24 April 2021
Amaury de Thibault
Remote working was by no means a new phenomenon at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been on the rise since the invention of the internet, and with the proliferation of personal computers, the flexibility of WiFi, etc., it’s become easier for people to work from home. However, it was never the norm until restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus shut offices worldwide and forced us all to work remotely.
But now, according to a report compiled by the World Economic Forum, the majority of workers surveyed across 29 countries want to continue working remotely full-time/on a hybrid basis, even though these restrictions have been lifted.
Yet for all the benefits of remote working, there is one thing traditional offices still have going for them: they are actually designed for work.
Adjusting to a new work-life balance during the pandemic was a struggle for many employees working from home for the first time. At Stakha, we are – and always will be – a fully remote company, and one of the things we’ve found is that if you create a designated “office space” at home, that can help keep your work life separate from your personal life.
Today, we’re here to tell you more about why that’s important and how you can create an effective WFH setup for yourself!
Multiple studies suggest that individuals are more productive and perform better when working from home. However, according to a 2020 survey conducted by Airtasker, they also work 1.4 more days a month than their office-based counterparts, and 29% of participants reported finding it hard to separate their work life from their home life.
The best way to set boundaries and maximize your productivity during working hours is to create a dedicated and functional workspace. Then, when you sit down at your desk, you’ll know it’s work time. And when you close your laptop at the end of the workday, you won’t feel like you’re still at work, which you might do if you’re working from the sofa in your living room or your kitchen table.
This will reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and lower your risk of burnout.
Setting up an ergonomic home workspace can also have a positive impact on your physical health. Working in the wrong environment can cause back pain, headaches, and muscle strain, while the right furniture and equipment has been shown to improve posture.
And did you know that employees with good posture are more confident and perform better in their jobs? According to a study by UpRight and Ernst & Young, 75% of those with good posture are more productive at work than those who slouch.
So, it’s clear: a well designed home office can improve your productivity and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Let’s take a look at what you need to build one!
5 Home Office Essentials
It may sound obvious, but in light of what we’ve said about establishing a good work-life balance, getting a desk should be top of your to-do list. This way, even if you don’t have room for an entire office, you’ll be able to create a space that’s just for work. It will help you to stick to a regular routine and switch off at the end of the day.
If you can, put an adjustable or even a standing desk in your office. Then, if you find you’re sitting too long, losing focus or feeling unfit, you can always stand up! Changing the way you work can have a huge, positive impact on both your mindset and your activity levels.
2. Ergonomic Office Chair
If you’re going to be sitting down all day, the first thing you’ll want is a comfortable chair! Ergonomic desk chairs are the best choice for home offices, because they are made specifically for the work environment (whether that’s on-site or remote).
Ergonomic chairs are designed to provide lumbar support and prevent lower back pain. Further support may be given to the back, hips, and pelvis by the addition of armrests, which should be adjusted to make sure they’re sitting at the right height to take weight off your elbows.
3. Ergonomic Keyboard
Remote workers spend a lot of hours on their computer every day, and it’s important that you look after your hands and wrists, especially when typing. With over- or improper use of your keyboard, you risk developing a repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome. Research shows that people who use ergonomic devices, such as ergonomic keyboards, are 44% less at risk of injuries in the workplace compared to those using traditional devices. So, even if you’re working from a laptop with a built-in keyboard, you may want to consider investing in a bluetooth ergonomic keyboard (plus a laptop stand) to reduce the strain on your joints.
4. Systems & Tools
Given the amount you’ll use it, it’s important to make sure your computer is up to the task of working at home. Some businesses provide remote employees with company laptops – but if that’s not the case for you, it’s important to pay attention to things like software, storage, and security. Is your device compatible, can it run the programs at the right speed, and how can you keep your work safe on your personal computer?
For security purposes, you’re recommended to download a VPN and an effective antivirus program.
5. Desk Lamp
Working in dimly lit conditions is bad for your health. It can cause eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue. The best remedy is a desk lamp with a soft tone bulb, which you can get cheaply on Amazon. Soft lighting creates a sense of calm and purpose, helping you to work at your best.
Lamplight is no substitute for natural light, however. Natural light is really good for our physical and mental health and helps improve productivity. When you’re choosing a space for your home office set up, try and find a spot near a window (and in good weather, leave it open to let the fresh air in!).
Some of these items may be costly, but if you enjoy the freedom that comes with working from home, it’s well worth the initial investment to create the right home office setup.