Do your homework before working from home

Working from home brings its own challenges but start with a proper workspace

Keep it clean and clear: don’t let your home office become the dumping ground for all unwanted furniture

Keep it clean and clear: don’t let your home office become the dumping ground for all unwanted furniture

 

Make sure you are well connected

Good wifi is a must – an unreliable connection is going to slow you down. Boosters are a great idea if the connection is poor, and if you are planning a refurbishment consider having them wired in key locations to provide a constant high-speed connection throughout the house.

The same goes for mobile phone signal – not all network providers have equal signal strength so research and make sure that the supplier has a good signal in your area. If the signal is a problem you can purchase a mobile phone booster which will greatly reduce the number of dropped calls.

Create a designated work space

Be it a desk in the spare room, or the luxury of your own office – have somewhere to call your own. This helps create a work mode the moment you sit down.

Try to avoid working at the kitchen table. It’s much better to create a space that is specifically for work. There are a couple of reasons for this. Not only will the space be more organised but you are less likely to slowly chip away at work all day long. By separating your workspace you will create a natural boundary, making it easier to be more disciplined.

Also, try to avoid working from places you choose to unwind in, like the livingroom or your bedroom. If these spaces are your only option for a workspace it’s important you can create a way of concealing the work station when it comes to winding down. Bespoke joinery works really well in these situations, a storage unit with an integrated desk that can be closed off when not in use, for example, is ideal. Otherwise, the presence of a desk or laptop will act as a constant reminder of work that’s not getting done, making it virtually impossible to switch off.

Take your personality type into account

It’s important to take your personal work style and preferences into account when deciding where to locate a workspace at home. Everyone’s tolerance for distractions is different. Are you the type of person who needs to work in silence or do you prefer to feel part of what’s going on around you? It really is a matter of personal preference.

If you’re the kind of person who can turn a blind eye to unfinished chores and don’t mind the sound of the TV while you’re trying to work then a central space like a kitchen or livingroom might work. If on the other hand, a sink full of dirty dishes or a pile of ironing in plain sight is likely to cause you stress then a spare room or separate home office with peace and quiet might be a better choice.

Invest in good furniture

The kitchen table is not an ideal location because the chair and the height of the work surface will usually not be ergonomically correct, meaning over time you may find yourself with new aches and pains.

There are a few guidelines to follow when it comes to posture and ergonomics. Your chair should provide adequate back support to allow you to keep your back and shoulders straight. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree bend and align with your hands on the keyboard. Your eyes should level with the top third of the screen, and don’t forget to take occasional breaks.

Invest in the best chair you can afford, one with proper lumbar support and armrests is best, and be sure to adjust the height of the seat to meet the criteria above.

Enjoy the space

Don’t let your home office become the dumping ground for all unwanted furniture and home accessories. It should be both inspiring and functional. I have seen rooms that are so full of boxes and general household stuff that there is barely space to sit and work. This room should have nothing other than the items that you need for work.

Choose colours and decor to create an environment that is pleasant to work in. Brighter colours work well if the space needs to feel energising and inspiring. For those who prefer a calm, more relaxing space opt for softer warmer shades and a more neutral palette.

There’s nothing more uninspiring than staring at a blank wall. Invest in art or if the space is lacking in natural light use mirrors to reflect light and make it feel more spacious. Finally introduce some plants, there is nothing like a bit of greenery to bring a space to life.

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