More and more Australians are discovering the benefits and comforts of working from home as the future of work becomes more mobile, whether you’re a busy parent, or need to travel a lot, it should be an option for every employee..
Whether you’re working for yourself, as a contractor, or have an arrangement with your employer, working from home gives you a greater degree of flexibility and the ability to achieve the work-life balance that’s right for you – it has also been proven to increase productivity and performance in many cases!
But working from home also means greater time management, and responsibility for the environment in which you work to ensure productivity is not compromised. Some of the services provided in an office might not be so easily replicated in your home so you’ll need to think carefully about how you work best and what sort of surroundings will enable you to do your best work.
Here are ten tips on creating the right work environment from home
1. Finally, you get to control the temperature!
One thing is always certain in a shared office environment – someone’s going to complain it’s too hot or too cold! But, if you’re working from home you only have to suit yourself. Look at the space you’re in and think about what kind of heating and cooling arrangements you might have to make to be comfortable. The general rule of thumb for temperature is between 20 to 26 degrees Celsius, with men generally preferring things slightly cooler and women a bit warmer.
2. Have something nice to look at.
Now that you’ve cleared out the guest room and put a desk against the brick wall, there’s not too much else happening visually except for a slightly worn out and sad looking “Hang in there, Baby” poster. It’s all a bit glum, really. This is not a visual environment conducive to happiness, creativity and productivity.
Take pride in your office buy hanging some colourful or inspiring prints, clear away any clutter and make the best of any window view your new office might afford you with.
Also, keep in mind with more video conferencing happening these days, check what people see behind your head when they’re peering into your office via webcam.
3. Make sure it’s ergonomic and safe.
A lot more thought is put into how office furniture and environment affects our health. Ergonomically designed chairs, standing desks and making sure we stretch our bodies are all common practise in workplaces. Along with the basics of office furniture, you should also check that things like electrical wiring is all up to scratch and your computer screen is at the correct height.
4. Keep distractions at bay.
The beauty of a home office is that you are free to manage your time and actions according to your schedule, not someone else’s. But this means you also have to make sure you’re not getting too distracted by nearby external influencers, like cleaning up the house or knocking together that garage shelving unit you’ve been meaning to get to.
Set some rules about breaks and try to restrict traditional ‘out of office hours’ errands.
5. Make sure it’s an office.
Plonking your laptop on a messy kitchen table does not an office make. Sure, it will do in a pinch and you’ll probably get a few hours of work done, but it’s not an ideal situation for ongoing work. Even if all you can use at this stage is the kitchen table, do all you can to make it the best office space. But ideally, you should aim for a dedicated room where you can get into the zone.
6. Can you get online?
It’s a rare business that doesn’t need phone and internet these days, so make sure your home office space has the infrastructure to support at least ADSL phone line internet. This will be a cheaper option than tethering your phone to a dongle or hot spot connection. Check with your internet service provider and employer about what services might best suit you.
7. Get the right equipment
Along with ergonomic office furniture, you’ll probably need shelving, possibly a safe box, filing cabinets, fax/printer, whiteboard, etc. Think about what you used in your old office and then work out what you’re probably still going to need. There are plenty of cheaper options than buying everything new, so look around and allocate your budget accordingly.
8. What’s going to inspire you?
You’ve got all the fundamentals in place – desk, chair, computer, lighting. Now you need those final, finishing touches that will really elevate your space and inspire you. Look for a really funky sofa or rug that makes the space yours; buy a decent set of speakers if you enjoy listening to music while you work or dot some scented candles about the place. This is your space; make it work for you!
9. It might be boring, but insurance is important
Don’t get caught out thinking it’s not going to happen to you. Look at the investment you’ve made in your home office and get the appropriate insurance to cover you for things like fire, theft and damages. It’s your livelihood, so why risk it?
10. Maintain a presence
Being at home can sometimes make you feel disconnected from colleagues, both professionally and socially. However – if you establish good communication this doesn’t have to be an issue. Keep looped in and maintain a presence by picking up the phone and speaking to them, or teleconference when you can for some face-time rather than sending an email.
About the Author :
Kara Norris is the Chief Marketing Officer for Carpet Court, Australia’s largest retail floor covering specialist.
Choosing the right flooring is a crucial decision. After all, it’s something you and your family will live with for years to come. Just as important, is who you choose to buy your flooring from. Carpet Court takes great pride in its reputation for expertise and advice based on our superior product knowledge. Each Carpet Court Store is locally owned and operated which means they go out of their way to give you the best possible value, service and advice. The Carpet Court Group has enormous bulk buying power so rest assured, you’ll be getting the very best deal there is. They also only employ the most skilled and experienced carpet layers so from their floor to your floor, satisfaction is their priority.
Carpet Court are proud sponsors of Ausmumpreneurs