Whether we (or your bosses) like it or not - working from home is here to stay. While yes, we have been at this for a while. Our home offices have yet to fully migrate from bed to a proper set-up. There are many things to purchase now that now feed our new online shopping habits. There’s also a lot to do that’s sure to make your work-from-home days better.
The first thing you need is your computer. Yet since everyone’s got different requirements, we’re listing the essentials sans that. We’ve got our eye on getting you mobile, avoiding aches and pains while you work, and making your home office more comfortable.
Here are the pro-practices and essentials of a home office, from our team of WFH-veteran digital nomads.
Have a separate office space
Here's one of the essentials of a home office that we can't recommend enough. If you can, it's best to keep your new office space separate from where you eat or sleep. Being near your bed just increases the likelihood of an ill-timed nap as opposed to spending time working. Don’t confuse your leisure space with your workspace. Find a space at home that you can dedicate to work and stick to it.
Get out of your PJ’s and wear some work clothes
Yes, working from home means no more scruffy suits and heels, but remember when you did wear them? You felt ready and good for the day. It's the same with working from home. While you don't necessarily have to don the same outfits, get changed and prepped to start your day. This will make you feel much better and way more ready.
Set Working Hours
At the start of the pandemic, one of the major issues most employees had was that they struggled to keep their work and life separate. It makes sense, if you wake up next to your laptop all the time, you’re more likely to think about work and only think about work.
It will do you a lot of good to set aside some time to do ONLY work, and switch off after that. Whether it's 9-5 is up to you, but work time is work time.
While we didn't exactly take walks while we were in offices, working from home is a little more taxing on our joints and backs. And after a year of this, you might find yourself clamoring for a new back (unfortunately, impossible) due to pain. One key way to ease this is by moving!
One of our team members here at Sirius Design Group says that while she doesn’t strictly adhere to a 9-5, she does make time for a 3-5k run within the day. The run serves as a mental break in between tasks where she takes care of her body and silences her mind.
Not everyone might do something so drastic, but the principle remains - get moving, get into your body and out of your head.
To work efficiently online, you need an internet connection that’s fast enough to support the weight of 4 Zoom meetings, and then some. Other than fast, it also has to be stable - it’s tough getting disconnected, so consider also having a backup connection just in case.
A Good Office Chair
Even when we were working in offices, this was already essential. So much of the reported back pain is usually due to a poor sitting posture and honestly, if we could all get new backs, we really would buy them.
Having a great chair with custom adjustments changes so much. Find a seat with good airflow for your back, a comfortable seat, and an ergonomic back and headrest. Great office chairs can cost you anywhere from $100+ to $1000+, so take your time and look up what fits your budget and what works for you.
Comfort is key, so maybe test out the chair before you buy it. If you’re not ready to splurge on a chair just yet, consider getting a posture cushion to relieve lower back pain.
Standing desks aren’t new, but desks that offer the option to both sit and stand are. Standing while working has been reported to help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and improve circulation. In our experience, however, standing desks help us focus a little better. It also improves the crooked posture we get from sitting all day. Bye-bye back pain!
However, if you’re clocking in long hours - standing the whole time just isn’t practical. Adjust the desk to the proper height while you’re seated will keep you from stooping down or slouching forward.
A Laptop Stand + External Keyboard
Laptops are flat and unfortunately not the most comfortable things to work with. Most users end up extending their necks forward and crouching low. Propping up your laptop on a stand will keep you facing forward with your back straight. This eases tension on your neck.
Other Essentials of a home office
Our team also recommended the following essentials :
For those wires that seem to just get everywhere.
Working at home is a solo endeavor, so why not get the job done while listening to your favorite tunes.
This may be old-fashioned, but it works. Write it down!