How To Create The Ultimate Working From Home Setup

With lockdowns and rising coronavirus cases forcing employees to self-isolate or work from home, the way we work is changing. Instead of driving to the office via Starbucks, we’re now heading to the dining table or study via the kitchen (and revisiting the kitchen several times during the day). Most of us are probably far from the ultimate working from home setup.

So how can we achieve it? How can we maximise our productivity while keeping the delicate work-life balance we all need? Here are some of the most important things you need to consider – and why this is all so important.

Why you need a good working from home setup

For a lot of people, offices and workplaces are associated with productivity. They’re where you get your tasks done with some socialisation with colleagues on the side. You’re used to it being your place of work, while home is for relaxing (however much you can truly relax with children, pets and who knows what else running underfoot).

Working from home mixes everything up. Your safe haven is now your place of work, and it can get chaotic – especially if you’ve been forced into the situation by a lockdown or self-isolation.

Your home probably isn’t set up for you to work in it. This means that sitting at your computer can negatively affect your health – from backaches to migraines – and that’s certainly not conducive to getting your tasks done and working towards that promotion or raise.

How to create the ultimate working from home setup

Create a dedicated space

The first thing you need to do is have a space set aside for work. It could be your home office or study, or it could be a particular chair at the dining table.

Whatever you choose, this is where you’ll sit down at 9am (or whenever you work day starts), and when you’re done for the day, you’ll walk away. This helps to separate your work and home life.

It should be in a quiet part of the house if possible, away from children who may be doing online schooling or enjoying their half term break. Some people even go so far as to put a sign on their door or the back of their chair reading ‘do not disturb’.

Have the tools you need

The most important thing you need for your working home from setup is the right equipment. You’ll need a computer, laptop or professional workstation, with a mouse and keyboard. Ensuring that you have the correct equipment such as a professional workstation is vital for those working within graphic design or for a web design agency and need a fast and high performing device to complete their daily tasks.

If you’re using a laptop, look into laptop stands to bring the screen up to the right height. Whichever screen you’re working with, your eyes should be level with the top of it while your feet are flat on the floor.

Alternatively, standing desks are great if you want to avoid sitting down all day. Available all over the internet, they mean you can alternate between sitting and standing to keep the blood pumping.

If you need a printer for your job, make sure you have one in the same room so you don’t get distracted when you wander through the house to pick up your papers. All-in-one printers are perfect if you’ll be needing to scan or photocopy your documents, too.

Then there’s one item that often gets overlooked: a headset. There’s no need to spend a considerable sum on a headset, but it is a vital piece of kit for meetings and calls with your colleagues.

Get a good chair

If you want to avoid back problems, an ergonomic chair is a must for your working from home setup. Your choice of seating sets the tone for your entire work day, whether you realise it or not.

Take any pre-existing conditions into account here. If you suffer from scoliosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis or anything similar, it will affect the type of chair you need.

Ergonomic chairs can be expensive, and you may not be able to afford some of the top-tier models (especially if working from home is only a temporary solution for you). But rest assured, you will be able to find something suitable for you in your budget – there are so many chairs to choose from.

Make sure you’re well lit

No one wants to be straining their eyes all day. It can lead to tiredness and headaches, making you irritable and in pain. Not exactly ideal. The good news is that there’s a way to combat this: your lighting in your home working setup.

There are two types of lighting to consider here: task and ambient. The former is for getting your tasks done, while the latter is more about setting the mood.

Colour-wise, warm white will probably be better for you than cool white. With a little blue in it, it creates a warmth (as you’d expect from the name). If you want to venture out into other colours, it’s worth looking into smart bulbs that you can control from your smartphone or home devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.

Try using desk lamps – anglepoise ones are best – or even ring lights that clip onto your monitor or laptop for video calls.

Decorate for work

The last thing anyone wants is to be working in a bland, empty space. Try decorating your workspace a little.

Plants are great for this, especially for those who are having to work in their bedroom. They can act as a divider in your room so you can forget that you’re toiling away in your place of sleep. They also create a calming atmosphere as you subconsciously connect with nature.

Another piece of advice comes from Joanna thornhill, author of My Bedroom is an Office & Other Interior Design Dilemmas. Her suggestion is to “place an empty basket close by that you can simply offload everything into at the end of the working day”. If you decide to take this advice, try finding a basket that’s big enough to put your laptop, keyboard and other important documents when you clock off. If they’re out of sight, they’ll be out of mind.

About the author

Kate Marsh is the Digital Content Specialist at Tillison Consulting. With a love of writing, grammar and research, her job is to create high-quality blog posts and page copy for clients across a vast range of industries and platforms.