Now that so many of us have adopted a hybrid working environment, what are the essentials of the ideal work from home office setup? For many people, the idea of a home office was a luxury that they didn’t consider a priority. And then BAM! The global pandemic struck! Suddenly most office-based workers were forced to work from home, somehow making space in their homes, whether on the sofa with a laptop or at the kitchen table.
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And then the schools upped their homeschooling programme, and suddenly the kitchen table was taken over by the kids, and the sofa was full of the laundry that used to live on the dining table – don’t lie, you know I’m right! At that point, we were forced to consider the essentials for a work from home office setup.
It didn’t stop there …
When three weeks turned into three months, many of us realised that this might be a more long term situation. I remember trying to find a desk and an office chair on the Facebook marketplace, only to find that the cost of 2nd hand furniture was almost the same as new if you were lucky enough even to find something!
Most restrictions were finally lifted a few months ago, and most people have gone back to work full-time. However, many companies have decided to adopt a hybrid approach to office-based work, offering their staff the option of 2/3 days in the office, with 2/3 days working from home. This is all done to keep productivity moving, but still, stay safe from the virus: check out this post about how to keep safe from the virus.
We need to keep moving though …
Added to that, the very real knowledge that coronavirus is still very much alive and thriving in our communities. As such, our children could be forced to homeschool again at any time (trust me, I know this from personal experience!) This has all meant that families have realised that setting up a home office is vital for productivity and the ability to adapt to changing situations at a moment’s notice.
The 5 Essentials for a work from home office setup
With that in mind, here are my five essentials for a work-from-home office to ensure optimum productivity and, more importantly, comfort and safety-at-work!
1. A Desk
Your work from home desk doesn’t have to be a massive great space-stealing desk that takes over the entire family room or that you need to force one of your kids out of their bedroom to accommodate. It simply needs to be a space that you can sit at and accommodate your computer equipment, which is the right height.
There are so many different styles of desks, from corner desks to rectangular desks, fold-away desks to the lengthy narrow desks. The key for shopping for your perfect work from home desk is to decide where the desk will go and work out how much space you’ve got to put it in. Measure it up, and then start looking online for a desk that will fit the space you have.
2. An office chair
A good, comfortable, ergonomic office chair should probably be at the top of this list. If you’re going to be sitting at your desk, doing your work for 8 hours a day, or more, you need a good quality chair that will offer you support and comfort. The key considerations when shopping for office chairs are a) functionality of the chair and b) price. I’m not going to pretend that good chairs are cheap; however, it’s definitely an investment as important as a good quality mattress.
It might be worth asking if your company would provide a chair for you or subsidise you purchasing your chair. It’s in their best interests that you have a good quality chair to support you working from home.
3. The right tech!
Depending on what your job is, you need to consider what type of equipment you need. A few of the basics are:
- A laptop
- A mouse
- A screen
- A keyboard
There may be other things to consider, but these are the bare minimum that I would consider essential as part of your home office setup. You’ll be able to buy your office supplies online and it should include all the right tech.
4. Good internet speed
Internet is the way we connect with the world. Can you imagine the devastation to the economy if there was no such thing as the internet during the 2020/2021 pandemic? It doesn’t bear thinking about. I think the internet was the one thing that most people relied on during the pandemic, not just for entertainment but for getting work done, keeping the world moving, sharing important information and education!
However, this post is about the essentials of a work from home office, and without a doubt, a good, reliable, fast and secure internet service is essential to being productive when working from home.
5. Good Lighting
One of the perhaps, lesser considered requirements of a work from home office setup is good lighting. However, it’s a really important factor to take note of and facilitate. Lighting is not just essential for the perfect look on your 5th ZOOM call of the day or to counteract the ‘blur’ mode on TEAMs, but it’s crucial to prevent eye strain and avoid headaches. You don’t want overly bright light, nor do you want dull lighting that makes you squint.
If you can’t position your office desk or workstation in the optimal light location in your home, you might need to consider lighting such as lamps to ensure you get adequate lighting to ensure you have the essentials of a work from home office are covered!
You could add many other things to a list of things you want or need from your home office; however, at the end of the day, you have to weigh up the budget, space, and whether you need to make an effort or not. If you only work from home one day a week, it’s probably not worth it. However, if it’s more than two days a week, it probably is worth the effort.
Let me know in the comments what your ideal work from home office setup would include that you don’t currently have.