Setting Up a Home Office
On day one, it’s important to be productive in your remote office. To help you get started, we’ve prepared the following list of items to consider and accomplish: .
Select your workspace
Make sure that the area you select for your workspace has the following characteristics:
- Good lighting – You want your workspace to be evenly illuminated, with no glares from nearby windows, or light coming from behind your computer monitor.
- Noise control – Try to locate your desk in an area that provides peace, quiet, and lots of concentration. Steer clear of rooms where you can hear the neighborhood children playing outside your window or a dog barking. Too distracting.
- Temperature control – Make sure the spot doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Both can put a real damper on your ability to get work done quickly and correctly.
Have the correct supplies
Prepare in advance by making sure you have all of the supplies and electronics you need. Complete this checklist of supplies, and have your supervisor review it to see if there are items not listed and to discuss how items will be paid for.
Get connected to work – Today many jobs require the use of shared electronic files, constant access to email, and the ability to create word documents and databases within minutes. If you don’t already have remote access to your files at work, check with your manager and the IT department to determine what you really need, and what options they have for giving you access.
Make it ergonomic
Select and arrange your desk – Give yourself plenty of room to work and set your desk up to be efficient.
- Desk height should only be approximately 27” tall to allow for a healthy posture that prevents unnecessary aches, pains or joint damage.
- Place your monitor 18 – 24” away from you, and the top of the monitor should align with your eyes. The screen should be easy to read without you turning or tilting your head.
- Make items easily accessible. Put your most used items (phone, keyboard, files) within arms reach without the need to frequently bend or stretch uncomfortably or use your back to lift items.
- Be smart with your storage. Only use bookcases, files, and other storage devices that are easily accessible and don’t cause stress or unnecessary work to get what you need.
Sit back and relax – Selecting an ergonomic chair can be one of the most important items in your home office! Choose a chair that is reasonably priced for the benefits that it brings. Your chair should be adjustable:
- Height. Your chair needs to have your knees, hips and back at 90 degree angles with your feet flat on the floor. Also, the chair should allow for your elbows to be slightly open at approximately 110 degrees.
- Back. Make sure your chair has lumbar support for the lower back, and if not you can purchase separate pillows for support.
- Posture. Overall make sure the chair supports your body and good posture.
Get to work, but take a break – From your core to your cornea, your muscles need a chance to move and relax. If you typically stare at a computer all day with few breaks, be certain to relax your eyes and stare off into the distance even if it is only for 15 seconds. Also, stimulate your muscles and circulation by stretching or taking a quick walk… even if it is just to get a new cup of coffee.
Tell family and friends you’re working…even when you’re still in your bedroom slippers
Carefully consider your telework arrangement, and be honest with yourself. Teleworking is not meant to be a substitute for child or elder care, and arrangements for those needing special attention should be made just as though you were in your regular office. Also, before your first day of teleworking, determine certain boundaries and what interruptions are okay and what is not. Develop ground rules and review them with roommates, family, friends, or any neighbors who may stop by because they see you’re home.
While teleworking can allow for multi-tasking on the job, it is not a good fit for simultaneously juggling work and family. Make sure you can concentrate solely on work during your agreed upon schedule, and help your family recognize that you should not be bothered at work. Too much compromise on the part of the employee or employer can lead to problems and possible failure to meet the terms of your teleworking agreement. The same is true for those who cannot separate work and home life. If these boundaries cannot be respected, then a different arrangement should be agreed upon, or the employee should stop telework.
Use these posters in the office to help coworkers know when you’re teleworking.
“I’m Teleworking” Sign - woman (pdf)
“I’m Teleworking” Sign - man (pdf)