In 2020, suddenly many individuals began working from home who had never been able to before. For many people, this was a convenient and comfortable option. For others, however, it was difficult to adjust to working at home in a space that simply wasn’t designed for work. As we move into the second year of the pandemic in the United States, it’s time to begin thinking about ways to make sure that your home is equipped for remote work. After all, working remotely is more common than ever before, and even after most people are vaccinated, it may become necessary to work from home from time to time due to new COVID-19 variants, outbreaks in specific areas, and other health issues.
There are numerous ways that you can make sure that your home is equipped for remote work. You’ll need a dedicated workspace, high-speed internet, VOIP, and virtual office space. You’ll also need any basic office equipment that you need throughout the day, as well as office supplies. Your workplace may supply some of these items, others you may have to supply on your own. However, it’s also important to spend some time making sure that you and your family are as comfortable as possible in your home throughout your workday. Keeping everyone happy and comfortable may be as simple as adding some new office equipment, or it may be more complex depending on your specific living situation.
This article will discuss a variety of ways that you can make affordable home renovations to make sure that everyone has the time they need to focus, the office space that they need, and the equipment that they need to accomplish their work.
Prepare a Private Workspace
As you adjust to working from home, one important part of making sure your home is equipped for remote work is to prepare a workspace that is private. This is especially important if you live with a partner, a roommate, or have children. Otherwise, you may find that you’re in the middle of a video meeting and someone wanders through with an important question. As you set up virtual offices for the adults in your family, do your best to select rooms with doors that close. This allows you to place do not disturb signs on them as necessary so that it’s clear when you are able to have visitors and when you should be left to go about your work.
As you set up your workspace, you may also need to design a space for your children to do their schoolwork or your partner to handle their daily paperwork. Providing each member of your household with their own space for handling paperwork and computer work is a great way to keep everyone as comfortable as possible while working and schooling remotely. Consider putting each member of the family in a different room throughout the day so that they can have the silence they require. Or, if you’d rather enjoy a more social experience, consider who can and cannot share office space in your home.
Ensure Your Home is a Comfortable Temperature
It’s also important to make sure that your entire home, but especially the area that you’ll be working in throughout the day, is a comfortable temperature. If your house is older or drafty, this may mean contacting an AC repair service or a heating repair service. However, it’s well worth it to make sure that you aren’t freezing for hours each day, or uncomfortably sweating due to a broken HVAC unit. It is difficult to focus on your work if you’re physically uncomfortable, so making sure that your home’s heating repair service and AC repair service are performed is especially important.
If you’ll be working from home for an extended amount of time and your home is uncomfortable, it may be worth having some repairs done so that you can focus more effectively throughout the day. After all, if you’re dealing with drafty windows or a heater that doesn’t work for a few hours in the evening after work, it’s not always a big deal. But when you’re stuck at home 24 hours a day, every day, it becomes more important to handle the issues. Contact a local window installation service to learn more about having drafts repaired. Many offer free estimates, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the price.
Be Sure Your Family Understands Your Boundaries
If you’ll be working from home full time, it’s important that everyone in your household understands the “new normal”. You may need to consider rearranging some spaces to create your office area, and it may be wise to plan a family meeting to discuss how the household living situation will be changing. Small children may need help understanding the rules, while older children may thrive with more independence.
Setting new boundaries and helping make sure that everyone is clear about them can help avoid frustration and difficulty throughout the day. This is especially true if the number of computers in the household is limited, or if your internet access slows down if someone else is streaming or playing video games. While you may be able to upgrade your service to prevent this type of issue, it’s also important that everyone learn to negotiate boundaries around your existing amenities.
Consider Rearranging or Remodeling Your Home
As businesses and employees adjust to the pandemic, working from home is becoming more normalized. If it looks as if you’ll be working from home long term, it may make sense to consider rearranging the furniture in your house to accommodate the situation. Or, if you own your home, it might even make sense to consider remodeling your home to add extra office space.
Talented basement remodeling services can help you add the space that you need so that you can work from home full time and have enough room to be comfortable. This may mean adding extra office space, bathroom remodeling, or adjusting closet space so that you have more room to store office equipment. For example, if you have numerous people home throughout the day, it makes sense to consider adding an extra bathroom, instead of trying to use travel antibacterial spray for all the extra hand washing the pandemic has added to our lives. Simple changes like these can dramatically increase everyone’s overall comfort level when lockdowns become necessary locally.
Invest in Essential Office Equipment
As you settle into a home office space, it’s important that you invest in any office equipment that you need in order to do your job well. Your job may provide some items for you, like a laptop, but in many cases, you’ll need to purchase other items yourself. Don’t be afraid to buy office equipment that may make it easier to do your job from home.
A high-quality keyboard, headset, or organizational items may help ensure that you can stay focused as necessary while working from home. Items like folding privacy screens and bookshelves, for example, may be a great way to block off the office space that you need without actually remodeling. Task lamps may turn a dim corner of your home into the perfect space to work. Investing in office equipment can make it far easier for you to accomplish your job, and may help limit the amount of frustration that you experience.
This also carries over to basic office supplies. If you find that you work best with a specific type of pen, paper, or notebook, go ahead and keep those on hand so that you can accomplish your best work. If you’re able to relax and work more effectively with the right kinds of disposable masks and hand sanitizer on hand, buy a few extras and keep them in stock in your home office. Investing in office supplies and equipment can go a long way toward helping you feel more comfortable working at home throughout the day.
Focus on Designing an Ergonomic Office
As you set up space to work from home, it’s important to keep your focus on designing an ergonomic office space. Otherwise, you may find yourself plopped down on the couch with your laptop, wondering why your neck hurts, and you aren’t getting anything productive accomplished.
Instead, select furniture and design elements that help support your body throughout the day while you work. Situate your desk in an area that gets plenty of light. Be sure that your monitor is correctly adjusted so that you aren’t straining your neck or back as you sit throughout the day. If you don’t have a desk chair, purchase one that will support you throughout the day and is easily adjustable.
Working from a home office shouldn’t mean that you wind up stiff and uncomfortable at the end of the day. If you find that you’re frequently dealing with headaches, neck stiffness, and lower back pain, it may be time to make some ergonomic adjustments to your workspace. This can help you be more comfortable in the long run, and can also help you avoid injuring yourself while working from home.
Make Sure You Have the Correct Online Tools
It’s also important to make sure that you invest in the correct virtual and online tools. While things like VOIP, managed hosting, antivirus software, and domain names aren’t physical items that you can touch, they’re still incredibly important to the way that we do business in the modern world.
If your business has an online presence of any type, it makes sense to purchase the best quality virtual tools that you can afford. This could mean that you opt for managed hosting from a high-quality provider, upgrade your home internet service to business class, or subscribe to a radio service so that you aren’t bored during the day while you sit at your desk. Online subscriptions for password managers, antivirus software, and social media management software can all help make your life a bit easier while you work from home. If there’s a problem that you struggle with, there may be an online solution to help you solve it.
While you adjust to working from home, it can be tempting to make do with the bare minimum. However, this can lead to general unhappiness, physical discomfort, and over time, serious health issues. Instead, it makes sense to spend a bit of time and money to set your home office up positively. After all, there’s a decent chance that you’ll be working from home at least occasionally in the future, and you may even be able to telecommute some time, depending on your job situation. Either way, you’re working from home now, and making a few changes can go a long way towards helping limit the physical strain on your body.
Consider adjusting the furniture in your home office to be more ergonomic, adding or rearranging space, and investing in physical and digital tools that can help make your workday easier to manage. If you’re having trouble with a specific comfort issue around your home, it may be time to get a quote for a professional contractor to help you solve it. Making sure that your home is as comfortable and welcoming as possible can help limit the stress and depression that often arise from being isolated at home.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, think about the points that we’ve discussed in this article and apply them to your home living and working space. Then make a list of changes that you’d like to make to the space, and list them out in order of priority. Some of them may be far easier to make than others. However, you may find that you can make a few simple improvements or inexpensive upgrades to your space and dramatically improve your comfort levels, without needing to immediately resort to rearranging or remodeling.
After all, it’s your home, and all the choices belong to you. It’s time to begin making positive changes to your space so that you can enjoy it more effectively throughout the day while you work.