Working From Home – Create a Comfortable and More Productive Home Workspace

by Amy Anne

Working From Home

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. If you purchase a linked item, I will make a commission, at no extra charge to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Updated May, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives in one way or another, directly or indirectly. This is a fact that has hit hard and fast all over the globe (=pandemic). In today’s highly digital and always-on connectivity, some of us are lucky enough to be able to keep our jobs and fewer even have the option to work from home. 

I work in healthcare and I was offered to go remote on a rotating schedule. The rotating schedule is working remote for 2 weeks and back on the hospital campus for 2 weeks while another person on my team goes remote for their 2 weeks. This ensures that if one person can quarantine for 2 weeks then the risk is low for going back to the office since they should not have been exposed to the virus in that time (hopefully). Then the people who are in the office are able to social distance better and have less risk of at-work exposure. It makes sense enough and I will take any remote schedule I can get, especially right now. I want to keep myself and others safe by doing anything I can in order to do that.

Here is a list that I’ve come up with to make my work from home days more efficient and more comfortable for everyone involved, cats included.

Prepare

This includes borrowing as much from your office as your employer allows. Borrow monitors, keyboard, mouse, pens, headphone with mic, chair, etc. Also get set up before you’re scheduled to start work remotely. Set up your work area and test connectivity to ensure it all works because you don’t want to be on the phone having IT troubleshoot while you’re in your jammies which also makes you late for your Monday morning 8 o’clock meeting on your first day of remote work (ugh).

Desk

Get a desk if you don’t have one. Designate an area for for your desk and make it comfortable. Personalize your space so no one takes it over. Make it pretty if that inspires you. You can go on Pinterest and search small home office and you can find how to convert a closet into a workstation. Don’t forget to grab a comfortable and adjustable desk chair. 

 

Desk Accessories

I recommend getting a few things if you don’t have them on-hand at home:

  • A monitor: DO NOT RELY ONLY ON YOUR LAPTOP. Your work monitor is most likely 20-24″. Computer monitors can be pretty expensive, but you can get some good ones for about $100 on Amazon or Best Buy even. When I was offered a remote schedule, I went to Best Buy so I’d be ready the next day. They didn’t have any monitors in stock, so we ended up getting a 24″ TV for like $75 and it works great! 
  • Keyboard and mouse – having these separate will allow you to sit more comfortable and will allow you to raise your laptop up to eye-level which is ergonomically correct and better for your body.
  • A lamp – if you’re tucked away in a corner. I sit next to my living room lamp which is soft indirect light. 
  • Good headphones with a microphone attached for those beloved hilarious conference calls.
  • New “co-worker” supplies – If you have a new co-worker who likes to jump on your lap during the work day like I do, I suggest setting up a bed near you so they can get their fix and leave you to do your work. Mine sleeps on a folded blanket next to my keyboard. I love my co-workers. At least they remind me to take my breaks. 

Keep a Schedule

Keep a schedule with a planner and calendar alerts. You are at home and you’re most likely being pulled in a thousand different directions and even though they are familiar to you, if you’re in a different environment – everything will feel new for a while. I set alerts to get up and work out, or to eat, or to make phone calls. All kinds of alerts for all my different juggling acts. I have my iCalendar synced with my Outlook calendar and the alerts help big time. The animals really do remind me to take my breaks by taking them for walks, we’re both being healthy with me being home. Here’s a good workout self-challenge to keep you motivated to be active every hour through the workday. 

I suggest getting a paper planner for work and personal tasks (also to record all contact in case contact tracers reach out to you – yikes!) and a magnetic whiteboard that you can write appointments and menu plan for all to see. Example of my fridge whiteboard below

Extras You Didn’t Know You Needed

There’s always ways that you can improve your setup. Below is a list of the total extras that I either bought or want in order to make my work from home experience that much better:

  • AirPods – I just got some AirPod pros and I love them! They work great for Zoom calls, home workouts, and my podcasts. They stay put on runs outside too. Extra-extra: they’re noise cancelling. 
  • Phone holder: I have a dinosaur shaped phone holder and it makes my desk that much more fun and functional. 
  • Amazon Prime: I buy most things from Amazon right now and getting a Prime account has helped save on shipping costs and they have some pretty good shows on Amazon Video now!
  • Fresh flowers: they really bring the outside in when you can’t go outside and make everything seem nice. Safeway has bouquets for as low as $5.
  • Espresso machine: I haven’t gone to Starbucks in weeks.
  • Blue light glasses: these claim to protect your eyes from light of your monitors because that seems to be all we do now. 
  • Phone projector: this is a fun one. Let’s watch movies on the entire wall. 
  • Bicycle pedals under your desk for those added active points! 

What is keeping you sane while working or schooling from home? 

What kinds of jobs are able to work from home that normally would not be allowed? 

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