Editor’s note: I write a lot about the benefits of giving your employees flexible working opportunities. But I haven’t paid much attention to some of the finer details. For example, while working from home is an attractive prospect, hidden obstacles can get in the way – such as distractions, a poor internet connection, and feeling ‘boxed in’. This is why I’m pleased to announce that today’s guest post is all about helping your employees to set up a more comfortable and efficient home office – written by the people who know the best, desk and office space experts Office Genie. There’s no small talk – author Lilli Hender prefers to jump straight in.
One of the best things about working from home is having your belongings about you. Working in an office has the potential to be demoralising because it can feel like an impersonal space – particularly if you’re not able to customise your desk. At home, it’s your own space and working in it comes with a sense of autonomy. This feeling of ownership can do wonders for your productivity and job satisfaction.
On the flip side, working from home means you encounter distractions you won’t have in the office. It can be tempting to stick on the TV, play a computer game (or with a pet!), and regularly abscond to the kitchen for drinks and snacks. A reward strategy can be a good way to tackle this: give yourself a list of tasks to complete, then when completed, reward yourself with something fun – then get back to work!
Its all in the ergonomics
Thanks to DSE assessments, it’s highly likely that the desk at which you sit is configured to do minimal damage to your health. There’s a reason most workplaces have adjustable monitors and chairs with lumbar support: to combat the back pain and eye strain that can come with sitting and staring at a screen all day. Ergonomics and positioning are of fundamental importance in the workplace and it should be the same when working from home.
There’s a chance you may have a few obstacles in your way when it comes to making your home office a healthy one. If you can’t fork out a few hundred pounds for an office chair, or don’t have space for a desk, don’t fear. There are more than a few helpful guides out there on how to ensure the best possible posture and positioning, such as this one from Mayo Clinic.
Spaces beyond your own four walls
With the rise of coworking hubs and the availability of free Wi-Fi available in cafes and libraries, working from home doesn’t have to be your only option when you’re out of the office. Cafes are great because of the endless supply of coffee (and other enjoyable food and drink offerings); and libraries can be perfect for lone-working, but particularly tasks requiring peace and quiet.
The handy thing about coworking hubs is they’re essentially a home from home – or ‘office from office’. If you do feel you’re missing the buzz of office life and the structured routine of the 9-5 work day, these spaces can be a great solution. They also come with the exciting possibility of extending your social and professional network.
A healthy dose of fibre…broadband
Broadband is a vital tool for most home workers, so choosing the right service is important. Fibre optic broadband is the best option for home working as it provides fast speeds at an affordable price. And it’s now available to more than 80% of premises across the UK. If fibre is not in your area, ADSL broadband is suitable for home working, but as it has a very slow upload speed it can take a long time to send big files. ADSL may also struggle if your connection is shared with housemates or family.
To avoid any problems with service restrictions or extra costs always choose an unlimited data package. Most broadband deals include a Wi-Fi router so you don’t need to worry about extra hardware costs, but if the wireless signal is weak in some areas of your home inexpensive Wi-Fi signal boosters can extend coverage.
Lilli Hender writes for OfficeGenie.co.uk: a desk and office space marketplace for freelancers, startups, and SMEs. She primarily writes about ways in which to boost productivity and workplace wellbeing.