How to set up your home for successful remote working

With a global shift towards remote work during and following the covid-19 outbreak, many of us quickly created a makeshift desk or home office space to tackle it. In fact, searches for properties including office space skyrocketed by a whopping 326%!

In our last new build home we converted the garage into an office and studio space for me, and set up an office for my husband in the alcove of our middle floor living room.

Oh So Kel Garage Conversion into Office and Studio Space:

How to set up your home for successful remote working
How to set up your home for successful remote working

Oh So Kel Living Room with Desk in Alcove: 

How to set up your home for successful remote working

Even before we were all forced to work from home by a worldwide pandemic, many of us were starting to see the appeal of working from home and making the move to do so thanks to the increased speed and reliability of our broadband connections.

4 years on, much of the working population are still yet to return to the office, or are working on a hybrid basis, which means setting up a functional and comfortable home office has become crucial and far more long term that initially planned. Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or still adjusting to this new way of working, creating an effective workspace can significantly impact your productivity, wellbeing, and work-life balance. Not to mention saving you time, money, and stress when it comes to your daily commute! 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to setting up your home for successful remote work.

1. Choose the Right Space

Identify a space within your home that can be dedicated to your work. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a separate room; even a quiet corner can serve as your workspace, like we did in our unused middle floor living room in the last house. The key is to choose a spot with minimal distractions and enough privacy for video calls and concentrated work. Natural light is a bonus, as it can boost your mood and energy levels.

If you don’t have suitable space within your home, head outside. You could consider creating a garden office like we did in our last house in an existing garage, or you may have an outbuilding or shed or be able to install a prefabricated option? Many garden offices will fall within your permitted development rights (particularly if you go down the moveable shepherd hut route), but always check the relevant planning permissions first. 

Oh So Kel Moodboard for House Renovation (converting the old garage into an office):

How to set up your home for successful remote working

2. Invest in Quality Furniture

Ergonomics plays a pivotal role in your productivity and health. Invest in a good quality chair that supports your posture properly, and a desk that fits your height and workspace needs. If possible, consider a standing desk or a convertible option to alternate between sitting and standing, reducing the risk of back pain and other posture-related issues. If you run your own business from home, these are often the sorts of costs you can claim back or, alternatively, your employer may chip in.

3. Set Up Effective Technology

A reliable internet connection is non-negotiable for remote work. Ensure your Wi-Fi is robust and consider an ethernet connection for your primary workstation if Wi-Fi stability is an issue. Make sure you have back up options like tethering in place should you need them too. It is also important to equip your workspace with the necessary day-to-day technology: a high-quality webcam for video meetings, a good microphone, and perhaps noise-cancelling headphones to help you concentrate in noisier environments. You could also consider using a second monitor if you often work with multiple applications or documents simultaneously; it can significantly increase your efficiency.

4. Organise Your Space

Keep your workspace clutter-free and organised. Use cable management solutions to keep wires under control and have adequate storage for your work materials to maintain a tidy area, particularly if you are using a dedicated space within an existing room in your home that also has other uses. 

5. Personalise Your Workspace

While functionality is crucial, and colleagues and clients don’t need to see your holiday snaps or your little darling’s latest artistic endeavour on Zoom, personalising your workspace can actually enhance your productivity. Add plants, artwork, or photos that inspire you and make the space feel welcoming. However, avoid over-cluttering your desk to keep distractions at bay.

Here is the desk space we set up in our daughter’s bedroom:

How to set up your home for successful remote working
How to set up your home for successful remote working

6. Establish Boundaries

When working from home, it’s essential to establish boundaries between your work life and personal life. Communicate your work hours to colleagues and clients so that there is no expectation that you will be answering telephone calls or emails at midnight (unless of course you do shift work or are on call at this time). You should also ensure household members know when you are working and cannot be disturbed to minimise interruptions. If possible, use your workspace only for work to mentally separate work from relaxation areas within your home. 

We have in fact planned for our office to be on the other side of the house in our forever home renovation. It’s away from the main open plan living space to not only avoid noise and distractions but to also have a physical boundary from ‘home life’.

Oh So Kel 1930’s Forever Home Renovation Floor Plan:

If your office space is within an existing room, using an armoire style desk which you can close at the end of your working day can be useful psychologically and keep your work papers and equipment neat and secure. 

7. Prioritise Lighting

Good lighting is crucial, not just for video calls but also to reduce eye strain. If natural light isn’t sufficient, add a desk lamp, wall lighting or portable light bar that illuminates your workspace without causing glare on your screen and can be turned off or dimmed if you want to use the space for different activities where softer lighting may be preferable. When working in a home office, lighting should be at least 4,000 Kelvin and to keep you alert and aid concentration, bright light with a high blue content is recommended. 

To avoid sending your electric bill sky high, consider the most energy efficient lighting possible, which will generally be LED.

8. Stay Connected

Working from home can sometimes feel isolating. Make an effort to stay connected with colleagues using digital tools. Schedule regular check-ins and engage in virtual team-building activities to maintain a sense of community and collaboration. Arrange regular face to face meetings or get togethers too. 

9. Schedule Breaks

Take regular breaks to stretch, move around, or step outside for fresh air. Breaks can prevent burnout, boost creativity, and maintain your health. Use this time to disconnect from work briefly, aiding your productivity in the long run.

Setting up your home for remote work involves more than just physical space; it’s about creating an environment that fosters productivity, health, and balance. By carefully considering your needs and making thoughtful choices in your setup, you can build a home office that not only meets but enhances your working-from-home experience. With home office space still a popular prerequisite for prospective homebuyers and said to add up to around 15% in value to your property, creating that all important professional oasis will serve savvy homeowners well should they look to sell their property in future.  

I hope this helps!

Until next time,

Kel

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