A home office is not a new concept, but many employees are going to continue using their home offices more than ever. Over half of U.S. professionals believe that their companies will allow them to work from home at least part-time moving forward.1 In many industries, this percentage is even higher, with many well-known companies publicly adopting remote and hybrid work models. If you’re an employer adopting these models, it is critical to work with your employees to ensure that they have an effective home office setup to prevent injury and ensure the process is a positive one for both employee and employer. Let Andy Stern’s help you design your home office.

Top Tips to Set Up an Effective Home Office

1. Find the best location.

Where you put your office is key. Do you have an empty room, basement or large closet you can put an office space in? A dedicated space is preferred, but not always feasible. An unused corner of a room may be your best option. Think through who else uses the space—are you sharing with your partner? Kids? Animals? Are you on calls a lot and need silence, or is it okay if you can hear others talking (or barking)? Privacy is the gold standard if possible. If you don’t have a door on your space, you will need a privacy divider, curtain or bookshelf to help separate out your space.

2. Ergonomics are Important – prioritize comfort and invest in yourself.

Employers need to remember that employees can still file for workers compensation if they are working from home. Strain injuries can happen if employees are not set up correctly.

OTG2803 Mesh Multi-Function

Offices To Go Mesh Multi-Function Office Chair. Source: Officestogo.com

As you set up your home office, consider the right desk for your budget, work type and space. Make sure you have the proper desk height, monitor height and a chair that fits your needs. Remember, having good, comfortable furniture for your at home office is key.

3. Storage and Organization Keep you on Task.

Home Office Storage
Source: officesourcefurniture.com

You will most likely need more than just your laptop in your home office. Storage can include anything from lateral files to a “to-do” tray on your desk. Understand your workflow and what you need to get the job done.

4. The Little Things Matter.

Home Office
Source: coedistributing.com

Don’t forget, all the little things that add up. You may think that if you have your space, desk and storage you are good to go. However, make sure you consider these other elements that can make or break a great home office.

  • Good Lighting – Poor lighting can lead to eye strain. Nobody wants long-term issues from poor lighting. Do yourself a favor and invest in lighting.
  • Good internet service – If you are working remote, you need good internet. Are you making calls through a web-based program? Will you be on Zoom, Join.me, Teams or another video-based platform? Does your company require you to VPN into their system?
  • Cord Management – Your computer, your monitor, lighting, a printer/scanner, a heater or fan—these all come with cords. Make sure you invest in a cord management system. This can range from Velcro to a multi-power strip to a docking station.
  • Printer/scanner – Not everything is digital. Consider if you will ever need to print or scan for your role.
  • Headsets/headphones – Are you on the phone all the time? Phone fatigue is real. Make sure you invest in a headset to avoid strains due to telephone usage. Do you like to listen to music or podcasts, but need to keep the volume down for someone else? Investing in headphones might be your best option.

5. Rules aren’t just for Kids

What are the rules of your space? Can other household members go into your office space? Will you have a code for when you cannot be disturbed? Make sure you outline in advance your rules and expectations for yourself and your household. Knowing ahead of time can help reduce the miscommunication and tension that working from home may bring into your family dynamics.

Don’t forget about rules for yourself. When working from home, it is easy to blur work and non-work time. You may want to set certain hours for yourself and make sure you do not go into your “office” outside of those hours. Keeping your work in your office can help you separate work life from home life. Consider keeping areas like your kitchen and couch off limits for working (with the added ergonomic benefit of being in your office as well).

Utilizing a home office more than “once-in-awhile” is becoming commonplace. Let Andy Stern’s help ensure that you are set-up for success no matter where you are doing your work!

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