The coronavirus pandemic heralded a new age for the working adult, as work-from-home agreements became an emergency norm at the height of the pandemic. Today, with lockdown restrictions a distant memory, remote work has remained. It is a popular policy, and one expected to apply to 25% of positions by the end of the year.
If you’re about to take a remote working position for the first time, you may be wondering how to go about preparing. Here are some key tips for creating the optimal home space – and for setting yourself boundaries.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
A good first step is to create a dedicating working space for yourself. Many remote workers are content with the couch or their kitchen table when setting up a home office, but these environments are not conducive to comfortable or productive work.
If possible, you should set a room aside for your work. You can fill this room with documents, equipment and ergonomic furniture to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. This room will shield you from the distractions afforded by your home, guaranteeing a quiet environment to receive video calls and work sensibly.
Get a Good Set-Up
A good workspace is only as good as your working set-up, though. You will need a computer to work, but you will also need a number of peripherals to improve your effectiveness and productivity. A keyboard and mouse set is a given, as are ergonomic additions such as a laptop stand and gel pad for your wrists.
You will still need to communicate with your boss, department and immediate team, meaning you will need relevant communication equipment. A pair of headphones with a built-in microphone can make calls with clients and team members easier to manage and more private; a high-quality third-party webcam can improve the quality of your remote presentations and meetings.
If you have spare monitors lying around, you may be able to connect them to your PC with DVI cables – giving you a multi-screen set-up and the ability to multi-task without crowding your desktop. You may have other gadgets that can improve your workflow too, such as a pen scanner for swift scanning of important paper documents.
While the uninformed may think that the biggest challenge facing the home worker is motivation, it is often the opposite that’s true. Home workers do not have the regimen of an office-working schedule to keep to, past recommendations for starting and finishing hours.
Home workers may be inclined to work harder to justify their remote status. The impulse can also be to carry on work well past the end of your working day. Both of these can increase the chance of stress-related burnout significantly.
With this in mind, you should take care to pace yourself throughout the day. Create a relatively rigid work schedule and keep to it. Switch off your work laptop after you finish with your workday – and don’t switch it on until the start of the next.