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Mastering the Art of Working From Home

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working from home office

There are many reasons why businesses want staff to work from home at least part of the week. If you’re considering a new role and it requires you to work from home and this is new for you there’s a lot to consider and set up to make it work for you.

Why do organizations want you to work from home?

When staff spend part or all of the week working from home, businesses can reduce their overheads like office space, and use of utilities and general office supplies.

Additionally if the company is in an area that requires them to pay commuting subsidies this overhead is reduced when staff are not all coming into the office every work day.

However while employers can reap benefits from hybrid working, there are not all one-sided as workers too can enjoy the remote work set up.

Employee satisfaction and happiness is higher with workers that spend part of the working week at home. They have a better work-life balance.

There are also less in-office distractions too so productivity is higher. This is a win-win for the workers and employers.

However the honeymoon may be short lived if the remote work set up is inadequate.

1. Creating The Optimum Home Workspace

It’s important to set up a good space to work in that allows you to be comfortable and relaxed yet focused and productive.  You’ll want a distraction free environment that allows you to focus on the task at hand, and ideally, a feeling that differentiates your ‘home’ from your ‘home office’.

What is required to achieve the ideal home office set up?

Choose the most appropriate room or area

The first step, in setting up your home office is to identify where in your home you can have a dedicated space for work. If it’s a spare room or corner of a living area you can need to first rid it of stuff that will distract you. Decluttering the space will give you a blank canvas so you can create the ideal environment for concentration and productivity.

Furniture

There’s a very strong chance you’ll need an ergonomic workstation desk, even if you are working from a laptop. Choose an electric stand-sit desk as it will give you the option of standing or sitting throughout the day. Choose the best ergonomic chair you can affort to ensure you can physically support yourself comfortably so your focus is on your work.

The most basic office furniture checklist for a home office comprises a work desk, supportive chair, a bright lamp or overhead lighting, and ideally an chair or sofa too for reading or resting.

2. Home Tech Set Pp

Working from home (WFH) is not just about having somewhere to work, it’s also about having the appropriate secure technology infrastructure. The onus is on the organization to ensure their workers have a reliable internet connection, hardware and software, cybersecurity and remote access solutions and access to technical support when required.

Internet connection

Your usual home internet speed requirements may not be adequate for WFH. For example using video conferencing and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, or Slack require high speed internet connection. It’s likely you will need to change your internet plan which may be a cost you’re not willing to absorb. When your using the internet during your WFH time, there’s a chance you can be reimbursed so make sure you ask your employer.

Are you backing up your devices? Setting up a backup solution will be necessary and a cloud-based solution may be another expense your business pays for, not you.

Devices

That ancient laptop or desktop is unlikely to be sufficient for WFH. You will need hardware with adequate memory and processing power and the usual peripherals including mouse, keyboard, monitor and maybe a docking station.

Additionally for video conferencing you may need a headset, and if you’ve not got a laptop with an integrated webcam, you’ll need one for video meetings. Who pays for all this new technology? Ask your employer and negotiate a satisfactory outcome. Often the employer will purchase the equipment and you use it at home, returning it when required i.e. if you leave your job.

Software

Maximize remote working potential by using various software applications for communication, collaboration, and workflow management. We’ve mentioned storage for backups, however you’ll also need storage for files. Choose a cloud-based storage solution. Your business will more than likely use one like Google Drive, Amazon S3 or OneDrive.

Another consideration is what system you use to ensure you’ve got secure access to company networks. A VPN is the go-to solution and with it you can enable it while you’re working from anywhere, including your home, a cafe, shared office, airport terminal etc.

Security

Your employer will want your devices secure against cyber threats including malware and viruses. You’ll need a firewall and endpoint security to protect data.

Other cybersecurity measures will include your employer having a SOC to manage cybersecurity policies, tools and responses including remote working environments.

There are actions you need to take too, including using MFA (multifactor authentication) and managing software and apps updates to plug vulnerabilities.

Plus commit to engaging in training and learning about your employer’s security policies and cybersecurity practices like phishing.

3. Create A Routine

Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, your commute is now limited to going from your bedroom to your home office, which has huge convenience benefits, but it can create a less focused emotional state if you’re used to a morning ritual of getting dressed in business attire (rather than sweatpants or your dressing gown) and being around colleagues in a similar state of ‘working’.

Working from home can be a lonely experience that might, at times, make you feel quite isolated.  The most important thing in terms of having a routine is that it provides structure and keeps you focused.

Schedule

Set the same work hours as are required for working in the office. This also means you would set yourself a lunch hour too. Remember to leave the ‘office’ at your usual time. There is a tendency to work longer hours when you’re remote working. Consider how this action impacts on your work-life balance and overall enjoyment of working from home.

Mindset

What also works for getting into the working mindset is to perhaps even get dressed for work, as if you were going to the office, and let your family know that when you are in the home office and that it is not an open-door rather they should treat it as though you are out of the house.

Take micropauses and breaks

Be mindful on your wellbeing when you’re in front of the computer. Take micro-pauses and physical breaks throughout the day just like you would in the office. This action is for your physical and mental health.

Leave The Work In The Office

Finally, to make the most of working from home, it pays to leave the work in your home office. When your work day ends shut the door to signal the end of it.

If you can do an activity that transitions you from work to your personal life. Going for a run, or exercise class or doing a hobby are great ways to wind down and be refreshed for your personal and home life.