Are you working from home now due to the Covid-19 crisis? Here is some things to consider as you set up a home office environment and determine what you need to get the job done.
An Evaluation of your Home Office
First and foremost, evaluate your home situation and space requirements.
Do you have a spouse that will be working from home, children that will be present or even an aging parent who will require your attention? If the answer to all of the above questions is no, you may be able to set up your home office on your kitchen or dining room table. If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you will want to take a look at these further questions:
- Do you need a room with a door? If there will be a fair amount of noise from others, the answer is probably yes.
- Do you have a desk and comfortable chair already available to you? If not, you will need to purchase, borrow or arrange to have your employer deliver one to your home.
- How much time will you be on the telephone? Are the conversations long or involve multiple conference calls a day? Can you use your cell phone? Understanding this will determine how you will communicate with your clients and prospects during this crisis time. You may want to use Zoom or Skype as an alternative or limit conversations to only those that are most critical. You may also want to consider using a headset, for ergonomic reasons and to allow hands free calling.
- How much time will you be spending on the computer?
- Will you be bringing a lot of paperwork home? Do you have a place to store it?
- Do you have adequate storage space (either internal hard drive, external hard drive or cloud storage) for the work that you need to save.
Working on a Home Computer
Depending on your normal in-office setup, you’ll need to ensure that your home office setup is either similar or the same as your regular office set up.
Things to consider are:
- Do you need a monitor, more than 1? What size would be sufficient for you? Or is working off a laptop screen sufficient.
- Do you need ergonomic equipment to facilitate working at home? A proper chair, monitor riser, stand-up desk? Now is not the time to neglect your health and well being. Posture problems and injuries cause by improper set up can lead to sore wrists, back pain and eye strain.
- Do you need a mouse and or a keyboard? Are wireless options better for you? Depending on what’s available at your home, a wireless keyboard and mouse may be optimal for your situation.
- Do you do a lot of printing and/or scanning of documents? Will you need an all-in-one printer to facilitate your working from home environment?
What about a Business Phone?
Need to be hands-free at home? It is probably preferable to avoid neck cramping and neck pain. Especially if you need to be on the phone a lot throughout the day.
At the very least you’ll need a compact, Bluetooth wireless speaker with a built-in microphone for conference calls. However, if you’re really serious about conference calls, you may want to consider some proper teleconference equipment for unmatched audio quality and expansion capability of up to 4 phones.
Plus, this system frees up your hands to type notes into the computer and saves a lot of time.
Speaking of computers, you’ll also need a home computer that has your operating system and apps loaded onto it that can facilitate your teleworking experience.
Think about what else you’re going to need to put yourself in that office mindset. If you have noisy kids, spouses, or roommates–you’ll need something to drown that out. Wireless noise-canceling headphones will tune out distractions, thus keep all kid, spouse, and parent conversations from interrupting your train of thought.
Other Products to Consider
- Hand sanitizers. Put one next to your computer and in every room if possible. Use it often throughout the day. If you cannot buy some then wash your hands frequently throughout the day and encourage all family members to do the same.
- Disinfecting wipes. Clean off your work area, keyboard, and phone at least once a day.
- Printer paper if you decide to buy a printer for your home office.
- Stapler, file folders, pens, pencils and note paper.
- Stamps and envelopes if you’ll be mailing things out from home, such as invoices or client correspondence. Or even thank you cards as a way to check in the clients and tell them how much you appreciate their business and continued support.
- Healthy snacks and your favorite warm beverages (such as coffee or tea).
- Don’t forget about drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well.
Setting up a last minute home office can be stressful, especially with the current pandemic. Hopefully this article can help you get started in the right direction.