The Home Office Essentials
With an increase in those working from home during the pandemic and with these numbers expected to continue to increase into 2021 it is important for you to have an idea of what a home office must have. Here are a few of the essentials to ensure that your comfortable and productive when working remotely.
Privacy and Security
It’s working from home, not working with home. You will need to have a room or area in the home that is private and secure. There are those out there who have used screens to divide up the living area, but this is not ideal, and the recommendation is to have a separate room, outbuilding or shed, that provides some privacy and can be locked if it’s outside the house.
It’s also important to know your responsibilities in regard to data protection and GDPR. The law makes it imperative for you to protect your client’s and employer’s data and information. You must therefore have both some form of security and privacy. Neither your business nor employer want work details lying on the dining room table or getting picked up and thrown away mistakenly.
You need to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. It still needs to feel like you’re at work, and you’ll need to do some work rather than simply relaxing in your oversized, over comfortable office chair. This includes the other furniture. The desk needs to be at the right height, large enough for organized desk chaos, and if there’s space, maybe a comfy seat in the corner for breakaways. If you’re not feeling comfortable in the space, you’re unlikely to be highly productive at work.
This is included here as an essential, as many of the new ‘work from homers’ have simply moved into a shed or outbuilding, and this has meant the need to get electricity moved or extended. Don’t try to do this yourself. Get a professional to advise or assist. This needs some prior planning. Running an extension lead and working by candlelight just won’t cut it, whilst in summer, you could get away with a mini solar set up to keep the lights on and the laptop charged.
The other basic utilities, such as running water, will definitely be required as well. For a properly working home office, you will need running water and a toilet facility. We’re not expecting that you have this in the office itself, but make a note that you will need access to such before you move into the shed at the bottom of the garden.
Once connected and plugged in, you will need to analyze and evaluate your tech requirements. What do you need to run the office? Will your laptop be enough, or do you need to start looking for a soundbar, headset, or larger monitor? Then there are the small things like a surge protector for all the new high-tech gadgets, laptops, and monitors.
Make a clear list as to what tech you need and ensure that you purchase this from a reputable supplier. Unless the business you work for is going to fund your tech needs, make sure the list is of the things you actually need for a basic office setup and not a pseudo man cave.
Without the internet, your home office is nothing but a spare room. Good internet connectivity is paramount, as without it, your office cannot get off the ground. Make sure that you use a reputable supplier and installer who offer some form of ongoing support. There is nothing worse than intermittent signal as you try to run a business or have a meeting with your team from the office. A great example is TVnet, a professional wifi installation provider that focuses on business Wifi network design and installation. They also provide full support service and tech support as well.
Not only should your home office have the internet, but it needs to be high speed. With the right internet setup, you can reduce tech requirements, for example, saving all your data in the Cloud that you don’t need that server or external drive.
These are office must-haves. There are corners you could cut, but to work from home long term, you need to be able to cogently separate the office from your home living space. The easiest way to do this is to ensure you think through the process and plan accordingly, and if there are professionals required, search, budget, review, and book early.