Image via Flickr by Jeremy Levine Design
Tired of commuting through heavy traffic and smog to get to your office? Are the costs of fuel, insurance, and wear and tear on your vehicle cutting into your budget? Well, how does a 10-second commute sound? How nice would it be to walk across your home and be ready to work? If your employer is on board and you’re all clear for takeoff in your home office, your day-to-day life will change drastically.
At the end of the day though, working from home isn’t that different from working in an office. There will be distractions, frustrations, and annoyances. The key is to acknowledge the potential issues and prevent them before they affect your work. But before you dive in, here are some things for which your home workspace should be equipped.
Quite possibly the most important thing your office should be equipped for is a means of communication with the outside world. Since you’re telecommuting, you’ll need to check in throughout the day with your superiors and peers at the office, to collaborate on projects and to turn in completed work. You’ll need a solid, dependable internet connection, and updated equipment to connect to it.
In addition to a modern computer, adequate printer and fax equipment, it may be in your best interest to utilize mobile devices as well, so you can stay connected if you ever have to leave the office area. Assuming your employer has implemented BYOD solutions like the ones offered by BlackBerry, you’ll be able to easily access SaaS software from any device from anywhere in the world. So if your corporate office uses one of these programs, take the time to look into the policies and procedures they’ve put in place to enable you to join in.
Additional gadgets will make communicating with your home office easier. Think about equipping your home office with an external hard drive to back up any work you complete, a DVD burner to record any presentations, and a second phone line to keep personal and work-related calls separate.
Your home office should be equipped to shield you from distractions. If you have a spare bedroom or den that you can convert into your workspace, plan to close the door while you’re working to shut out any noise caused by pets, children, or family members. While you may not always end up closing the door, you’ll inevitably want the option to do so.
You’ll be immeasurably more productive if your work environment is conducive to your comfort. Invest in a chair that meets ergonomic standards and adjust your desk to the appropriate height. Natural lighting helps the brain focus as well. Natural lighting affects your body in a few ways.
First and foremost, you should have plenty of light in your main workspace. Light will affect your mood, which in turn, influences your behavior. It can even affect your hormonal balance. So choose a room with adequate natural lighting, and fill it with comfortable furniture and equipment, and you’ve started the ball rolling, and you’re only a few steps away from completing your new home office.
Ease of Work
In order to make sure you’re able to complete the tasks required by your position, your office will need to be equipped with certain software. The specific programs you’ll need will likely depend on your job, but generally speaking, a current version of Microsoft Office Suite, an impenetrable firewall, and virus protection will lay the foundation of your software needs. Consult with the IT department at your corporate office to see what software will be needed, or if they can offer any IT guidance to help you through the transition to telecommuting.
Possibly the most important aspect of your home office is the organization of files and records. A home office that is not organized is not conducive to productivity. Do yourself a favor and invest in a filing cabinet or other system for keeping files and records organized. Employers tend to have high expectations for telecommuters, as they recognize the fact that distractions and self-motivation are common hurdles. Effectively organize your space, and you’ll be more likely to be able to quickly respond to inquiries and be more productive overall.
That 10-second commute is probably looking pretty inviting, with the memory of sky-high gas prices and traffic-induced headaches ringing in your ears. But before you take the leap out of the downtown mess and into the new land of telecommuting, take a look at these key aspects of your work for which your home office will need to be equipped. Your nerves (and your boss) will thank you.