As more businesses make the switch to remote work, ensuring staff have the right equipment to work from home becomes more important than ever. We give you the lowdown on the latest office gear that makes working from home a breeze.
Working from home is here to stay
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in the way we work. Millions of Australians are now working from home. It’s a trend that is likely to continue well beyond the crisis. A recent Finder survey found moving forward 48 per cent of people will look for flexible and remote work options to be part of their work conditions. At the same time, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported that four in 10 workers have shifted to working from home during the pandemic. One in four Australians would like that to continue post-COVID.
With so many of us considering ongoing remote working options, the importance of setting up a home office to accommodate our needs is vital.
What to consider when setting up to work from home
While operating from your dining room table may have been OK as an interim solution, if you’re planning on making a permanent switch to remote work, you need a proper setup.
Jim Berndelis, General Manager Merchandise at Officeworks says if working from home is to become part of your day-to-day it’s essential to have the right equipment.
“A few months ago, Australians all scrambled to set up a workspace that allowed us to work from home, thinking it would only be for the short term. Now we know that working from home is going to play a much bigger role longer term, it’s important to ensure you’re set up to be your most productive and of course healthy. That means an ergonomic desk and chair set up rather than the dining room table and chair. Adding a second monitor, a wireless keyboard and mouse and a riser for your laptop are also great ways to set up your home workstation.”
Choosing your space
Some of us are happy to be amongst the commotion, while others prefer peace to get things done. So, where you set up your office space is a personal decision. Of course, your choice may also be affected by the limitations of your available space. So, what should you consider? If space allows setting up a dedicated room for your home office is always the best option as you can shut the door to remove distractions. If a dedicated room is not available, try to claim a quiet corner or another space where you can minimise interruptions. Avoid your lounge room and kitchen as they are often the most frequented rooms in the house.
It could be tempting to use one of your existing chairs at your desk or hunker down at the dining room table, but that would be a mistake. Ergonomic office equipment supports your physical wellbeing. An ergonomic chair provides support for your spine. Typically, they deliver maximum lumber support and encourage better posture. Your spine, shoulders, hips and pelvis have better alignment, which reduces muscular and skeletal strain. The result is less back pain. While an ergonomic chair may cost more than a standard desk chair, the benefits to your physical health make the extra spend well worthwhile. It’s also worth noting an ergonomics study found that employees given an ergonomic chair reported fewer negative symptoms throughout the day, and a total increase in productivity of 17.7 per cent.
Why sit at all?
Another ergonomic option worth considering is a standing desk. While standing desks are a relatively new phenomenon, research has already accumulated surrounding their benefits. Canadian analysts have discovered active desks (either standing or treadmill) reduce sedentariness and improve mood.
Invest in home office tech
A laptop may be great for working on the go. Still, it’s not an ideal solution to work from full time, UNLESS some additional equipment supports it. Invest in a wireless keyboard and mouse to minimise physical strain. To avoid neck strain, set your laptop up on a pile of books or a laptop riser, so it’s at eye-level. Looking at a small monitor all day is also not ideal. Equip yourself with a large monitor to minimise strained eyes.
Finally, working from home can sometimes feel isolating. However, when it comes to keeping in touch, technology is your best friend. Make time each day to connect with your co-workers. Schedule in a Zoom call or stay in the loop via free apps like Slack, which make messaging a snap.
You can find information on government support packages, mental health services and quick links to small business initiatives on Officeworks website here.
This article was first published on Small Business First. You can see the original content here.