Working from home is an increasingly popular career choice for many people. Whether it’s sales managers who cover a specific territory or an agreement with management to work from home on specific days, working from home means less travel time, often quieter workplaces, and the freedom to work at your own pace and at the times of day which suit you best. Whether you prefer 9 to 5 or a 10 a.m start to fit around a school morning drop off, you need to make sure you have everything you need in your home office to get you started. Here is our guide to the essentials for working from home.
Let’s start with the basics – forget working at the kitchen or dining room table. To work from home and keep distractions to a minimum, your best bet is to identify a room or a space within your home that can be set up as an office or designated work area. Whether it’s an unused corner in your hall or a spare room, a designated work area needs to be somewhere that you are comfortable in but also a place that you can walk away from at the end of the day. Remember that it is important to be able to switch off at the end of the day and have a home life, too.
Make sure you invest in the right equipment for your office, from an ergonomic chair to a professional mouse, a paper shredder, box files, a keyboard and a desk at the right height. Health and safety is just as important in the home as it is in a traditional office environment.
Create your work environment
From motivational quotes to your favourite cup for a brew mid-morning, make sure you look at those extra little details that mean you are comfortable working from home. Your office space should reflect your working methods – so if you want photos of your family on the walls, put some up! If you like to brainstorm for new ideas, add a whiteboard. Whatever spurs you on is essential when working from home.
VPN remote access
To be able to access company emails, databases files, folders, calendars and information, if you are working remotely, your employer will need to set up a Virtual Private Network or VPN connection. Company laptops are the easiest way to ensure security details such as firewalls, anti-virus programmes and spam filters, are up to date.
Communication is where it’s at
From Skype to Zoom to online conference calls or just a simple old-fashioned phone call, communicating with colleagues, customers, clients and suppliers is as essential out of the office as it is in the office. Invest in a decent headset for VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) calls. A microphone and camera on your laptop might not cut the mustard with a top client.
Security is key
Make sure your work is password-protected, or your laptop at the very least. After a busy day in your home office the last thing you want is your six year old sending a document to a set list of customers or internally within your organisation. Passwords are also an excellent way to protect customer data as well as new product launches or new projects that a company doesn’t want a rival to know about.
Back up, back up, back up
Make sure you’ve backed up your work and data to a company approved location. Whether it’s to a cloud-based location or to a company drive via a VPN connection, check in advance so that you know exactly where information is being saved.
Don’t forget about the essentials
In a world where working from home is increasingly the norm, it’s easy to forget about the essentials such as a paper, notebooks, a paper shredder for confidentiality and pens. As well as a comfortable chair, a welcoming work environment and the latest security, simple things that motivate you such as a funky pen or a well-loved coffee mug make a big difference when it comes to working from home. A paper shredder is an absolute must for shredding and disposing of documents securely and who doesn’t love a pen with a purpose instead of an event freebie? Let’s face it, whether it’s a fluffy or a personalised pen, as long as the work gets done on time, if it motivates you to manage your workload to the highest of standards, no one needs to know.
In summary, from stationery to security, there are many advantages to working from home, you just need to ensure you have everything set up beforehand to ensure it’s plain sailing from the start.