Working from home tips and home office ideas
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Some small businesses have been run from the owner’s living room or kitchen for years, but for others the ‘home office’ is a whole new concept. While the need to work from home may have been forced upon you, there are a few things you can do to help create a pleasant, safe, comfortable and practical workplace. These tips are for people who predominantly perform computer-based work.
If you can, try to allocate an area – even if it’s just the corner of a room – to be your ‘office’. It should be well lit, though not in a way that creates screen glare, and the quieter the better. Blinds or curtains may help with glare.
Then make this workplace your own with pictures of family and friends, favourite ornaments and maybe a plant or two – or flowers. Without the companionship of others around you, you want to feel comfortable in ‘your space’.
We’re not all fortunate enough to have designated office furniture. But with whatever you’re using, you can do a few things to improve the ergonomics, that is, how well you can work in your new environment.
Having the correct posture helps prevent pains and strains. Ideally, when sitting at your desk or table with your hands resting on it your:
If you don’t have height adjustments on either your chair or your desk/table, you may have to improvise to achieve the above. And if you’re using a stand-up desk, all the above still applies other than the parallel thighs.
If you have an adjustable office chair, it’s important to set it up correctly to your specific body. Make sure:
If you share chairs, just like in the car, you may have to make adjustments each time you take over.
These are the essential parts of your body that can develop repetitive strain injuries if you don’t look after them. Try to:
As we said earlier, your spine should be in neutral alignment. It won’t be if you’re staring down at a laptop all day, which can put strain on your upper back while your shoulders may sag forwards.
To avoid excessive stretching and twisting:
To keep your circulation going and to help avoid stiffness:
Working from home can make it hard to separate your work life from your personal life – but it’s important that you do so. Otherwise you’ll find yourself living in a 24-hour office.
Before settling into the home office each morning, make the effort to prepare for the day with your regular routine, as if you’re still heading out to work.
Then when you have finished work, ‘walk out of your office’ and start the rest of your day, maybe even changing your clothes. Throwing a sheet over your workstation will remind you that you’re no longer on duty.
For some people, working from home is manageable, but for others it can feel lonely and disconnected. So, make sure you build socialising into your work routine, such as video-lunch with colleagues or an early finish on Fridays with video-drinks.
This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.