Working from home makes you more productive
Thanks to technological advancements coupled with the increasing availability and affordability of Internet bundles, more and more people worldwide work from the comfort of their homes (and coffee shops), instead of going to an office from 9 am to 5 pm every day.
In fact, a 2013 study by a Stanford University professor found that employees who worked from home were not only more satisfied with their jobs, but also outperformed their peers who had the traditional 9 to 5 work schedule.
However, even if you do go to the office every day, you may still work from home after hours and during the weekends.
So here are a few factors to consider when creating a home office that will make you feel happy and productive every day.
One of the biggest struggles for people who have a ‘desk job’ is the effects that sitting down in front of a computer all day has on their health. It may lead to back and joints pain, headaches, and more. Well, these issues can be minimised by having proper posture and following ergonomic rules when creating your home office.
Ergonomic simply refers to the way in which items are designed to maximise efficiency and comfort in the working environment. So with this in mind you will need:
1. An ergonomic desk
So, following ergonomic rules, your work desk should be high enough for you to rest your arms flat on it, and for your eyes to either be on the same level or just a couple of inches above the top of your computer. This helps maintain an upright posture and reduces the strain your eyes get from staring at the computer screen for many hours.
The width of the desk should be determined by how much material you will be using on a regular basis to work. For instance, if you use a lot of books to work, then a tiny desk is not ideal.
2. A comfortable yet work-friendly chair
You shouldn’t use a wooden chair (unless it has cushions) for your work chair because it will hurt your back. However, you should also avoid super cushiony chairs that will make you fall asleep. The best chair is one that you can adjust the levels so that you are always at the right eye level in relation to your computer, and that enables you to sit up straight, with little strain on your back. But the key thing is to get a chair you’ll love to sit on every day.
A lot of offices tend to be dark and unwelcoming. Simply put, they are not environments that inspire and motivate people. Well, your home office is your opportunity to create a work environment that keeps you productive and creative.
3. Consider lighting
Many people have the tendency to set up their home office in the dark corner of a room because they think that the fewer distractions they have the more productive they’ll be. However, it’s actually beneficial to have your work space close to a window where you can get some natural light. Additionally, make sure that your desk is parallel to the window and that you are not directly facing outside (which may be distracting). Also, either get window panels or curtains to block the sunlight when it gets too bright.
Nevertheless, you also need to invest in some good quality table lamps and bulbs, as they will come in handy when you work at night.
4. Add a ‘creativity corner’
A big part of working is brainstorming and think ideas through, so in addition to your workstation, you should also have a ‘creativity corner’ in your home office. This should be in the same general area as your work desk and not in a separate room. You can have a comfy cushion where you can put your legs up and do some reading, writing, and general thinking. If you have space, you should also add a small table next to it where you can make some coffee or tea. Remember, the best workers are the happiest. So indulge in a ‘creativity corner’ and you’ll surely be more productive – though make sure to set an alarm if you plan to take a nap!
5. Personalise your workspace
You should definitely add touches of your personality to your home office. In addition to pictures and mementoes, these could include:
- Plants (that add positive energy to space)
- A piece of art or decoration that inspires you
- Quotes that motivate you
- A whiteboard where you write ideas and goals on
And anything else that gets your creative and strategic juices flowing.
6. Noise-cancelling headphones
While you may have a quiet space to work, sometimes you may need extra help to block the distracting noises in your house or neighbourhood in general. Moreover, you can also use the headphones to play some music that helps you concentrate, and also improve your hearing during Skype calls with your co-workers.
While it’s important to ensure that your home office is a space that you enjoy being in, it also needs to be functional and convenient. So make sure you have:
7. A printer
While there are printing and photocopy shops scattered through the city, having your own printer (preferably a multi-functional one that also faxes and photocopies), will enable you to do small tasks quickly without wasting time trying to locate a shop.
8. A power bank for your laptop or computer
Given that unpredictable power cuts are common in Tanzania, getting a power bank to not only charge your phone but also your laptop could save you from being inconvenienced and inefficient when the electricity goes off.
9. An external hard drive
If your laptop or desktop gets damaged, having an external drive with all your work could literally save your life (or job). Though you should also have a backup of your work online, in case something happens to your hard drive.
10. Storage space
The last thing you want is to misplace important work documents or consistently waste time trying to find a book or pen. To avoid this, you will need some storage space to organise your files, books, as well as keep stationery like pencils, pens, staplers, hole punchers, and more. You can get a cabinet, a bookshelf, or even small storage containers. It all depends on how much space you have, and how much stuff you need to store away.
Create a space you won’t want to leave
Most people can’t wait for the clock to strike 5 pm so that they can quickly leave the office and head home. So, if you are lucky enough to work from home, make the most out of the opportunity and create a space that you’ll love and never want to leave. And remember, you don’t need a lot of space or a big budget to transform a part of your home into an office. All you need are these 10 tips!