All of a sudden tens of thousands of homes across the UK , if not more, have had to find a way to slot their work life into their homes.
If you’re one of the many who now finds themselves working from home surrounded by children, pets, laundry, household tasks, and are confined to the couch, spare bedroom, a dining table, or similar inappropriate space, we’re going to try to make things better!
If you have a fully set-up home office, this one isn’t for you, instead we’re looking to inspire better home working setups for those of us currently working in a place that isn’t great for concentration and/or our posture.
For your entertainment, this Twitter thread is full of how not to do your WFH setup…
Can we do a WFH workspace setup thread, unglamorous edition?— Jules Forrest (@julesforrest) March 13, 2020
My partner and I are both working from our studio apartment. My setup is a chair in front of the front door and my desk is our clothes hamper. pic.twitter.com/5rVaqgkjjw
There are only really two areas to focus on when you’re creating - or optimising - your remote working space, comfort and concentration.
The two must-haves here have got to be a desk and a comfortable seat, of some kind.
So, have you got a sturdy desk that you can change into your WFH space? If it’s the dining room table do you need to constantly move your work things for dinner and breakfast? If yes, it may not be the most convenient for creating a secure, comfortable working area. A table that’s not in regular use is best, even if it’s one you can set up in a spare room.
Think about the fact you’re probably going to be sitting at this desk for 6-8 hours a day on and off, so it’s important that the office chair, dining chair, bar stool, etc., you’re using, isn’t uncomfortable. If you don’t have a suitable office chair, see if you can access and take home your office chair. If it’s too late for that (lockdown!), or not possible, try using cushions, or blankets to make your seat more comfortable.
These two items are essential to comfort, but if there are any extras you can add, such as, ensuring you’re a safe distance from your computer screen and it is at the right height for your posture (that means no lying in bed for 12 weeks), do it!
Of course, there are many things you can do to ensure concentration levels are at their highest possible - bearing in mind the obvious additional distractions that come with working from home, but here’s our top tips:
- Be organised - Have everything that you regularly need in front of you, including important papers, files and stationery. Don’t move your notebook around the house, keep it in your WFH area.
- Earphones - A must, especially for Zoom meetings with coworkers and clients, to help you block out the background noise of the children, washing machine, etc.
- Keep it tidy - Every lunchtime, or at the end of each day, clear all unnecessary glasses, mugs, plates, rubbish, paperwork, etc. It’s best to maintain a regular cleaning schedule so it’s a place you’re happy to sit, without the stress of it being messy!
- Child-free - If you can, try to teach the little ones (or not-so-little ones) running around your house that this is your area for work and they mustn't touch anything and play away from this area. Similarly, if you can prevent your furry friends from accessing this area, do that too.
Above all else, set realistic goals, prepare to change (if something about your WFH area isn’t working for you, don’t stick with it), and give yourself a break. We’re all new to this and it’s going to take some time to create a remote working area that “works” for you!