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As many of us are faced with the prospect of working at home for the foreseeable future, it’s worth looking at ways to improve your set up so you can be more productive and comfortable while you work. We take a look at how to create the perfect home office set up for 2021.
As many of us had to find a space to work at home at very short notice, we’ve ended up working from the dining table, at the kitchen counter, or perched on the sofa using a side table as a desk. But if you’re going to be working from home into the new year then now is the time to invest in a good chair and desk.
Having a dedicated desk space that’s big enough for you isn’t just going to help you get into the right mindset for work, it’s also going to ensure that you aren't creating neck and back problems further down the line. Desks and chairs in offices are usually set up to be the right height and size so that you don’t have to hunch over or strain to see your screen — so it’s important to take the same care with your office setup at home.
If possible look for a desk that can be adjusted to a standing desk when you need a change from sitting down. A standing desk can offer a lot of benefits, especially as working from home probably means you aren’t as active as you are in the office — there’s no commute, no lunch break stroll, and less walking to and from meetings. Choose a chair that allows you to adjust the height and the backrest so that it can be adapted to you and properly supports your back.
When you’re updating your home office setup try moving it to somewhere new in your home. Changing where you’re working (and not just moving to the couch) is a good way to change things up and give yourself a new lease of motivation.
Staying productive is one of the most important things to focus on when you're working from home. It's easy to feel like you're not getting as much done at home, whether it's because you feel less motivated or more distracted — so it's important to find ways of defining and measuring productivity.
You need to consider what is productivity and what it means for the work that you're doing. Start by setting yourself short term and long term goals — aligned with deadlines and time frames that you have to get things done in, but that also push you to be more efficient.
And then you should set yourself up with the right tools to help with productivity while you're working from home. Tools and software are going to be just as important to your home office set up as a desk and chair.
The importance of natural light shouldn't be underestimated. It can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health, and getting enough light helps you to stay focused and motivated.
Artificial lights are okay when it's dark or there's no alternative, but try to position your desk near a window, draw the curtains or roll up the blinds, and move anything that might be blocking the light. If you're in a room with only a small window then use mirrors to bounce the light around the room and make it feel brighter.
You've found a good space to work in, you've got a desk and a chair, so now you need to optimise your desk setup.
If you're going to be working from home long term then you probably need everything you would have in a normal office. Working on a laptop is okay for a short while, but you should consider investing in a second screen, keyboard and mouse. An external screen can be adjusted to the right height so that you don't have to hunch over your laptop for hours every day, and you won't have to switch between tasks and tabs as much when you work.
Noise-cancelling headphones can also be a good investment, you might not be dealing with the usual office sounds but noisy neighbours or building projects can be just as distracting.
Make sure you've got a file or drawers to keep your paperwork and notes organised and set yourself up with pens and papers to scribble things down when you need to. You need to be able to keep your desk tidy and have everything you might need within easy reach so you don't waste any time looking for things throughout the day.
Another small but important part of the perfect home office set up is keeping it clean and tidy. It's all too easy to end up with piles of paperwork, old coffee cups and plates stacked up.
Get into the habit of clearing off your desk at the end of each day after you've closed down your computer. Throw out your rubbish, wash up your cups, and file away any paper. And once a week do a proper clean of your office space so that it feels tidy and professional when you start work.
If you’re working from home into the new year, then it’s worth spending some time and money investing in a better set up so that you can improve your productivity. Creating the perfect home office is all about finding the right set up that allows you to be comfortable, stay focused, and minimises any distractions, while also keeping down the cost.
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