If you are making the transition to working remotely, you’ll need a dedicated space in your home from which to take video conferencing calls and work from home. Whether you have a full home office, a desk, or a workspace within another area of your home, you can create a productive and inspiring workspace that enables you to work remotely whenever you would like.
We’ll outline the key components you need for a remote workspace from the physical layout of the space to the tech setup and gadgets you’ll need to accomplish as much as possible amidst the distractions of home life.
Studies show that those who work from home are actually more productive, happier, and cheaper for companies than traditional in-office employees. While both options are valuable and work for different personalities, here’s what you’ll need if you are transitioning to working remotely or setting up your home workspace for the first time.
Arranging Your Home Workspace
If you have an office or a desk, you’ll need a few pieces of furniture and equipment to stay focused and be productive.
- Use a desk. Whether it’s a standing, sitting, or convertible desk, a hard surface from which to work helps you to be productive and gives you the space to comfortably work from home. While some folks may enjoy a lap desk, working outside, or alternative work areas, having a desk will enable you to take video calls from home whenever you need to. Make sure that you have good natural light and a simple background for taking video calls which are crucial to staying connected and building relationships remotely.
- Invest in an ergonomic chair. You are making the calls for your own home workspace so why not choose a chair that won’t leave you with back pain or neck discomfort?
- Set up a monitor in addition to your laptop or PC. If you have a job that requires design, data analysis, or coding, you’ll likely have a lot going on that may be too much for a small laptop screen. Monitors are available at reasonable prices and will have a big impact if you will primarily be working from home. Most monitors also include a web camera, allowing you to call in to video meetings if you work with a team in an office or with other remote employees.
- Indulge in a coffee maker or electric tea kettle and stock your home with your favorite snacks. If you think about the perks of an office, you likely had access to coffee or tea and snacks. Stay energized throughout the work day and make sure to take breaks at home like you would in the office. Get up and walk around and maybe even schedule video conference call coffee chats to replace in-office impromptu coffee meetings. This way, you can build relationships with coworkers, take a mental break, and refuel.
Remote Work Technology Basics
In an office, you likely had an IT department who equipped you with a computer (maybe a laptop), a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, a printer, and a high speed WiFi connection. At home, you won’t need all of the exact same things, but you will need a setup that enables you to participate on a team in the same capacity of a colleague in the office.
Here’s what you’ll need to work from home.
- Laptop or PC. Consider the nature of your role when choosing between Mac and PC and if your company will pay for it, try to have separate work and personal laptops. It’s good to keep work and home life as separate as possible, even when working from your home. For those working with design programs, Mac laptops tend to be favored, while data-heavy and analytical roles tend to prefer PCs. Either way, as mentioned before, a monitor will improve your ability to work on multiple projects and visualize more on your screen.
- Noise cancelling headphones. When working from home, distractions are usually prevalent and won’t stop just because you are working. Whether it be children, roommates, a significant other, construction, or neighbors, having a good pair of noise cancelling headphones will allow you to remain focused, no matter the circumstance or time of day.
- Web camera or video conferencing camera. One of the biggest challenges for remote employees is building relationships and participating in meetings. To ensure your voice is heard and that you can contribute effectively, use a web camera and request video meetings whenever possible. For teammates in the office, ask them to use a 360-degree smart conferencing camera that allows you to see the entire team and respond individually to your coworkers.
- High speed WiFi. One of the biggest roadblocks to a successful home workspace is WiFi connection. Make sure that your WiFi at home is at least 1.5 mbps download speed and see if your company will pay for a higher speed connection. If your home office is far from your router, consider using a WiFi extender device like the Eero home beacon system. This will stretch your WiFi to power your home workspace, wherever that may be within your home.
Working remotely is a great option for those with difficult commutes, child care considerations, or for those who have an easier time focusing when working independently. Make sure to ask your company what they will provide when it comes to setting up your home office. If making a full switch to working remotely, many companies will help you to equip your space as you’ll be saving them money in the long run. If you are going to work remotely some of the time and go into the office some of the time, having a dedicated workspace at home will make you more productive than trying to find a quiet corner and rushing to find a space for a video call when you do choose to work from home. Be up front with your manager and if you need help having the conversation asking them to work remotely, check out this comprehensive guide to talking to your manager about a flexible remote work policy.