There are a range of benefits that come with remote work, including a better work-life balance, less commute stress, increased productivity and money savings. Perhaps one of the most popular benefits though, is the ability to work from home and, in turn, the opportunity to completely customize your own office space.
When it comes to designing a professional home office space, however, many people have no idea where to start. As a result, OT Group has listed 10 design and mobile workforce technology tips to help you create a professional office space at home that will boost productivity and wellbeing.
1 - Choose a dedicated area
Where you work in your house will entirely depend on how much space you're working with and the kind of environment you want to work in. While some employees may be happy working on the dining room table, others will want to turn an entire room into a home office. The great thing about remote work is that you are free to choose whatever works best for you.
Since you’ll spend many hours working in your home office, we recommend that you choose a place spacious enough to ensure you can work for eight hours a day without feeling claustrophobic. Ideally, you'll want to choose a location in your house that allows you some privacy and quiet time. This will ensure you can participate in video meetings without becoming distracted.
2 - Use the right technology
There’s a wide range of technologies that organizations use in the office, but what technologies do you need as a remote worker? The answer to this question will depend entirely on what you need to effectively perform your job.
Technologies you need to consider to improve productivity, as we discussed in our blog ‘What Technologies do Your Employees Need When Working Remotely?’, include:
- Desktop and laptop computers
- Internet access
- Keyboard and mouse
- Printers and scanners
- Cloud-based software for easy access and document sharing
- Video meeting/communication technology
3 - Make the most of natural light
According to a study conducted by Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell, workers sitting close to a window that optimized daylight exposure reported a two percent increase in productivity - the equivalent of an additional $100,000 per year of value for every 100 workers, or around $2m over the window's lifetime.
When setting up your home office, it can be easy to cram it into a dark corner in a bid to reduce the amount of space it takes up in your home. However, by taking the time to ensure your home office is close to windows and natural light, you will access the physical and wellbeing benefits that come with exposure to daylight.
4 - Does your WiFi meet your demands?
Today’s businesses rely on the internet for everything they do, and that’s amplified when working remotely. You need WiFi to share work with your colleagues, download files, participate in video meetings, send emails and much more.
High speed internet is absolutely crucial if you are to perform your job effectively and productively. Ideally, you will also want a secure WiFi connection to ensure your business is protected against cybercrime.
5 - Invest in a good chair
A good desk chair will not only look and feel more professional, it could also save you expensive physio fees down the road. When working from home you will spend hours parked in your office chair, so choose a seat that is both ergonomic and comfortable to sit in for your entire working day.
6 - Find the right printing solution
In a recent blog we looked at the ‘5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Printer for Your Remote Employees’. While printers won’t be crucial for all remote workers, any team members that deal with signing and scanning documents, printing documents for review, sending printed information to clients or making copies will require printing and scanning capabilities.
Finding the right printing solution isn’t just important for the efficiency of your remote employee, it’s also crucial to your company’s bottom line. You don’t want to spend too much on a piece of tech you don’t actually need, but at the same time you don’t want to purchase or rent a printer that doesn’t meet the performance level required by your employee.
7 - Select storage solutions that improve your productivity
Before purchasing furniture for your home office, take a moment to think about your workflow and how much storage you need. You will want your storage solution to seamlessly integrate into the way you work, you don’t want to be fighting with it on a daily basis.
Rather than just buying ugly filing cabinets and boring metal computer desks, consider how the design of the furniture you buy will affect your mood when working. Consider investing in wall storage, wooden computer desks, library-style displays and other pieces that will blend into the design and feel of the rest of your home.
8 - Ensure your business is protected from security breaches
Unfortunately, organizations in today’s interconnected world are increasingly at risk from the threat of cybercrime. In fact, a recent article from CNBC notes that phishing scams are on the rise as hackers have begun to target remote workers.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can improve your security at home and protect your business from online criminal activity. Just a few of these security measures include using a secure WiFi connection, regularly changing passwords, being aware of malicious links and using antivirus software.
Need more help improving your online security when working remotely? Read our blog ‘How to Increase Your Network Security while Working from Home’ to ensure your business is properly protected from cybersecurity threats.
9 - Separate your professional life from your personal life
You want your home office to have some personality, just like your company’s office would. You can do that through decorations such as paintings, posters, lamps and a range of other decor. At the same time, however, you will want to ensure that you don’t merge your personal and professional life too much, as this could lead to distractions and a poor work-life balance.
Keep entertainment away from your office space, you don’t want to watch a movie in the middle of your workday and, similarly, you don’t want to end up doing work when you are trying to relax in the evening.
10 - Use a dedicated work phone
Putting a phone on your desk will make your home office look and feel more professional, but, most importantly, it will seriously improve the productivity levels of anyone in a client-facing or communication-heavy role. Not only that, but using a company line will come across as far more professional for customers who expect a company number and branded-voicemail when contacting a business.
If a phone system will benefit you as a remote worker, you should seriously consider a cloud-based phone solution such as hosted VoIP. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows you to make phone calls at any time and any place - and all you need is three things; a computer with a headset, your mobile device with an app, a traditional desk phone and a voice over IP service.
Do you want further advice on how to create a professional and functional office space at home? Contact the OT Group team of tech experts today. We would love to answer any remote work and home office technology-based questions that you may have.