Working from home has become the new norm for many office employees. New technology has emerged that makes it easier for people to connect as they conduct business wherever they are.
Working from a home office can be efficient and productive, especially if you need flexible hours to handle personal responsibilities. However, it takes some planning to set up a home office. Here are six things you may need to take care of before you start working remotely.
1. Connect to Your Office
Whether you provide your computer, laptop and phone or your company offers it, you must connect your equipment to your company’s network. You may need to install special software or ensure your internet connection is strong enough.
Security is essential to consider as well. You don’t want any information breaches, especially if you handle personal or sensitive information at work. Your company may require a SASE cybersecurity model to ensure your data isn’t compromised. You can work with your employer’s IT department to set everything up correctly and securely.
2. Invest in the Proper Lighting
Lighting is a big consideration when setting up your office. The wrong lighting can make you feel uncomfortable or unproductive. If you can get natural daylight in your workspace, it is ideal. Bright white lighting with color temperatures between 4,000K and 5,000K is also good. It is the same as you find in a standard LED bulb.
3. Think Ergonomically
Correct posture keeps you from straining your neck, back and arms. An ergonomic office chair is a worthwhile investment when sitting at a computer all day. It can support your back and prevent aches and strains. Adjust your screen height, so your web browser address bar is at eye level. This height keeps your head and neck at the correct angle and height.
Your chair height should allow your elbows to be level with your desk. This is the correct height to prevent arm and wrist strain. However, don’t let your feet dangle off of the floor. Put a footrest under your feet, so your knees fall slightly below your hips.
4. Keep Work and Home Documents Separate
Working from a home office often means your personal and professional lives overlap. Keeping your work files separate from your personal files is worth the effort. Have a separate filing cabinet or box for hard copies. If you use the same computer for your personal and work tasks, keep them in separate folders or on different drives. Separating work and home documents helps you stay organized.
5. Stock Up on Office Supplies
Some office supplies always seem to be on hand at work: paper clips, sticky notes, staplers, rubber bands and the like. Be sure to have an ample supply of them at home. Stocking up keeps you from making trips during the workday for printer paper or envelopes. Before spending money on them, find out if your company reimburses you for office supply purchases or if you’re expected to foot the bill.
6. Talk to Your Boss About Expectations
Knowing what your company expects of you while away from the office is critical. Are you required to work during certain hours of the day, or is your schedule flexible? Some situations may require you to be available during business hours, while others aren’t tied to a particular agenda as long as you get the work done.
Your boss may want to meet with you virtually or in person regularly. A scheduled meeting is an excellent way to stay in touch with what’s going on in your company, get questions answered, and report on your progress. Ask your boss what you are expected to do when working from home.
If working from home is your new regular schedule, you can make it happen. Communicate with your manager and IT department, and ensure you have the equipment and tools you need to get the job done. Working from home can be a productive and efficient lifestyle.