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Remote Work Trends, How to set up a work-from-home ‘office’ for the long term

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world.

More and more employees are working in remote positions, either full-time or some days of the week, with a large percentage of the workforce looking towards finding job opportunities with flexible schedules.

Companies are also embracing this growing desire, increasingly using flexible work options as a way to entice new employees.

work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 173% since 2005, 11% faster than the rest of the workforce. Productivity studies have revealed that working from home has helped employees to get more out of their workday.

COVID-19 pandemic has made it an unplanned requirement for many offices. Even as the coronavirus crisis eventually recedes, many employers will have discovered that they don’t need large office buildings, and many employees will have discovered that they don’t need to be in the office every day or spend hours commuting during the pandemic, and likely well afterward, many people will work outside the office.

But many people have set up makeshift home offices for the pandemic that won’t work well for the long term. In addition to having the right equipment, the physical setup the ergonomics of the workspace is critical, especially around avoiding repetitive strain injuries that a bad setup can cause.

A long-term home office should ideally be a separate space in your home that is properly outfitted for work. Do as much of the following as you can to create an effective, safe workspace for the long term.

A dedicated space

Ideally, you would use a small room that can hold a desk and computer equipment and whose door can be shut for the essential need to separate work life from home life.

Proper work height

Your space needs a desk or table that is at work height. The industry standard is 29 inches from the floor to the top of the work surface.

Proper monitor height

Get a large monitor (maybe two) for your home office — just as you would at the corporate office. Any major brand will offer high-quality monitors. Just avoid the cheapest monitors if you can, since they can lead to eyestrain over prolonged use due to their lower resolution and thus increased fuzziness.

A good chair

There are a lot of bad chairs out there that can injure you over prolonged computer use. Dining chairs and deck chairs, for example, rarely are at the right height, and they don’t always encourage the needed upright posture. Get an adjustable professional office chair where you can set a precise fit for your body and workspace.

Good internet service

For internet service; 50Mbps is the minimum speed to shoot for, and the more people using the internet at the same time, the more you want to get a higher-speed service.

The bandwidth within your home matters too. The best connections are wired Ethernet ones, so if possible, connect your computer to your router via an Ethernet cable; that’s especially important if you do video or other bandwidth-intensive work. Wi-Fi is fine for basic office work, so if you can’t wire your computer to your router, use Wi-Fi.

Other equipment

You’ll need a wireless keyboard and a mouse, headset for joining online conference calls. A docking station is a great to have if you use a laptop, so you can plug the computer into the dock and leave all the other connections alone, then easily remove the laptop when you are working elsewhere such as for business travel or an in-office visit. Most office-class Windows laptops have a docking station option; MacBook users should invest in one of OWC’s docks.

Many people hardly use paper any longer, but you may not need a multifunction printer/copier/scanner for your home office.

You might consider a surge protector or, if you're not using a laptop, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). If the power goes out, computer equipment is usually unharmed, but if you live in a stormy area, there's a small chance you might get a power surge that could damage your computer equipment.

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