Setting Up a Home Office: The Dos and Don'ts

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The ongoing pandemic has forced many Americans to readjust in many ways, including shifting to remote work. Working from a home office no longer raises eyebrows and has become part of the new norm. This new setup comes with many benefits like various business experts point out in this write-up. However, while working from home, there are things you should or shouldn't do for enhanced productivity. Let's dig into their thoughts.

Benefits of a Home Office

According to Scott Gallupe, President of 403Tech, having a home office saves you the time you spend on travel and commute. It also eliminates the expense of paying for office space. Unfortunately, a home office may not be as spacious as the one you rent away from home. You are also likely to have more distractions while you work.

Increased Flexibility

Chris Michalec, Parkway Tech Founder, also shares his thoughts about having a home office.  For the last five years, he and his team have not had an office, and everyone works remotely. Everything has been going well for the team, and none of them ever wants to go back to the office set up.

In this period, Michalec says that his team has enjoyed a lot of flexibility, working within about 45 minutes from each other. He notes that employees are more efficient and easily strike a balance between work and home life. They don't have to worry about traffic or the weather for a commute.

Enhanced Work-Life Balance

Semtech’s Director, Nick Allo, believes that having a home office helps you separate your work life from your home life. This is because you designate a dedicated workspace and separate it from your dedicated living space.

This way, you will enjoy increased productivity and save money on your daily commute, says Kenny Riley, Technical Director at Velocity IT. Additionally, you may also be able to write off your home office space, office supplies, office furniture, and internet services as a tax deduction.

Lower Rates of Employee Turnover

Megan Criswell, the Solutions Consultant at EasyIT, adds that working from home enhances employee retention. By allowing employees to work from home, companies can retain employees who may have ultimately wanted a work-from-home role but took an in-person position. Employees will cut down costs on the daily commute, which makes them happy.

Working from home is an experience that makes most employees comfortable. Our homes are the first place we think about when we think of comfort and stability, says Matt Bullock, VP of Technical Sales at Accelera IT Solutions. When workers are comfortable, their productivity increases, and your company can reap the rewards.

Home Office Dos

While having a home office comes with several benefits, it also calls for some dos and don'ts for enhanced efficiency. Michalec notes that what works for one person may not work for another since each person has unique circumstances.

He recommends setting up a dedicated room in the home for the office and outfitting it with a proper sitting and standing desk if possible. It also should have all the necessary office equipment and supplies. To avoid distractions while you work, let the family members who are home during the day know that this is your working space. Make it clear that you should not be interrupted unless there's an emergency. Additionally:

  • Create a working routine and abide by it; establish your start and finish times
  • Consider having group chats with your colleagues for connectivity and to reduce the number of emails coming to you
  • Dress appropriately for work.
  • Keep the office space private
  • Consider having homemade meals instead of fast food when working from home
  • Have at least one monitor, keyboard, and mouse to avoid working on a laptop with a small screen for long
  • Ensure you have enough power outlets
  • Follow the same KPIs you had in the office and ensure your work efforts don't fall short just because you work from home
  • Put your work-designated phone on "do not disturb" after working hours.

Bring the Conventional Office to the Home Office

Bullock says that if you want to be as effective in the home office as you are in your business office, you need to emulate what was successful there. Go for the things that will keep you focused on your daily work. He gives an example of what his work-from-home team does; they wear their polo shirts that have a company logo while working from home. Besides, they also hold mini-conferences with other employees for work and social connectivity.

He warns against discriminating against remote workers and not including them in regular meetings. It's also crucial to remind them of their Key Performance Indicators to keep them on their toes. Moreover, those who work from home should remember not to be too casual with clients.

Riley adds that the home office should be clutter-free and well-organized. Avoid the habit of working in your pajamas and instead dress up like you would for a business meeting. 

The Power of Technology

Ashu Singhal, President of Orion Network Solutions, reminds you of the need to have the right technology installed in your home office. You will depend on technology a lot more to get the work done than you did a year ago. Make sure you have a reliable, up-to-date setup with enough computing power and internet bandwidth.

While setting up the office, ensure you have plenty of light and a background that doesn't affect your concentration or focus, adds Allo.

Home Office Don'ts

Michalec also shares his thoughts on what you should avoid when working from a home office. He advises against using poor furniture and notes that a good desk and chair doesn't have to cost a fortune. For enhanced productivity, don't:

  • Avoid taking breaks just because you're working.
  • Let family members violate your home office boundaries
  • Stay in the office all the time. Allow yourself to go outdoors and meet friends if your job is amendable to it
  • Feel ashamed or put up with unnecessary pressure if working from home is not your cup of tea. You can return to the office if you prefer working amid office interactions and discussions
  • Put a TV or other distractions in the home office. You need to focus.

Criswell adds that you need to avoid the habit of starting your work from the bed, or before you prepare adequately for work. Don't show clients a messy background while on video calls, and most importantly, don't isolate yourself from the rest of the team for whatever reason.

Final Thoughts

Working from home is a shift that a large portion of the population is experiencing right now. Fortunately, the new arrangement comes with several benefits, including flexibility and improved productivity. However, to get the most out of the setup, ensure you observe the dos and don'ts above, as experts recommend.



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