Remote work guide

Setting Up a Home Office

Setting Up a Home Office for Remote Work

Remote work is not for everybody. Working from home may sound perfect at first. The thought of getting out of bed only to put on slippers, stir a pot of coffee, and skip into your home office 10 feet away doesn't sound half bad!

But for some people, it means constant distractions, fighting temptation, and little to no interaction with colleagues.

Luckily, this home office set up section of our WFH guide is here to help you optimize the tools and equipment you need. We cover everything from room temperature to ergonomic chairs, what you should play in your headphones and even what to eat. By effectively setting up your home office, you’ll be on the path to achieving work from home success!

Why set up a home office for remote work

In the new post-pandemic normal, working remotely at home, being socially distanced from colleagues, and quickly adapting to work technologies is not really a choice but a necessity.

For members of geographically dispersed teams, setting up a home office for remote work is key. Adopting new tools is important, however, it’s also necessary to support those tools with a proper structure and clear work guidelines to maintain remote work productivity levels.

Importance of an effective work from home office setup

Creating an efficient workspace in a home can be challenging. It’s important to resist the urge to simply pull up a chair at the dining table. Instead, invest in long term working from home equipment that supports your health and wellbeing.

Throwing together a makeshift home office in an unsuitable environment may negatively impact your transition to remote work. Apart from identifying a dedicated workspace, the components of this workspace are critical for avoiding any strain or injuries that non-ergonomic furniture can cause.

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How to set up a home office: 15 WFH tips and tricks to increase productivity

Learning how to set up a home office for maximum productivity is essential. Here are 15 work from home office essentials you need to boost your productivity and preserve your health at the same time.

1. Identify and create your ideal workspace 

Pick a quiet area or room away from distractions — yes, that includes the TV. Ideally, if space permits, a separate room with a door of its own can help create a clear delineation between “work” and “home”. Of course this is not always possible as space constraints are common.

2. Get the right work from home equipment

Home office equipment you are likely to need will include:

  • Table or desk
  • An ergonomic chair
  • A fast and uninterrupted WiFi connection
  • Sufficient lighting
  • Stationary, including pens and notebooks
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Calendar
  • Cabinet or filing place
  • Any other preferred décor — including family pictures, plants, or a favorite piece of art

For starters, arrange for a work desk to accommodate your laptop, water bottle, and a diary or notepad to scribble your ideas. If you are an illustrator or graphic designer, you might need a bigger workspace for your tools and instruments. On the other hand, a consultant may need a filing cabinet to store client files. Specific employer work requirements may be needed, such as dedicated industry-specific equipment. 

3. Choose the right lighting

Lighting can be a major influence on the comfort of your workspace. Avoid fluorescent lighting as it can cause drowsiness. Natural lighting is best for a full day of productivity.

4. Temperature control

An overly warm room makes you sleepy. Some research even indicates that excessively cold room can be distracting and lead to more typing errors. Keep the room temperature around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (or 25 degrees Celsius) to create an ideal productivity zone.

5. Pay attention to your health

Invest in equipment that will make work easier for you and support your health. A few examples are ergonomic chairs, a table with the right height, and a laptop with anti-glare screens safe for your eyes. These self care tips will help avoid headaches, body aches from the wrong posture, or nerve disorders that may result from an uncomfortable setup.

6. Stock up on office supplies

An emergency trip to the store because you're out of printer paper will throw a wrench into your productivity. Always keep supplies well stocked to avoid midday runs and interruptions to your schedule.

7. Keep plants

Pick a plant requiring minimal care and let it share the sunlight at your desk. The presence of plants has a variety of benefits, including lower stress levels and reduced air pollution — according to some studies.

8. Let the music play 

Make tedious tasks fun with your favorite band playing in the background. When it's time to focus on more demanding tasks, classic or instrumental music is the way to go.

9. Keep inspiration close by

Inspirational quotes, family pictures, and mementos from fun trips can often be the motivation you need to get through your day. It can also personalize your space and keep you in high spirits while at work.

10. Store your professional work documents separately

Working from home can quickly mix up the professional and personal elements of your life. Keep them separate by having a designated place to store all your official documents, including business receipts, invoices, client files, or important records and documents.

11. Choose colors wisely

To increase focus and efficiency in the workspace, choose colors like blue or green. Want to infuse optimism and energy? Pick yellow. Avoid bright colors like red or orange, as they can be too intense and distracting.

12. Stay well-nourished

Don't waste precious time heading back and forth to the kitchen all day. Keep healthy snacks such as nuts, raw veggies, and hummus at your desk. Keeping a water bottle close by can also help you stay hydrated. Limit your intake of sugary drinks and caffeine to avoid the dreaded 2 pm couch crash.

13. Get dressed

Sure, lounging in your Pjs all day may sound like heaven, but you are likely to be more productive and feel confident when you are dressed for work. Plus, you never know when a client might want to hop on a surprise video conference call.

14. Keep breaks short and sweet

It can be tempting to turn on Netflix or quickly complete a few chores. But in the words of the great Walter White, "Tread lightly." That break can easily lead to several wasted hours. Set a timer so you can get back to work promptly and save the laundry for later.

15. Track time

While working at home, many people may forget to keep track of time. You may end up working for 15 hours a day before you know it. Do you know that remote workers are more likely to work longer hours than employees working in a traditional office space? Have a way to track time, either with a tomato timer, your smartphone's alarm, or the good old wall clock.

How Wrike helps you create your perfect virtual workspace

Using all-in-one work management platforms such as Wrike helps you bring your teams together and collaborate from anywhere. Tools such as Dropbox and Microsoft teams keep files organized and allow you to communicate from anywhere. Simply integrate your favorite tools into Wrike and keep everything in one place.

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