever possible, we are probably a confused bunch struggling with recreating a pleasant and productive working environment. Can you relate? Read our top tips below!

Get the right equipment

First and foremost, you need all the logistics of working remotely in place. Make sure you are stacked with the technology needed for being as productive as when you’re in the office. Additional screens, mouse, keyboard, headphones, notebook, post-its – whatever you typically use.

Don’t forget about connection! The ability to work from home successfully is often dependent on suitable Wi-Fi. Most likely, you will participate in virtual meetings with your team – so you don’t want to take the risk of missing out due to a frozen screen. Also consider the security of your connection – make sure your Virtual Private Network (VPN) is in place. If not, enquire with your IT department.

Finding the right space

With the current situation, many of us have been suddenly thrown into working remotely. This means we might not have an obvious home office or desk space. Therefore, you might find yourself having to improvise and set up a temporary work station. Your dining table or kitchen bar might be the natural choice to set up, though with this in mind – make sure you separate work time from free time! At the end of your work day, pack up your things and transform the space back to a dining place.

Another solution could be to simply move a small table or nightstand to a secluded space in your bedroom or living room. Add a chair – and voila! You have a temporary work station.

Manage distractions

Living by yourself? Great! Then you don’t have to worry about your household distracting you from work. But for many of us, reality looks a little different. Whether it’s your partner, children or house mates, it is important to make sure you’re able to distance yourself when “at work”.

A physical boundary such as closing the door behind you might do the trick, but there are other ways to signal “do not disturb” to the people around you. For example, communicate to your surrounding that plugged in headphones, or office attire, equals to “I am at work – pretend I’m not here!”.

Ergonomic Set-Up

Even though you might not consider this setup long term, you should still mind your ergonomic needs. You don’t want to catch a “tech neck” or another repetitive strain injury (just like you don’t want to catch the coronavirus, right?).

To make sure your posture is fine, both feet should be flat on the ground. When you sit up straight, your eyebrows should be levelled with the top of the computer screen. When in an L shape, your arms should not be angled upwards – either straight or slightly downwards. When you extend one arm horizontally, your fingertips should almost touch the middle of the screen. Your mouse if you have one, should be as close to you as possible.

Your knees should be just under your hips – if not, use a footrest. Now, you can get a fairly cheap one from Amazon, or you can just use something available in your house, such as a book. The most ideal scenario is to get an adjustable, ergonomic chair, though we realise this might be a bit over kill if you’re not intending to work from home in the future!

Be mindful of your posture – if you feel like your chin is poking upwards, you are probably sitting too low. Another thing worth mentioning is sufficient lighting – make sure there are no glare or disturbing reflections.

How do I stay motivated when working from home?

If you need tips in adjusting your mentality of working remotely, we have listed our 4 top tips on how to stay productive and motivated while working from home. Read it here!