How To Set up a Home Office for Remote Work

setting up a home office for remote work wfh

Forty-three percent of US employees work remotely at least some of the time, with 80 percent of these remote workers completing their work from home. There are also a lot of self-employed Americans who work from some kind of home-based office, while many people operate a side hustle from the comfort of their own home. 

But, for those of you who are used to heading to a workplace every day, the idea of setting up a home office for remote work might seem daunting. Questions like 'What work office necessities do I need to buy?' and 'Do I even have anywhere to put a desk?' will almost definitely run through your mind. We're sure, however, that the convenience and comfort of working from home will soon make up for any apprehension. Oh, and the extra time in bed too, of course! 

Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, you'll need a range of office essentials to ensure a smooth transition from your company office to your home office. Read on to learn the work office necessities you can't do without. 

Carve Out a Dedicated Work Space 

A small room you can close off from the rest of your household makes an ideal home office. But, if like many people, you don't have a spare room lying around, try setting up an office in a space that's as out of the way of the rest of your household as possible. 

Adding a desk and a few work office items to a guest bedroom is a popular compromise. Since you'll be using the room more than any guests you might have, swapping a regular bed for a day bed will free up the floor space you'll need for your workstation. 

Other options include setting aside a dedicated space in the garage, laundry room, or pantry. You could even convert a small area under the stairs, a spacious cupboard, or an unused closet into a small but mighty home office. It might be a stretch but if there's room for a desk, this will help no end when it comes to dividing your work and home life. That said, if space is really limited at home, a corner of your living room, bedroom, or dining room might have to do for now. 

Make Room for a Desk 

If a dedicated workspace isn't an option. you should at least try to work from a desk rather than using the family dining table. Having to move your work office necessities before every mealtime is far from efficient and will soon become impractical. 

If you don't have room for a permanent full-size desk, use a Murphy desk instead. Many models fold up into a wall cabinet with built-in shelves so you'll also get added storage for all your work office items. And, since a Murphy desk doesn't take up any floor space when it's stowed away, dual-purpose rooms with large items of furniture such as a table or bed won't feel as cluttered. 

Another factor to bear in mind when selecting a desk is whether it has lockable drawers or compartments, especially if you're likely to have private documents and sensitive things in an office. After all, you won't want your kids getting their hands on them. 

Set up VPN Access 

Freelancers and other solo operations won't need to worry about this. But those of you working for a company will need access to corporate emails, databases, and other files from your home computer. For optimal security, your employer will need to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This allows safe communication between your computer and the corporate network so make sure it's in place before you start work. 

Ensure Your Internet Connection Is up to Scratch 

When setting up an office at home, 50Mbps is the very minimum speed to shoot for. Although, the more people using the internet at the same time as you, the more you should consider getting a higher-speed service. 

Your home's bandwidth also has an impact on your connection. Since wired ethernet connections are the best, we'd advise connecting your computer to your router with an ethernet cable. And, if your work involves video or other bandwidth-intensive work, this is even more important. That said, you shouldn't worry if you'll have to rely on your home's Wi-Fi connection -  this will be more than good enough for most basic office work. 

Whichever connection you go for, make sure that your equipment supports at least 100Mbps for wired connections and at least 802.11n for wireless ones, although 802.11ac is much better if you have that. 

Invest in Ergonomic Office Equipment 

When setting up an office at home, ergonomic design maximizes both your comfort and productivity. And, while there are things in an office that not all workers will need, these are the work office necessities that are worth the investment: 

Office Chair 

After a desk, one of the most important things in an office is a comfortable chair. But, while a foldable desk is a space-saving option, a foldable chair will definitely not cut it. As such, your chair will need to match your work office decor since it'll be more of a permanent feature. 

Luckily, the increasing popularity of working from home has driven a demand for attractive home office furniture. It shouldn't be too difficult to find a chair that combines both form and function, although you shouldn't compromise on comfort for the sake of a cute home office aesthetic. 

Your chair should be adjustable so that it's easy for you to sit with your legs at a 90-degree angle. While wheels are optional, make sure to opt for a padded chair with armrests and good lumbar support. 

Laptop Stand 

Whether you have a company-issued computer or a sleek Lenovo model, the portability of a laptop makes it far more convenient to work from than a desktop computer. 

The downside is that your laptop screen is likely too far below your eye-line to work from for long periods. To overcome this issue, you'll need a laptop stand to raise the screen and help you avoid the discomfort of craning your neck to work. 

As well as being one of the most useful things in an office, laptop stands are portable, adjustable, and easy to use. You don't even have to worry about buying a model that's compatible with your laptop either as most laptop stands work with all brands. For those of you who plan on sharing your workstation with other members of your household, this makes it easy to switch between laptops and adjust the height if necessary. And, since most stands fold down to a small size, they're easily stowed away in a drawer or a Murphy desk when not in use. 

Wireless Mouse and Keyboard 

Your laptop's built-in mouse and keyboard are fine for streaming movies, online shopping, and other personal uses. But an external mouse and keyboard are work office items you can't do without if you plan on using a laptop stand. 

There are now lots of compact, wireless options if you're short on desk space or storage space. And, since these devices are designed with portability and convenience in mind, they're quick to recharge and offer near-silent navigation and typing. 

Noise-Canceling Headphones 

If privacy is limited in your home, noise-canceling wireless headphones are work office necessities. Headphones help keep the noise down when you're on a video call. But they'll also help you focus by blocking out noise from other people. In fact, noise-canceling headphones can act as a 'virtual closed door' on your home office space, which is very useful if your desk is in a corner of the family room! 

Personalize Your Space 

While you might need other work office necessities such as a stapler, pens, or even larger items such as a printer, your work office decor should consist of more than stationery and electronics. 

It might seem like an extra but you'll be spending a lot of time in this space so it's important that it feels like 'you'. Personalizing your desk with some aesthetically pleasing decor won't just increase your happiness and productivity either. Placing a favorite painting, fresh flowers, family photos, or a plant in your eye-line also makes for a healthy working environment since it encourages regular screen breaks. 

Setting up a Home Office for Remote Work 

If you have always kept your work life and home life separate, the idea of commuting to your spare room or setting up a desk in the corner of your kitchen will feel strange. 

But once you have followed these tips on setting up a home office for remote work, you'll soon get used to the comfort and convenience of working from home. Who knows, your productivity and motivation might improve too when WFH! 

Working from home and being stuck in a home office working For more of the best WFH business tips and news, be sure to check out our other Bootstrap Business Blog posts!

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