Millions of people have spent the last twelve months working from home after the pandemic pushed businesses around the world to close their offices. Some are now looking forward to getting back into the office to catch up with their colleagues in person, but many others have re-evaluated their work life balance and decided that they would prefer to work from home at least some of the week for the foreseeable future.
The changing attitudes to work will have a dramatic impact on the working landscape in the UK and elsewhere, but for those thinking about going full-time as someone who works from home, there are a few things still to consider.
Where will you work?
Until last year, many believed working from home really meant “hardly working”, but the reality is very different. Your boss may not be able to see you all day, but you still need to get the work done and that generally means you need to find a quiet and private space where you can focus on the task at hand and hold virtual meetings on Zoom or Google Meet.
Some people are lucky enough to have a spare room, garage, or shed they can turn into a dedicated home office> However, the majority of people who live in the city do not have such a luxury and instead have to make do with the kitchen table or a desk in the bedroom, which can make working from home more difficult.
Wherever you end up working, try to make sure that it is a space where you will be undisturbed during the work day, gets a good WiFi signal, and has some natural light.
Do you need a new laptop?
Working from home will almost always include some digital tasks from answering emails to joining video calls, and for all the chatter about tablets replacing computers as productivity devices most people will need a computer with a keyboard and mouse or touchpad.
Today, manufacturers like Lenovo offer Windows laptops and Chromebooks that are more than capable of most work tasks for under £400. Few would dispute the beauty of Apple MacBooks, but most basic Windows or ChromeOS laptops will do everything you need for a third of the cost, leaving you money left over to buy a good screen and keyboard to make your workspace as comfortable as possible.
What office furniture do you need?
If you are going to be working at your desk at home for more than seven hour per day, then it is critical that you find the furniture that both fits you and your workspace or you will quickly start to feel aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, and wrists.
The NHS guidance on sitting properly makes clear that you should be positioned on a chair where your feet sit flat on the floor and your keyboard is straight in front of you with your arms in an “L” shape. Your display should then be at eye level about an arm’s length away, positioned to avid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight.
A good office chair with back support and a desk that is at a comfortable height should be relatively easy to find at any budget, and should be the second purchase after a computer for anyone thinking of making home working their full-time job.