Working from home can be challenging. You don’t have the same equipment or support as someone who’s sitting in a corporate office. So, how can you make sure that you’re as prepared and productive as them? Here are six things that you need to do:
1. Make an Emergency Fund
One of the biggest obstacles of working from home is that if something goes wrong, it’s on you to fix it. You don’t have an IT department to come up to your office to help you when your computer is on the fritz or when your phone breaks. You have to handle tech issues on your own, and you might have to cover the costs too.
So, you should prepare for this. Set aside some savings every month and pile them into an emergency fund. This could help you cover any unexpected tech breakdowns and problems that will stop you from working.
What if there’s not enough in your emergency fund? If you don’t have a substantial emergency fund, you could always apply for a flex loan to make up for your lack of savings. Click here to see what is an online flex loan and what qualifications you need to apply. This could help you manage an emergency expense quickly.
Make sure to tell your employer whenever you have to handle an emergency expense for your home office. They might help you cover the costs. Just have a copy of the receipt on hand.
2. Boost Your Internet
You need your internet to be in top shape when you’re working from home. You don’t want to have sluggish service when you have to race through a project to meet a tight deadline. You don’t want your connection to drop in the middle of your conference calls.
If you’ve noticed that your internet is too slow, you can do a few things before buying upgrades. Reset your modem. Move your router to a better space. Having it out of the open (instead of in a closet or cabinet) and close to your office could help with your connection.
If these things don’t work, it’s either time to upgrade your plan or replace your devices. These will give you a much stronger connection — and give you an easier time at work.
3. Organize Your Cables
Look under your home office desk right now. There’s a big knot of cables there. It’s embarrassing to have all of that mess sitting in your professional workspace, and it’s not very efficient either. It’s going to be a real pain trying to untangle your laptop charger from the knot when you need to move your work to another location. How can you fix this frustrating problem?
You have a few very easy options. You can use twist ties — yes, the ties that keep the plastic bags over loaves of bread firmly closed — to collect and organize your cables. Zip ties and Velcro wraps can also give great results at a very small price point.
Now your office will feel less cluttered and chaotic.
4. Get an Ergonomic Chair
You can’t have any old chair in your office. You should have a high-quality ergonomic chair. It’s an essential feature for any professional workplace.
Why is that? A regular chair can’t give you the support that you need to last through an entire workday. If you use a regular dining room chair or stool, you’re going to notice lots of aches and pains after spending hours at your desk. Eventually, you could get some chronic problems with your posture. That’s not good.
Get yourself a proper chair. It’s the right decision for your health.
Once you have the chair, you should look up how to make an ergonomic office setup with the rest of your equipment. Everything from your chair height to your keyboard position is important for maintaining good posture and taking care of your body.
5. Protect Your Eyes
You’re staring at screens all day long. You wake up and look at your smartphone to turn off your morning alarm and check your messages. You then log onto your computer for work. And if you don’t stay late and work overtime, you sit on the couch and relax in front of the television before crawling into bed and restarting the cycle.
Is this bad? While staring at screens won’t cause irreversible damage to your eyes, it will cause irritation. You can get eye strain from focusing on a bright screen for too long. You might find yourself getting headaches, blurry vision or dry, itchy eyes. This can be solved by taking the following steps:
- Take frequent breaks where you look away from the screen for at least 10 seconds
- Sit an arm’s length away from your computer monitor
- Lower the brightness on the screen
- Adjust the size of fonts, documents and folders so that you don’t squint
- Take eye drops if you’re experiencing chronic dryness or itchiness
Another problem is that the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt your sleep patterns. Blue light stimulates your brain, blocks the production of melatonin and tricks you into feeling awake. While this comes in handy in the middle of the workday, it’s not good when it’s done. You might find that you’re having trouble getting to sleep, especially when you work later hours. You’re wide awake when you hit the pillow.
If you’re having trouble sleeping after a long day, consider making some adjustments. Adjust the color temperature of your screens so that they emit less blue light. Some smartphones will have a setting that says “night mode” that accomplishes the same thing. Try to give yourself at least 2 hours away from a screen before you go to bed. This means you should try not to burn the midnight oil for work if you can help it.
6. Decorate with Plants
Finally, the last thing that you need to improve your home office is a potted plant — or even better, a few potted plants. Why is that? Research shows that indoor plants can boost your productivity and decrease your stress levels. It’s the perfect solution when your workdays have either felt like unbearable slogs or stressful sprints.
What plants should you get for your desk? Here are some popular options:
- Snake Plant
- English Ivy
- Jade Plant
- Peace Lily
With these six things, you can thrive in your home office. You’ll never want to go back to a regular cubicle again.