As the summer reaches it’s end, many of us are changing things up in life, whether we are getting our kids back to school, starting a new career, or just trying to find ways to adjust to our new normal. One thing I have heard over and over talking to clients last weekend were how many people have just found out that they will continue to be working for home from the time being; with Alberta’s new policies on the 4th wave in question. There are still a lot of people who feel unsure of what their working life is going to look like going into the next season, but many proactive employers have already announced extensions to existing work from home policies
How comfortable is your work from home setup? Are you feeling the fatigue? This article is your all encompassing guide to creating a home environment where this kind of lifestyle can be sustainable.
For the epidemic, many individuals have built up temporary home offices, which will not function in the long run. Aside from having the appropriate tools, the physical setup — the ergonomics of the workplace — is crucial, particularly when it comes to preventing repetitive strain injuries that may be caused by a poor setup.
Ideally, you'd utilise a modest room with enough space for a desk and computer equipment, as well as a door that can be closed to keep work and home life distinct.
Most individuals don't have extra space, perhaps it's more realistic to turn a guest room into a dual-purpose area that can be used as an office during the day and as a guest room when visitors come. Multi outprpose furniture goes a long way towards creating adaptable spaces.
If you can't obtain a dedicated place that you can separate from the rest of your life, try to locate a niche space that is as far away from the rest of the home as feasible.
It might be tempting to take a look at homes for sale in your are with just a little bit more room (and we're always here to help you if you are!) but this guide serves to help you adapt your existing space in the most effective way possible.
It's very important to dial in your desk and seating ergonomics.
A work-height desk or table is required in your area. From the floor to the top of the work surface, the industry standard is 29 inches. Tall individuals benefit from being taller, while short ones benefit from being shorter. Many desks and tables are height-adjustable, typically through the feet.
However, that industry standard is predicated on utilising a pen and paper rather than a computer and mouse. That's why keyboard trays usually come out from under the work area and are an inch or two lower than the desk or table height. Get a keyboard-and-mouse tray if you have the room (it must be broad enough for both!). If not, try lowering your desk to tray height; if you write on paper as well, a writing surface may be purchased for pen-and-paper work.
If your forearms are parallel to the ground when you sit up straight and your wrist is not curved up or down while you type or mouse, your work surface is at the proper height. With your fingers hanging slightly down to the keyboard, the top surface of your wrist should be on the same plane as the top of your forearm. It's simple to injure the wrists by bending them for extended durations of time.
Monitor height that is appropriate
Get a big monitor (perhaps two) for your home office, exactly as you would at work. Any major manufacturer will have high-quality monitors, but we would recommend asking your local computer store about options with higher DPI, eco mode, and other features that make long working sessions healthier and easier on the eyes.
Your monitor should be set up such that when you sit straight and gaze straight ahead, your eyes are 25 percent to 30% below the top of the screen. That way, you don't hunch your back and maintain your shoulders level - two simple ways to injure yourself.
You'll probably need a monitor riser to reach the right height (top is 25% to 30% above eye level). An underrated method is to use a monitor stand so you can tilt and swivel the screen depending on what you are doing on that day.
Not just any chair.
There are several terrible chairs on the market that may cause injury if used for extended periods of time. Dining chairs and deck chairs, for example, are seldom at the proper height and do not usually promote the required upright posture.
If you can afford it, invest in a professional office chair which allows you to customise the fit to your body and workplace. However, they usually cost $500 or more; there are other considerably less expensive office chairs — between $100 and $300 — that will suffice. Whether at all feasible, try them on in person since you can't tell if they'll fit from a photo on a website.
Make sure it's adjustable in height, rolling, and has lumbar support for your lower back. It should also have adjustable seat pan tilt, arm height, and lateral arm position. It is better to utilise an arm rest, but only if you use it correctly: That is, your forearm should rest gently on the arm rest, with no pressure exerted by your arm on the arm rest. The arm rest's main purpose is to remind you to keep your arm in the proper posture, not to support its weight.
It's pointless to spend time styling your workplace if you don't also set up practical methods to stay organised; otherwise, it won't be long until it appears like a jumbled mess.
To keep papers organised, storage options such as magazine boxes, baskets, and folders are essential. Consider installing a wall shelf to maximise storage while also providing a significant dose of flair.
It's all too easy to overlook the impact of your working environment on your productivity. Lighting is an issue that many people overlook. You should have enough indirect light to brighten your workplace so that you can read documents and view physical things readily. The optimum illumination is typically above lighting, such as a ceiling lamp.
Lights that are not in your direct field of vision or that reflect off your monitor are referred to as indirect lighting. When the sun shines, an exterior window behind or to the side of your desk, for example, may cause glare on your monitor screen. Natural light is nice, but it should be diffused with shades or drapes to avoid glare.
Similarly, check that your monitor's brightness isn't too low or too high, since both may induce eyestrain. Of course, subjective terms like "too dark" and "too bright" exist, but a reasonable rule of thumb is that the monitor's illumination intensity should be just a bit brighter than your ambient lighting, and that ambient lighting should be adequate to read paper documents without extra light.
You’re spending less on your commute. But now you need faster internet. Did you know many broadband packages are either cheaper of faster than they were 8-10 years ago?
Most cities and suburbs have at least one high-speed internet provider; 50Mbps is the minimum speed to aim for, and the more people using the internet at the same time, the faster the service should be.
Your home's bandwidth is also important. If feasible, connect your computer to your network via an Ethernet cable; this is particularly essential if you perform video or other bandwidth-intensive tasks. If you can't wire your computer to your router, ensure you are using the fastest possible Wi-Fi Mode your equipment offers.
Accessories & Other Equipment
Of course, you'll need a keyboard and a mouse or touchpad: If you're using an external monitor, your laptop is probably folded closed or off to the side, making it difficult to reach the built-in keyboard and trackpad. Any keyboard, mouse, or touchpad/trackpad will do as long as they are responsive to touch and are not the incorrect size or height for your posture. Wireless ones eliminate the need for cables, although they do need recharging or battery replacement.
If you work in a shared place, get a headset so you may participate in online conference calls with less noise seeping into your house, where other people are working, sleeping, attending courses, and so on. Working is more difficult due to the conflicting sounds.
Instead of a headset, you could use wired or wireless earbuds, although many people find the in-ear version to be unpleasant, if not painful, over time. (A headset, on the other hand, sits on a cushioned pad over your ear.) Furthermore, wireless earbuds' microphones generally have worse audio quality, and there are concerns about hearing loss over long term use with the speaker being so far in your ear canal. In a pitch, earbuds are acceptable, but if you're in meetings all day, use a headset or the computer's audio instead.
If you use a laptop, a docking station is a must-have since it allows you to plug the computer into the dock while leaving all other connections alone, then simply remove the laptop when you need to work somewhere else, such as on business trip or for an in-office visit. Most business-class Windows laptops come with a docking station; MacBook users should get one of OWC's docks.
Add personal touches.
Choose accessories that improve the comfortable atmosphere of your home office, such as a beautiful mug for a pencil holder, stylish notepads and sticky notes, and a colourful waste basket, unless you're aiming for a modern design. Wrap a beautiful fabric around your bulletin board, and conceal practical bookshelves behind drapes made of the same material. Whether it's your kids' framed artwork or a famous painting, hang inspiring posters on the walls.
Clear out the clutter
Clear your workplace of stacks of miscellaneous documents and folders, books you aren't using, and other clutter. If you haven't used or won't use anything in three months, put it away.
Decluttering will provide you a clear canvas to work with while styling, as well as an immediate feeling of peace and order.
In a home office, it's critical to have enough illumination. Install lights above your reading area, on the computer, and behind you to eliminate reflections off the computer display and minimise eye strain. Place the computer display at a comfortable distance from your chair so you don't have to squint or see the screen with reading glasses. You'll be able to work longer and more safely if you reduce eye strain.
Backup & Security
I strongly advise you to keep a computer backup. Backup and recovery in Windows 10, like Time Machine in macOS, makes backup simple, so grab an external drive and start using it. However, storing all of your work on a cloud service like OneDrive or iCloud is an even better backup option since it ensures that if your computer is destroyed or lost, all of your work is readily accessible from another computer. By default, Macs and Windows PCs retain a local duplicate of cloud-stored work, so you can continue work on your files if the internet goes down; they will sync once internet connection is restored. The greatest guarantee that you have your data is to combine cloud storage with a physical backup.
Make Provisions for Visitors
Keep things as professional as possible if you have customers in your home office—make sure they don't have to pass through a sleeping infant or a filthy kitchen to get to you. Take into account the privacy of your job. Provide comfortable seats, a reading light, and intriguing material if customers will be waiting for an appointment with you.
An office that matches the style and comfort of the rest of your house is a location where you'll want to work late.
Don't let function overshadow form.
Your workstation, shelves, and storage should work for you, not against you. Before you buy furniture, think about your workflow and what you need at your fingertips, and then search for pieces that are both attractive and practical.
Instead of shouting "soulless cube," home office furniture should compliment other areas in your home. If you have the room, warm wood and soft, comfortable seats or a couch are perfect for a classic house. Artistic items or trendy metal furniture may be used in a contemporary home office.
Use a Color You Like on the Walls
You need a hue that makes your work motor hum. Forget "office beige." For some, a bright, cheerful hue like orange or lime green is the answer. Others need a soothing colour like botanical green or sea foam blue to function well. Learn more about how different colours may influence your mood.
When you look up from your computer, place the desk so you can look at anything other than a blank wall (even if you like the colour). Natural light from a window is great, but if you don't have one, hang a beautiful painting over the desk or turn your chair to face the entrance.
Get some new stationery
New stationery is a necessity in our thoughts for simple ideas to build a beautiful home office. It not only provides colour to your workplace and refreshes it, but it's also entertaining! Typo, kikki. Our favourite sites to buy for gorgeous but cheap notebooks, pencils, and other stationery are K and Temple & Webster.
Wall art Artwork or framed prints are another method to brighten up your walls. You could also create your own wall art for less money by designing an empowering or funny phrase using a programme like Picmonkey. It may be just what you need in your workplace to stop procrastinating or break through writer's block.
Make your space feel luxurious: Consider adding a rug, wall art, or other features
We're often surprised by how few home offices we see without a rug. This one object has the power to completely alter your workplace by anchoring the space and providing softness.
Consider painting or adding wallpaper to a feature wall or all four walls of your workplace if you want to create a lasting change.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, where we will go over how to create an awesome functional feature wall!
We will continue to post more tips and tricks to making working from home as comfortable and convenient as possible.
If selling your home, moving, or searching for another property within the city is not an option but your lifestyle demands change, we will continue to help you stay up to date on new work from home trends. If you are interested in exploring options with regard to finding a new home or a new space, reach out to us and we will reveal some really interesting property opportunities for the WFH lifestyle many other Realtors don't consider. Many current homes for sale in Calgary have great examples of work from home setups and taking some time to browse listings might be very useful for inspiration.