It has been said that 4.3 million, or 32%, of working Australians have been working from home since the beginning of the COVID-19 shut down. Because of this, Zoom calls in the living room and rolling out of bed and into the ‘office’ have become an everyday reality for many across the country, as well as the rest of the world.
Even before the pandemic began, a lot of Australians were working from home and, therefore, a functional home office has become a necessary addition when building or renovating. According to a Houzz report, 11% of renovating homeowners had added or upgraded their home office in 2019.
Having a proper space where productivity can flourish and KPIs can be achieved could make a world of difference while we are working away from our regular office. If you are setting up your home office, here are 20 tips to help you create a comfortable and productive environment.
1. Plan out what you need ahead of time
It’s important to figure out what you need for your home office ahead of time so you can map out what it would look like, as well as your budget. Once you have your space, measure it out and make a list of what you need for your specific job. It could be a real nightmare if you buy your desk or a storage unit only to later find out that it takes too much space or doesn’t fit at all. There are a range of measuring tapes available at Bunnings.
2. Pick a spot that is dedicated to work
Although one of the best things about working from home is the ability to work anywhere and move around, sticking to one place may be better for your productivity and ability to keep a balance between work and personal life. Choosing a particular area to develop into a home office can be the best way to do this.
3. Invest in a good desk
Finding a strong, sturdy desk is one of the best places to start when thinking about the essential furniture you would need for your brand new office home. Your desk should be of good quality, with a large surface area to ensure you have enough space for all of your equipment. Koala’s new WFH desk has a stylish, modern design, is easy to assemble and can be pulled apart and packed away if required.
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4. Set up your laptop with a monitor
Although most people may work from their laptop so they can be more remote around the house, however, hooking it up to a monitor while you’re at your desk may be a good idea for ergonomic reasons given the best viewing angle should be between 10° to 30° below the line of sight. For this reason, using a monitor may allow you to keep your neck at this angle throughout your work day. Check out JB HI-FI for a range of monitors to find one that fits your needs and price range.
5. Invest in an ergonomic office chair
Speaking of the ergonomic position, having a comfortable office chair will also help you maintain a healthy posture and avoid having to deal with back, shoulder and neck pain while stuck at home. While armrests are optional, they could help you keep your forearms in the correct position through the day. There are plenty of different ergonomic chairs to choose from at Officeworks.
6. Keep the cords neat and tidy
Having a number of devices that require cords, for example chargers, can become messy and dangerous if they are not kept neat and tidy. This is why it is important to make sure you are able to plug your devices in safely. Investing in extension cords from Kmart may be the solution you need.
7. Consider adding power surge protectors
With all the extra electricity that will be pumping through your house over this period, you may want to make sure you are protecting your devices as you overuse them. One way you could do this is by buying a power surge protector for you to plug all your devices into. Bunnings has a wide range of power boards to try at an affordable price.
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8. Have a separate work phone
Keeping the separation between your work and personal lives is essential while working from home. A great way to do this is to have a separate phone for any work calls, rather than having customers or clients call your personal mobile phone. Add a cordless handset from Telstra to your desk and add that number to your email signature to make sure business calls are limited to your home office.
9. Have the right software
If you are forced to work from our personal devices during this work-from-home period, it is important to ensure you have the right software to complete your daily tasks. Whether it be Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop or Final Cut Pro, you can purchase everything you need at Officeworks.
10. Check your connection speed
Making sure you have a fast internet speed is essential for anyone who is required to be online for their daily tasks. Updating your router may be your best bet if your connection needs improvements. Although your internet provider may be able to help you out, purchasing a new router from JB Hi-Fi may be a good alternative.
11. Don’t forget your headphones
Since you will be doing more virtual meetings and have more time alone, it may be a good idea to invest in some high quality headphones. This will not only allow you to keep yourself motivated throughout the day with music, but it will also allow you to listen to your colleagues more clearly during your weekly catch-up. JB Hi-Fi has a range of headphones with different features including over-ear, in-ear or wireless, so you can get the ones that are right for you.
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12. Stay protected
Now that you are working from home, you may need to think about keeping your work secure and protected from hackers or viruses. There is plenty of security software that can help with this available at Officeworks, even if it’s just to give you peace of mind so you can have a good night’s sleep.
13. Think about the lighting
In your own home office, you finally have the ability to control the elements, including lighting. Making sure you have the right lighting to keep you motivated is key to having a successful and productivity work week. If getting some natural light from a window isn’t an option or if you just need a bit more, Kmart has some stylish desk lights that you can add to your decor.
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14. Consider the amount of people who need it
You may not be the only one in your household working from home, so it may be worth creating a home office that you can all use. Think about your individual jobs and figure out how you can make it work with your brand new colleagues. If you prefer to keep to yourself to make sure you don’t get distracted, you can include some desk dividers from Officeworks to keep some separation between you and your housemates.
15. Know your work hours
While we are working from home and can therefore skip the hassle of the commute, you may be able to shift the hours that you work. It is important to keep track of any changes to make sure you are able to manage your time and stick to these hours. Writing your to-do list in a planner from kikki.K might be a great way to do this (while giving your eyes a rest from the screen).
16. Make sure you have a way to keep track of time
It can be easy to lose track of time while working, especially if you don’t have a train to catch. Although we have the time on our phones and computers, it might be good to add a more old-school way to check the time, that being a wall or desk clock from Kmart, as a little reminder to take regular breaks and finish up on time.
17. Ensure you have enough storage
It’s common knowledge that a clean workspace could help improve your ability to work. To minimise clutter in your home office, you may require additional storage, such as shelves, drawers, cupboards or bookcases, to keep your work space nice and clean. Officeworks offers a number of storage solutions to help you get all your office essentials organised.
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18. Add some colour and personality
Your home office doesn’t have to be a boring room with four white walls, a desk and a chair. Try making it more warm and cozy by adding a little colour using funky furniture or a bright new coat of paint. You can even give yourself a little DIY project and give one of your existing pieces of furniture a face-lift. Bunnings has a wide range of paint to choose from so you can create your own statement piece for your office.
19. Have some space for exercise
It’s important to balance out life and work while working from home so don’t forget to set aside some time for a break. Setting up a space where you can do some yoga or stretches during your lunch hour could be a great way to remind yourself to get up from your desk. Kmart has some yoga mats and resistance bands so you can have an ever-ready fitness space right beside your desk.
20. Keep all your receipts
Your number one rule when buying all your new office accessories should be to keep all your receipts. You’ll be able to claim any work expenses when you lodge your tax return including your furniture, stationary and gadgets, as well as 80 cents per hour for all running expenses. Keep all of your receipts safe and sound in a folder from Officeworks.
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Words by Jessica Testa
- Working in a Sitting Position – Good Body Position
- 2020 Houzz & Home Australia
- Measuring Tape
- Office Works
- Kikki K
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