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Working Remotely: Setting Up Your Home Office for Success

Many businesses are beginning the process of bringing their employees back to the office. However, some have decided that their employees can chose to remain working remotely or are offering a hybridoption. There are pros and cons to working remotely (which we will address in another blog post), but today we are going to talk about how to set up your home office to ensure that you can achieve peak work performance at home.

1. Designated Office Room/Area

This can be difficult for some to achieve because of living arrangements. Where possible, it is beneficial to set up a designated office room/area. This will help you keep that feeling of “I am at work now” (just minus the crazy commute to the office) and will help you disconnect from work at the end of the day because you will be able to physically ‘leave’ your office.

2. Set Office Hours

It can be tempting to just work as you please, but don’t fall into this trap. You will regret it when suddenly you realize you have no life outside work because you keep putting off work and flying by the seat of your pants. If your employer allows you to set your own hours, pick designated hours that work for you and your schedule.

You will want to make sure that you inform your friends, family, roommates, etc., of your office hours. Sometimes, people will try to take advantage of the fact that you work from home, and they might assume that you are now uber flexible. While flexibility of working from home is a definite perk, you are still working and getting paid to do a job. If you get lax on doing your job because of the temptation from others, then you can bet your employer will either fire you or require that you return to working in the office immediately.

3. Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment

Some employers will allow you to bring home your equipment (computer, screens, printer etc.), and some won’t. You will need to discuss this with your employer. Regardless, you need to make sure that your home office emulates the office you had ‘at the office’. Dual screen at work? You will need those home too. Standing desk at work? You will want that at home too. Comfy chair? Yup. You know it. You will want that at home too. If your employer is not going to let you bring home those items it will be an investment, but you may be able to write off some of those expenses at tax time. The CRA has a great tool on their website to determine if you can write off home office expenses.

Some day I will have an office with a door, but for now this is what my set up looks like.

4. Look Into Your Internet and WIFI Speeds

Nothing is more frustrating than being in a meeting and having your connection go down or not having enough bandwidth to support a video call, file sharing, etc., all at the same time. If you’re using a WIFI connection over hardwire, the quality of your WIFI router matters so do your research and make sure you have the one that is best for your set up.

(If your internet is this slow it's time to upgrade.)

5. Adequate Lighting

If you can set up your office space where there is a window to let in natural light – this is ideal. There are many studies that have been conducted that show that natural light in office spaces improves your satisfaction and productivity. In an article from New Day Office, the benefits of natural light in your office can be seen in better sleep at night, engagement, and even positive impacts to your overall health (Yay! Vitamin D!).

If you cannot have a window in your office there are ways you can brighten your day. Light and bright paint colors and adjustable lighting solutions are to of the most important things to consider for your home office. After that, hanging some decorative mirrors, bringing in some plants and other artwork to liven up your space will help to boost those positive feels when you are in your workspace.

6. Take Your Breaks and Lunches

Do not skip your breaks and/or lunches. If you are like me and you tend to get hyper focused on your work and then suddenly, it’s 3pm; set an alarm on your phone or a daily calendar reminder to take your breaks. You need to get up, stretch, get some fresh air, and provide your body with sustenance to be able to continue to do your job properly. Studies have shown that employees that take regular breaks feel mentally and physically refreshed and are better able to avoid burnout. Take your breaks, get some sun and fresh air, and drink your water. After all, we’re just houseplants with more complicated emotions.

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