These simple tips will ensure that your home office set up is will be a success.
Having the option to work from home can be a huge advantage. Whether it’s the time you save on your commute or allowing you to be home for a package delivery, having a work station set up in your home is great.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2016, almost a third of employed people worked from home regularly as a part of their main job. The main motivator for working from home being catching up on work.
There are certain aspects to a home office setup that you should pay close attention to. By doing this you can ensure that your setup is personalised to your needs while also being as efficient and comfortable as possible.
One of the most important aspects of working from home is the station at which you work. By setting up your station to maximise comfort and efficiency, you can go a long way to creating a positive working environment.
Firstly, having the right setup is key. The station you’re working at, whether a personalised work desk or the dining table, should be comfortable.
Your work station should also comply with Australian Standards. According to Australian Standard 4442:1997 your work station should be large enough to allow for the completion of a variety of tasks. To do this a minimum of 1600mm x 800mm is required for surface area.
In regard to height, it is advised that your desk or table be set between 680mm and 735mm.
By using standards like these you can not only have a more productive work station but also work in a way that is injury preventative. Through correct posture at your work station there is a reduced likelihood of suffering from static muscle loads and early fatigue. This is why ergonomics is considered to be so important, particularly by the Australian government.
Desk shape should also be considered when setting up your working from home office.
Working from an L shaped desk is an ideal way to work as it can fit in the corner of your work space in give you two surfaces to work from. Using a L shaped desk could mean setting up all your tech on one surface and your notes or writing surface on the other.
A different type of desk you can use is a standing desk. Designed to allow a person to stand comfortably while working, the potential benefits of using one of these go beyond simple comfort.
For adults aged 18-64, it is vital to minimise the amount of time in your day that is spent sitting for long periods during the day. Using a standing desk can help this be done.
Using a standing desk can also have benefits to a person’s health such as reduction of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Increased fatigue
- Muscle stiffness
- Back pain
If using a standing desk is not an option or doesn’t appeal to you, taking regular breaks from work and walking around the room or standing for a little bit are things that should be incorporated into your working from home routine.
The chair at your work station is something that is also very important. Having a chair that can have its height and angle adjusted as well as being on wheels allows for a more flexible work environment. It is also important that if your chair has arm rests don’t bump into your work station as it can be quite an annoyance.
Having a quiet and private work setting is a vital element to ensure that you can maintain productivity when working from your home office. Your work environment should be relaxing and allow you to concentrate on the tasks you need to achieve.
If it is possible, having a door for your home office so you can shut out the distractions of the outside world can make all the difference to your productivity.
Therefore, picking the right location for your home office is vital. While different jobs and people will have different requirements from a home office, do what is best for you and suits your needs. For example, a central command style setup may suit a busy parent with the need to watch children where as young professionals may prefer a more tucked away space away from the flow and daily distractions of their home.
Vital to the completion of tasks in any modern workplace, having access to a strong and uninterrupted internet connection is something to consider when planning your work setting.
The advantage of having a flexible working option like working from home is that you are not bound to your home office.
It can often be beneficial to work in an environment where you interact with others. This can stop any potential feelings of isolation or loneliness that can occur if you are simply working at home.
Working from a café, library or even a co-working space with a company such as CreativeCubes.Co are just some places you can work from.
It can be the case that you may need to create an environment that has an office feel to it to maintain focus and productivity.
While maintaining your motivation can be a difficult if you are by yourself, there are certain strategies you can put in place you stay focussed and productive. For example:
- Charting your progress
- Using smaller, more achievable goals
- Reward yourself for progress made
- Keeping a positive mindset.
What you use to motivate yourself should be tailored to your individual needs. As what works for you may not necessarily work for someone else.
Good lighting is a very important part of any home office. If possible, choose a location that receives plenty of natural light.
A way to make the best of the natural light is to put your desk facing a window or somewhere your computer screen will not be affected. Decent window shades or blinds can help reduce any glare without eliminating all light from your room. Another step you can take is using translucent windows to allow the light in.
Natural light can be enhanced by including a mirror in the room. It can also add a touch of style to your home office.
An overhead ceiling light will generally provide good lighting that when combined with natural light can light your home office quite well.
One of the more important aspects to your home office however is having adequate light at your work station. For this reason, having a desk lamp is vital.
Large stand up lamps can be placed in the corners of your office to generate more light if it is needed. They can also be matched to the general décor of your home office to make a complete look across all your chosen furnishings.
Having adequate storage for your home office is an important part of staying organised.
For the traditionalists, having a filing cabinet as a part of your home office setup is a great step to maintaining organisation. Tuck a smaller one under your desk or a larger cabinet in the corner for all your document and general storage needs.
Incorporating a bookcase into your home office is a great way to combine work storage with personal items. Whether that is through picture frames or your favourite books, it is an excellent means of storage that adds a touch of class and is practical.
When considering storage think about your work flow. Knowing where documents will sit for the duration you are working on them and where they go once they are not done anymore is an important step to maintaining order in your home office.
Decorating your home office so that you feel like it is a personalised space can be an important step to feeling comfortable in your home office setting.
Some things you can use to really personalise your space are:
- Family pictures
- Large potted plants
- Small potted plants (succulents or cacti)
- A small rug
- The colour schemes.
The important thing about the decoration is that you have chosen it. It is personalised to your space and is something that you can be proud of.
Why work from home?
Lifestyle and family play a huge role in deciding whether to have a dedicated home office. For those that have a long commute to work, even just one day working from home can be a relief.
Even those that live in metropolitan areas can avoid the stresses of traffic or public transport problems by having a designated working from home office.
Possibly the best benefit to working from home though is the control it grants you over your schedule. When working from home your work hours are customisable and can meet the needs of your personal and family life. If you think you need to take a post lunch nap then you can. Likewise, working from home grants you extra time that will turn that quick trot with the dog into a full-on walk.
If you work best at night your schedule can be tailored around that too.
Having a set up home office can also be more casual and have a relaxed feel to it, which may work better for some.
Another benefit to having a home office set up is that you can potentially claim back a number of expenses on your tax.
When you have a dedicated home office or work area, you may be able to claim running expenses such as:
- Home office equipment
- Heating, cooling, lighting
- Cleaning costs
- Computer consumables and stationary.
For an accurate way to calculate your expenses, The Australian Taxation Office provides an official guide to home office expenses and get a better understanding of how a home office can be a tax deduction.