With homeworking becoming a more permanent state for many professionals, now’s the time to look at ways of enhancing your home office set-up to make the most of working from home
When the pandemic subsides, it’s projected that one in six workers will continue working from home or coworking at least two days a week, according to a recent survey by economists at Harvard Business School. Another survey of hiring managers by global freelancing platform Upwork found that one fifth of the workforce could be entirely remote after the pandemic.
If you’re one of the 53 million freelancers in the US, it’s likely you’ll be one of these people for whom a home office becomes your permanent workplace. If so, there’s never been a better time start looking at ways to upgrade your homeworking experience to help you make the most of your ‘new normal’.
1. Are you sitting comfortably?
Aching back? Stiff neck? Eye-strain headaches? Your chair could be to blame. Invest in a proper office chair and your body will thank you. But which one to choose? The New York Times regularly asks ergonomic experts and panellists to select the best options, and the Steelcase Gesture has once again come out on top (a record it has held since 2015).
2. Personalise your space
One of the benefits of not working in a traditional office is that you can set up your workspace to look exactly how you want it. Whether you’re going for a state-of-the-art vibe or something a little cosier, the freedom is yours. One thing you might want to add is plants. Numerous scientific studies have proven the positives of having more greenery in your workspace, improving everything from the air quality to your stress levels.
3. Beat the productivity slump
How can you be more productive while working from home? One of our favourite tips is to create a productivity playlist. A study published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that listening to your favourite music lowers your perception of tension, making you happier and more productive during the workday. Trying to concentrate on something new? Research by Spotify suggests that classical music with 60-70 beats per minute is best, because it induces a state of relaxation where the mind is calm but alert.
4. Be a cybersecurity hero
Earlier this year, the International Association of IT Managers highlighted the cybersecurity risks arising from homeworking, and it didn’t make for pleasant reading. If you want to protect yourself and the company you work for, it’s really important to make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date and that you’re following all the correct security processes – no matter how dull or time consuming they may be.
5. Do a mental health audit
It’s been a hard year for many professionals working from home, especially for those who’ve also had to home-school their children, care for vulnerable family members or worry about redundancy. If you’ve felt as if you’ve been running on adrenaline the last few months, now’s the time to stop and consider your own mental health needs. Think about what you can put in place to help manage the stresses of working from home. This might be scheduling an actual lunch break into your calendar (no more 1pm meetings!) or making a commitment to put away your laptop and keep it out of sight after 6pm.
6. Engage your mind
It can be easy to feel as if you’re out of the loop on industry developments when you’re not in the office every day – with professional development also taking a backseat to more pressing duties. However, taking the time to seek out online learning opportunities is one of the best things you can do to help you feel connected to your professional community and feel positive about your growth as an individual. Some employers offer staff training opportunities, or there’s a wealth of information also available online.
Need homeworking support? Learn how we can help right here.