It’s not hyperbole to say that the pandemic changed working practises forever. Companies have realised that working remotely – whether in the comfort of your own home or just a place of your choosing – is a viable option that has no material effect on productivity. In fact, studies have shown that it can actually increase output from employees, who are now happier, more motivated and have extra time available thanks to the removal of the soul-destroying process known as the morning commute.
But have you optimised your own WFH space? If we’re in this for the long haul, you shouldn’t be sacrificing your health or sanity with a below-par setup. With that in mind, below we’ve outlined a number of items that’ll make your life easier and raise your comfort and happiness levels.
Think a standing desk is a bit too Silicon Valley for your home? Think again. A desk that allows you to get up out of your seat every so often will not only alleviate the aches and pains associated with your current makeshift dining table workstation, but also help towards keeping you moving, increasing circulation and improving posture.
Of course IKEA do a standard-issue version, but brands like Think Furniture and Vari offer workstation options that sit on top of your current desk, giving you a range of possible work heights.
If you’re only going to try one thing on this list, it’s this. It is genuinely life changing for the majority of people, who don’t realise just how bad sitting in one place all day is.
For those who can’t commit to a new desk and are trying to improve on their aforementioned dining table workspace, a laptop stand is going to give you the added height that will help improve your posture and reduce neck strain.
A pile of books isn’t good enough. Opt for something with a sturdy construction and enough space below to stop your laptop overheating. Nexstand do a particularly good one at a bargain price point.
Another option that helps avoid straining and craning is adding a monitor to your laptop setup. Increased resolution and definition is a bonus for your eyes when working for long periods and more screen real estate should lead to increased productivity.
When picking one make sure to check connectivity options and the size of the mount and base so that they complement your workspace and work with your existing hardware.
Remember them? If you’re used to using your laptop in a non-intensive leisurely manner, you might’ve forgotten about the humble mouse. But after working day in, day out with nothing more than a laptop trackpad, a mouse soon becomes a godsend for repetitive work.
A solid, wireless Bluetooth option shouldn’t set you back much and will make a world of difference to your productivity and comfort.
Tiny Scanner App
Despite extended home working, nobody really wants to invest in big, ugly office machines such as printers and scanners. Although printing during lockdown remains a pain, scanning can be made a little easier with the help of the Tiny Scanner App, which turns any smartphone into a portable scanner.
It’ll easily scan whatever you need, converting it to an image or PDF file with options for colour and black and white.
Nothing like working at home to help you quickly realise you don’t have enough USB ports. Dictaphones, rechargeable bike lights, phones, tablets, headphones, USB desk fans and portable hard-drives all need juice and there often isn’t enough to go round.
The quick fix is something along the lines of the Anker 10-port data hub, or USB-C hub if you’re lucky enough to own a new MacBook.
Rather than trying to crowbar your desk into an area with good lighting, get yourself a robust lamp that’s designed specifically for workspaces. Do a little research into lumens and the Kelvin scale so that you’ve got the correct colour temperature of light as well as brightness and ideally get something with a LED bulb that’ll go the distance.
Among the barrage of self-help books we’ve read, something stuck from David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’: the importance of an in-tray. Moving from an office environment to a WFH situation, it’s easy to let the lines between work and home life blur.
Something as simple as an in-tray can help keep the line between the two clear: by putting any work documents that needs addressing into it, you will stop the random piles of papers accruing across your home and allow yourself the mental space to effectively deal with your workload.