Have you recently shifted to a work from home lifestyle due to COVID-19 and your office being shut down? Are you wanting to ensure that your home-based workspace will meet your needs? Real Strategy Advisors recommends that each of the following is addressed so you can have an ideal setup during this time of physical distancing.
Strong internet connection
Now is not the time to cheap out on the cost of internet services. Over the next few weeks and months everyone will be doing more video streaming for both work and pleasure which results in an increased demand on your home bandwidth. If you expect to get any work done or keep the kids entertained while you’re working, make sure that you’re upgrading to the best service you can afford.
Proper work surfaces
You need to ensure that you have enough room to sit comfortably with your laptop or desktop computer, along with peripherals such as monitors, keyboards, etc. You also require extra space for a notepad, phone, and don’t forget that morning java! Ergonomics are also important, so make sure things are placed at the appropriate heights for proper support and comfort depending on the task at hand. Since you may be at your home workstation for long hours, consider a height-adjustable desk instead of defaulting to your kitchen table.
The hour of the day you’re actually working may vary from your usual office schedule when at home. If you have kids, they’re now with you full-time, and there will be distractions coming up during the day that wouldn’t otherwise. Think about your lighting conditions and when/where you will be working. Consider a lamp with an adjustable light setting, that has touch-sensitive dimmers, and different intensities over the simple on/off variety. Not only will this help you avoid eye strain, but it will make your work environment more pleasant.
As your home office will likely be your primary place of work for the coming months, choosing your chair will mean the difference between a healthy posture and daily backaches. If you’ve invested in a height-adjustable desk, consider pairing it with a seat that can support multiple elevations as well. Many seating options not only allow you to change the height but also adjust the lumbar support, arm height, back tilt, etc. Your back is an easily justifiable place for investment — you’ve only got one and it has to last you a lifetime.
Small screens, trackpads, and mini keyboards can be inadequate during extended video conferences with multiple attendees lasting several hours; especially when multi-tasking. Consider a base station approach with attached peripheral devices like a larger monitor (with integrated speakers to save space) and a full-sized keyboard. If you have an adjustable desk and chair, ensure your cables are long enough for all heights (we found that out the hard way)! Make sure you have a webcam with a built-in microphone to keep things streamlined… and that gamer headset a secret!
First off, when working from home, you need a cloud storage system and hopefully one that allows for active collaboration on files such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox. Second, you’ll want to make sure your team has some sort of preferred video call software like FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom (which we covered in this earlier post). Third, you need a team-based project management software that allows everyone to see the working roadmap with features such as task assignees, status updates, and comments/notifications such as Trello, Basecamp, or Monday. Finally, it’s important that all team members be fully trained on how to use these platforms. It might be a good idea to provide web-based instructions.
The right location
Choosing the right location in your home to work is more than just making sure you have adequate space. Consider the pros and cons of a quiet basement where you can work uninterrupted versus a space that’s comfortably heated with great natural light in a higher traffic area. A pair of noise-canceling headphones can go a long way to improving your ability to focus. If you’re doing more video calls, then you’re going to want to think about what’s behind you when broadcasting. It may be necessary to clear away more than you thought, but that’s better than treating your work colleagues to piles of dirty laundry or embarrassing movie posters! However, if you don’t have time to clean up, many modern video call apps do allow for blurred or virtual backgrounds!
The world is getting adjusted to these new working conditions and each of you has a unique set of challenges to face when it comes to personalizing your home-based work environment. Hopefully, a little shopping based on our advice can make this transition a little more comfortable and a lot more productive. Contact Real Strategy Advisors today, we’d be happy to recommend some great vendors and negotiate bulk purchase discounts for your team.
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