Your Home Office: Preparing the Workspace

The covid-19 pandemic brought on the need for most companies to shift their employees to remote work arrangements. According to a Gallup poll, from July to September this year, almost half or 45 percent of American employees worked from home, with 25 percent doing so full-time. Meanwhile, the remaining 20 percent had a hybrid setup, working from home on some days and at the office on other days.

What Employees Want

Among employees working from home full-time, 49 percent want to continue with the same arrangement, while 45 percent want to shift to a hybrid arrangement. Among those who are already working in a hybrid setup, 70 percent want to continue with it. Meanwhile, among employees currently working full-time on-site, 37 percent want to shift to a hybrid arrangement.

The hybrid arrangement is popular because it provides some face-to-face time with teammates while retaining the benefits of remote work on some days.

A majority or 76 percent of employees expressed confidence that their employer will allow hybrid work to continue. More than a fourth or 27 percent anticipate continuing to work from home full-time. If their company stops remote work arrangements, 30 percent of employees stated they would likely resign and look for a job with a remote work option.

Employers who want to retain their best talents must listen to what their employees want. Leading the way are ten popular companies that have announced that they will continue with hybrid work, with some allowing employees the option of working from home full-time. These companies are Apple, Microsoft, Shopify, Slack, Spotify, Twitter, Upwork, Quora, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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The Need for a Home Office

If you intend to continue working from home full-time or part-time, you need to set up a dedicated workspace. Unless you live alone, the home office must be enclosed to shut out the noise from the rest of the household. This is vital for virtual meetings. Another consideration is to provide a professional-looking background for such meetings. It will not do to have your bed or kitchen as your background. Being in an enclosed space will also eliminate distractions. Once you close the door behind you, you can focus on work.

Choose a space at home that you can enclose as your office. An extra bedroom can be transformed. An attic is also a good option. Attic spray foam contractors can ensure that it will not be drafty in winter or too hot in summer. If you have a basement, you can also use it instead.

Some people who do not have enough space opt to construct a home office in the yard. An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) will be perfect because it will have its own bathroom and a kitchenette that you can hide from view. This is also the best option if two or more people are working from home. An ADU will provide enough space for more than one enclosed office.

If you live alone and do not need a soundproof office, you can set up your desk anywhere convenient and put a divider behind your office chair. Choose a divider that will not look distracting on camera.

Best Features of a Home Office

It is best if your home office has a window that can let in a lot of natural light. This boosts energy, keeps you alert, reduces eye fatigue, and increases endorphins. It will be even better if the window looks out to a garden. Looking at nature calms the mind and can counteract work stress. If you do not have a garden, add potted plants to your home office.

Make sure your office desk and chair are ergonomically designed. This will prevent backache and carpal tunnel syndrome. To further prevent problems from sitting for hours, get an adjustable desk that can be transformed into a standing desk in one click. Set an alarm to remind yourself to shift from sitting to standing every hour or two.

Eliminate clutter by having enough storage. Identify what you need to store first. If you need a lot of books for work, get a floor-to-ceiling bookcase with a ladder. If you have mostly files for reference, what you need is a filing cabinet.

Hire a professional electrician to put in enough electrical outlets for all your office equipment and gadgets. Do this after you have decided on the office layout so that the wires are kept hidden behind the furniture and equipment. Prevent tangles by using cord organizers or clips. Ensure that the room has a strong and stable Wi-Fi connection. Add a repeater if needed.

Finally, paint the walls with a color you love. Add personal touches like photos of your loved ones and art that inspires you. You are the boss in your home office, and you get to put in anything you want.

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