The average person spends at least 40 hours a week away from home and at the office. Working from home was often thought of as a luxury that most companies did not allow most employees to do. Not every occupation is able to be performed in a residential setting, but there are many that can. As time has progressed, situations have dictated that working from home can be extremely beneficial in certain circumstances. These situations include:
- Birth of child
- Paternity leave
- Commuting times
- Lack of office space
In 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, working remotely became a necessity. We had never experienced anything quite like it. Everything from schools to offices to retail outfitters closed their doors to the public. We had to figure out new and creative ways to conduct business to ensure we could all keep a stronghold on our jobs, homes, and livelihoods. Working remotely was the only option for those who had the capabilities to do so.
With this remote work came a new set of challenges. Proper home-office set-ups were needed. Screen fatigue became an issue. Some people even started developing medical issues as a result of sitting so long throughout the day. We have learned so much from being thrust headfirst into that lifestyle. If only we had known all of the fabulous products available to improve remote work. The good news is we have an arsenal of tools at our disposal now.
- Proper Seating
One of the most important elements of remote work to consider is proper seating. Working remotely often involves sitting for long periods of time, so a proper chair is very important for health and productivity. The ergonomic office chair is the most popular choice when considering seating options. Investing in a stellar pair of office chair armrest pads would complete an ergonomic design quite nicely. You may want to consider having a foot rest. This could help with foot circulation as well. Having these items be the focal point of a home office set-up can prevent and correct issues that could potentially arise, such as:
- Poor circulation
- Neck and back pain
- Digestive problems
- Lack of concentration and excessive tiredness
- Weight gain
If you opt out of the ergonomic designs there are many others to suit just about any individual preference. These include, but are not limited to:
- Swivel chairs
- Reading chairs
- Desk chairs
- Standing desk chair
- Desk Arraignments
Another important home office design element to consider is desk arraignment. Gone are the days of the basic “single monitor, stapler, pencil-cup” set-up. A good place to start in this area is to decide on the style of desk you may be the most interested in. There are so many to choose from! Designs include:
- The corner desk
- The parsons desk
- The electric standing desk (a popular option for those who cannot or do not want to sit all day)
- The laptop desk
- The traditional desk
- The 2-piece desk with hutch
The possibilities seem endless!
After choosing a desk, the arraignment comes next. The most popular choice that many are opting for these days is a multiple monitor set-up. It gives you the option of having two digital work spaces going simultaneously. Others still prefer to fly solo with a single monitor experience. Other options come in the form of tablets, notebooks, and smartphones. Set-ups are as individual as the people who create them, so do not feel as though you have to be a follower. You can be as creative as you like!
When designing your home office space for remote working, sound is another to take into consideration. Our ears are important, so we should treat them kindly. Like the other tools available for remote work set-ups, speakers and sound are no different. There are two primary options here: headphones and speakers.
If you are working in an environment where you do not have to deal with a whole lot of background noise, a good speaker set-up might be the best option for you. It may not be practical to have a complete home theater system installed in your office, but there are many, cutting edge computer speaker brands currently on the market that will fit into any budget.
On the other hand, if your home office is in a more robust household you may want to consider a high quality pair of headphones as a solid sound option. Since headphones are not a one-size-fits-all item, here are some style options to choose from:
- On-ear headphones (does not sit in the ear canal)
- In-ear headphones (sits in ear canal)
- Earbuds (wired and wireless)
- Over-the-ear headphones
- Bluetooth headphones (wireless)
- Proper Lighting
When considering remote work, we often neglect to remember a vital area of ourselves: our eyes! When setting up your remote work space, do not forget the lighting! We all know that staring at a computer screen all day can wreak havoc on our eyes. The absence of proper lighting could impact our vision in serious ways. Some issues that could potentially arise include irritation, dryness, and deterioration of vision.
Ensuring that our work spaces are well lit is one sure fire way to improve our professional lives while away from the office environment. Lighting your space should always include the following:
- Keep lighting indirect
- Let in as much natural light as possible
- Get rid of glare and shadows
- Focus lightening on what you are directly working on
- Taking Breaks
It can be just as stressful working from home as it can be working from home.
If you were heading to the office for the day, you would most likely be assigned designated break times throughout the day. Working remotely should not be any different. Taking care of yourself and allowing time for screen breaks, lunch, and bio-breaks are a necessity no matter where your work location might be.
While you are stepping away from your desk to engage in a walk, a quick trip out for a bite to eat, or even just pushing back for a 5-minute brain break, there are tools that can make these breaks pleasurable. As hard as adults work, we also like to play. It is not uncommon to see objects on desks everywhere that are reminiscent of children’s toys. These office stress toys are objects that serve several purposes, which include relieving stress and taking our minds off of whatever important work we may have at hand. Options include:
- Stress balls
- Fidget spinners
- Foot bands
- Fidget putty
- Puzzles (metal, wood, plastic)
- Sensory objects (velcro, velvet, etc.)
Let’s take a look back. You have an ultra-comfortable chair, a good desk arrangement, a sound system to die for, your lighting is perfect, and some nice little goodies to relieve stress and help you enjoy your breaks. If home offices could talk! There are so many tools to help improve your remote work you may never want to go back to work again.
If the pandemic taught us anything, we learned that we can still lead productive professional lives from virtually anywhere! There are so many uncertainties in life, but one thing is for sure: the tools available to improve remote work are limitless.