As of August 2021, a majority or 68 percent of Americans want to work from home rather than work in the office. This was the finding of a survey by GoodHire. If required to go back to office-based work, 45 percent would quit and look for remote work.
There are many companies that are now allowing some or all employees to work from home full-time. A few of the more well-known ones are Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Reddit, Upwork, Shopify, Slack, Fujitsu, Pinterest, Verizon, the United States Air Force, and the United States Navy.
Comfortable Efficiency in the Home Office
If you intend to work from home, you need to set up a small home office. It will not do to plop down just anywhere in the house, such as the living room couch or the dining table. Even worse is working in bed where you will always feel the urge to nap. Having a dedicated space for work separate from the rest of the house will psychologically put you in professional work mode.
Ideally, you must have a separate room where you can shut the door when you are working. This will shut off any noise from the household to help you concentrate. This is especially useful if you have many online meetings. You will also not be distracted by household tasks that beckon during work hours. Conversely, after work hours you can leave the room and close it off to avoid being overworked and burned out.
If there is no available room in the house, choose a space with the least foot traffic from the rest of the household. Put up a divider that will give it some semblance of physical separation. Use headphones to block off any noise.
Set up your workspace beside a window for ample natural daylight. This is the best kind of light to work in. It lifts the mood and keeps the mind alert. Alternatively, use lights that mimic daylight.
Hardware and Software
Your home office setup will depend largely on your computer needs. It will differ if you are using a laptop, a desktop computer, the best mini personal computer, or any of these with additional screens. Your desk must be large enough to accommodate your computer and screens, with extra space for documents you may need.
Ensure that your home Wi-Fi connection is stable and has high speed. Have a backup plan, such as mobile internet tethering, for times when your home Wi-Fi service provider is down.
Have a drawer beside your desk to keep other documents and office supplies neatly out of sight. If you usually have coffee or any other beverage while you work, it is advisable to have a separate side table for this to avoid accidental spillage. A tray on top of the drawer will also work.
Make sure that the height of your screen is optimal to prevent neck pain. You can choose a desk that is adjustable for seating and standing. This ensures that you are not seated for long hours, which is bad for your health. It is best to invest in an ergonomic chair to protect your back.
If you do online meetings, adjust the height of the camera so that it is at eye level. If the room’s lighting is not enough, install a ring light that will illuminate your face. Ensure that your background looks professional. Again, a divider can help block off anything unsightly.
Add sources of inspiration to your home office to remind yourself why you are working hard. A photo of loved ones on your desk or wall will make you smile every time you look at it. You can put up art on your walls. You can bring in nature with a plant, a small tabletop fountain, or a small aquarium. These will help you relax while working.
Best Practices When Working from Home
Working from home does not mean staying in your pajamas the entire day. Change into casual Friday types of clothes to put yourself in a work mindset. If you have a Zoom meeting, dress according to the type of meeting you will be having. For instance, casual clothes can be fine when meeting with teammates. When meeting with a client, though, choose something a notch more professional.
To keep your mind at its most alert level, walk around and stretch for about two to three minutes approximately every two hours. If you do not want to disrupt your concentration while doing certain tasks, do the break between long tasks.
Protect your eyes from eyestrain. The American Optometric Association recommends that every 20 minutes you should look away from the screen at something 20 feet away.
Stay hydrated throughout the day. Do not forget to take a meal break. Set an alarm for this if you have to. Make the most of working from home and you will reap all of its benefits.