So, I’m about 10 months late on this topic now that we have all been from home for such a long time. The discussion is turning more towards how we can move BACK to the offices, how and when that can and will be done.
For me, this is an important topic and I thought I would share my learnings from the past 10 months regarding creating a workspace at home.
I really understand that not everyone has the living situation allowing them to set up a good working place. In our apartment we had to set up an extra workplace since both me and my girlfriend are working from home full time for a foreseeable future. This ment some compromises when it comes to optimal space since we only had one spare room, putting my workplace in the bedroom.
Please bear in mind that these are important to me and I totally understand if you don’t have the space, ambition, or willingness to go down this path.
A real desk and a chair you like
Even if it’s quite convenient to setup your office at the kitchen table, it’s far from optimal for several reason. Even though it’s nice to be close to the coffee maker, this is not good for your back and sholders.
Given that you have the space, getting a real desk and chair makes wonders. It doesn’t have to be one of those adjustable desks or expensive gaming chairs. Simple stuff from IKEA is a good start!
For me, this is the most important part. I can leave everything else out, but I need a decent desk and chair to work from home.
Having an external monitor is important from a whole lot of aspects. You get some extra real estate while working on those spreadsheets and most importantly you end up in a more ergonomic posture, raising your line of sight. Being someone who has worked extensively from only a laptop monitor in the past, this has become important. For me, it doesn’t have to be a fancy, top-of-the-line screen, even though it does have to have okay aesthetic since it becomes a part of the interior decoration for the room.
A keyboard and mouse you enjoy
This has been one of the bigger pet peeves for me. Finding a good keyboard and mouse. I’ve also discovered I’m fussy on this topic and I have quite specific expectations.
I’ve been using the Microsoft Arc Mouse for a long time, and I really enjoy it. However, that has always been more of a “travel mouse” for when on the go or not at a real desk. It’s a bit small and not to ergonomic for my taste. I was also using an old “all-in-one” Microsoft keyboard which had a bad typing experience.
Those are now replaced with new fancy stuff, Microsoft Compact Designer Keyboard, and a Microsoft Ergonomic Bluetooth Mouse which I really like.
Since I spend a lot of time typing, the keyboard experience is important, and this keyboard feels just like a laptop keyboard (I’m NOT a fan at all of mechanic keyboards).
This is something simple and for remote work important to have good Teams meetings. If your setup includes an external monitor, getting an external webcam will really increase your meeting experience. You will be facing the correct screen compared to using your built-in webcam from the laptop, which will not present you in profile and you will be perceived as more engaged in the meeting since you will be looking the in the correct direction.
Keep a clean desk policy
I’ve always been a fan of this, both at the office and at home. Getting stuff out of the way and de-clutter my workspace removes all distractions. It’s also nice to start the workday fresh and since my workplace is in the bedroom, clearing up the desk helps me disconnect.
This is the area I need to improve the most on. I’m bad at taking breaks. However, I do try to take at least one 20–30-minute walk everyday with our dog. But I tend to eat lunch in front of the computer and just go to the kitchen for refill of water or coffee, so more like micro breaks.
This is another area of improvement for me, I tend to not move around as much as I would like. But being flexible where you work from, just like you would at an office, makes you don’t have to stare at the same wall day in and day out. It could give you a sense of an activity-based office. My idea how I will handle 2021 is to start my day at the table dinner table in the living room and then move into my office space when I’ve finished my coffee. However, I still some way to go on that point.
For me, being flexible could also mean that you bring your workspace to new places, or even outside when winter is over. After working as a traveling consultant for several years, my essential office still fits in a backpack.
Evolve your workspace
My home workspace is always evolving and improving. As or right now I have to things I’m thinking about. Replacing the desk for an adjustable one and figure out a good lightning setup with a low fotprint to improve the lighting for Teams meetings.
I also have about a thousand ideas what I would like to do, which are not possible now due to room limitations. But I have dreams of what my home office should look like, and it doesn’t really include that much technology. It has more to do what I want my space to look like.