How to set up your home office
Whether you are new to working from home or you're a seasoned veteran, here are our top tips.
1. Create a dedicated space
Depending on your apartment or home size, create an area where you cannot be distracted by children, partners, housemates and even your pets who we are sure love to help!
If you can avoid it, keep your bedroom and leisure spaces as sacred spaces. This way you’ll be able to keep the experience of going to work and leaving work within your own home.
2. Be inventive with ergonomics
Get creative and upcycle. You’ll be surprised at how much you already have. A new workspace doesn’t need to mean expensive purchases. By achieving a comfortable, productive and satisfying office environment, the risk of any musculoskeletal complaints would also be minimised.
- Use books to elevate your monitor or laptop to keep it at eye level
- Add a pillow to your lower back
- Create a stand-up desk
- Set up your workspace using the 90-degree method
- Ensure you are not looking down at your phone, tablet or monitor
- Keep your receipts – anything you do end up purchasing could be tax deductible
For more information check out Safework Australia.
3. Dress for success
Working from home already affects normal daily routines, don’t let getting dressed be one of them. Studies show that dressing for success is a useful strategy to being productive and connected to your workplace while you’re at home. We’re not talking 3-piece suits and heels, but we suggest you dress as if you were going in for a casual workday in the office. It also helps for all those virtual meetings where you’ll be seeing your colleagues on camera!
4. Add plants or greenery
Bring natural elements into your space or set it up your desk in an area with a view. Plants essentially do the opposite of what we do when we breathe: release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. This not only freshens up the air, but also eliminates harmful toxins. Extensive research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxin in 24 hours. Studies have also proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15 percent!), reduce stress levels and boost your mood — making them perfect for not just your home but your workspace, too.
5. Take breaks and ensure you have the essentials with you
One of the biggest distractions in your day will be your ability to walk to the fridge or put the kettle on. Set dedicated meal breaks and stick to them, and even coordinate with a colleague and share a meal over the internet.
Ensure you have water, tea or coffee with you prior to sitting down in your space.
6. Move every 30 to 60 minutes
As mentioned above Safe Work Australia is a great resource of information should you wish to know or read more. It is advised to move your body, even if it is stretching your arms above your head, every 30 to 60 minutes. You know it improves your heart, but did you know it improves your brain? Exercise clears brain fog, while improving memory and focus.
7. Promote serenity in your new office
Remove yourself from the toxic news space and try to avoid starting your day by reading the headlines. Reduce or limit your social media intake while in the ‘office’. Most smart phones allow you to set a daily limit so take the necessary steps to be the most productive you!
- Iphone – Go into your settings > screen time > App Limits > Social Networking > (select your culprits) > set a time limit (15 minutes a day is enough!). There is an option to customise days if you would like to allocate more time on specific day
- Android – Download Appblock. Choose which apps you can block notifications and set a schedule for social media free time.
8. Utilise your saved commute time
You’ve just acquired as much as two additional hours of stress-free time each day. The API’s recommendation is to utilise those additional hours with productive activities. Continue with your old schedule and do something productive at the time when you were due to leave the house. Get active, either with an online yoga session, some stretching or a meditation practice. When you finish work for the day it could be the time to start that home renovation project!
9. Schedule your work day, particularly with your family
If you haven’t worked from home before, a core component is setting a schedule for your day. This sets the agenda for you, your family and your colleagues.
Setting a schedule allows your family to respect your office hours. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated office space where you can close the door. We all remember the BBC news interview where the kids gatecrashed.
A start time, lunch and finish should be penciled in at the very least. As you won’t be commuting home it can be hard for people to know when to turn off the computer. Setting a finish time allows you to comfortably power down and relax.
10. Stay connected
Working from home can feel isolating. The top tip which we use in the Australian Property Institute offices (home offices) is to connect with colleagues via video chat rather than phone calls. Just like social media, this visual interaction and exchange allows our minds to feel connected to a community. This is especially important to extroverts.
If feel like you need some extra support, visit BeyondBlue for some useful services to reach out to.
Andrew Milne – Member Services Manager, Queensland
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