How To Set Up And Run A Successful Home Office

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Chances are, if you are still commuting 5 days or more to some possibly distant office, you won’t be doing it for long.

As a matter of fact, if you think about it long and hard, these days more and more needing to be physically present at a certain location is increasingly unnecessary. Innovations and new technologies that have been introduced over the past several years have done a lot to change that. Just think about such things as data clouds, video conferencing software, tablets, smart phones with 4g or better data networks connecting them, fiber optic internet connections, etc.

These technologies have opened up many different possibilities for working and staying connected. For example, managers can set up mobile offices in their cars and be out in the field checking up on operations live while still staying very much in touch with their home office. Or as another example, people can now take working vacations, where a laptop is often more than enough for them to meet a certain standard of business responsibilities and tasks from a remote location of one’s choice. Or also, small businesses can install cameras and integrated software which lets them stay on top of their businesses’ operations in real time using apps on their phones, allowing them to run errands or even just stay at home while monitoring the essentials of their business.

However, the big idea we are talking about here is working from home. And while the logical first step is to get a room set up with furniture from Jason L to recreate the essentials of an office environment at home, there are several concepts and caveats that one must keep in mind if one truly wants to have a successful and productive experience working from home.

Keep Them Separated:

It goes without saying that you must have a room wholly and fully dedicated to this purpose. If you have the luxury, it’s not idea to dedicate a room with adjoining bathroom as your home office. This is because you need to have the ability to disappear in that room and focus on the tasks at hand. If you are frequently leaving the workspace and entering into the rest of your home, this will be a big distraction and can hurt productivity.

Corollary to that, the people who may be around your home while you are working need to know understand and respect that you are not to be casually disturbed while you are busy working. It’s very easy to let yourself be distracted by every little thing that goes on in your home and wind up in a grey area where you don’t give proper attention either to your home life or your work life. This is actually the number one factor that could torpedo your plans to work from home.

And the reverse of this is also true. You’re going to want to clearly set aside time for your home life, and not let issues from your work intrude on them. Companies sometimes can be sneaky in that they will allow you to work from home but then make undue demands on your time that they’d never be able to make in an office situation. Get things clear with them before sealing the deal; your mental health will thank you for it!

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Equipment Considerations:

Set your home office up as ergonomically as possible. In general your computer/laptop should more than suffice for working from home. Make sure you have a great desk, preferably a sit/stand model. And get the very best office chair you can afford, even if you do have a sit/stand desk and will only be using it half of the time. Make sure it has proper lumbar support, and is sturdy enough to make you feel secure and comfortable.

Also, consider the lighting. Most people respond better to warm color lights than the typical institutional blue lighting. And finally, consider equipment to help you take care of yourself, like yoga mats, resistance bands, kettlebells, therapeutic putty for releasing tension in your hands and arms, etc. In general, if you take 5 minutes out of every hour to reset yourself and take care of your body a little bit with some simple routines, you will find productivity actually increases!

Other Recommendations:

The number one other recommendation would be simply: do not forget to get out! You should still get out of your home at least once a day, whether it be to go shop for something, buy groceries, eat out with friends or simply take a nice little walk around the neighborhood. Don’t let yourself get stir crazy; make sure you still remember what outside looks like!

Also, shower and put real clothes on as if you were still going to a physical office. Studies have shown that this helps keep productivity up. People who try to work in their pyjamas generally find that their productivity drops simply because they are no longer taking themselves seriously anymore. It may be tempting, but it’s not a good idea.

This is also the reason why you want to choose a schedule and stick with it. Most employers will insist on it anyways, but if they don’t that doesn’t mean you should just start keeping random hours. Also, schedule regular workouts, whether it means going outside to the gym, going to the gym in your complex, or even working out from home. You should be working out 5 times a week, including some cardio, stretching, and strength exercises, and if you are working from home you don’t have lack of time as an excuse anymore! You can also incorporate your outside time into this as part of your workout time.

Also, one of the great advantages of working from home is that you can make sure that you have access to healthy snacks and meals at all times, since you have full control over your own kitchen! Make sure that this important advantage of working at home is not neglected.

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Written by
Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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