2020 was memorable for all of the wrong reasons, mostly because of COVID. Not only did COVID force the world to enter quarantine, but it also changed how people view work. Many companies have allowed their employees to work from home, admitting that the typical 8-hour office workday isn’t as vital as people thought.
Since working from home, many have begun showing interest in continuing remote work, even after the pandemic ends. This means that many are curious about how to set up the perfect home office. This article will go over a few essential tips that you should keep in mind when planning your ideal home office.
5 Tips to Help Set Up a Private Home Office
1. Install a VPN Router in the Office
Let’s begin this list by talking about cybersecurity. You might not realize it, but working from home means losing out on the security your office network offered. For example, your home network doesn’t have the same firewall your office network uses to prevent outsiders from sneaking onto the network.
If a hacker gains access to your network, you and the data you handle during job hours become vulnerable. Connecting to your work’s network from home suddenly becomes a dangerous action that could cost you your job and your company thousands in damages.
If you want to ensure your and your work’s safety, install a VPN router in your office for maximum protection. What does a VPN do, exactly? A VPN encrypts the connection between your devices and the network, meaning that no cybercriminal can access the data.
2. Don’t Cheap Out on Chairs, Desks, or Peripherals
There are some things you should just not cheap out on. According to Dreams.co.uk, the average human spends 26 years of their life in bed, so why cheap out on a mattress? The same study shows that people open an average of 15-16 years at work and 12 years looking at a screen.
With those two statistics in mind, it’s clear that you shouldn’t cheap out on the things you’ll be using when working in your office. For example, why would you cheap out on a chair when you’ll be sitting in the said chair for 6-8 hours a day, five days a week?
The same logic can be said for your desk, your keyboard, your monitors, etc. Cheap out on these items, and your comfort, your productivity, and potentially your mental health, can suffer.
Don’t cheap out on furniture or peripherals for your home office. Make the office yours. If that means saving up for a few more months to get the perfect chair, so be it!
3. Set Up a Schedule
One major issue remote workers run into early on is the inability to take their minds off of work. After all, if you can continue doing work instead of taking a break or going to sleep, many people will choose to engage in their work even more, despite not taking a break being bad for their health.
This behavior, more often than not, leads to burnout, exhaustion, and lowered mental health. So how does a remote worker avoid the urge to continue working? How does one force themselves to sit down and take a break?
Besides building up the habit of saying no to work, all remote workers need to set up a work schedule. Take a 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. work schedule, for instance. When the clock hits 9, you can get to work. But once the clock hits 5, you exit out of what work you’re doing and save it for the next day.
4. Separate Work Devices from Personal Devices
Speaking of burnout, one of the leading causes of burnout for remote workers is workers not separating their personal devices from their work devices. What does that mean? Well, if a remote worker uses the same laptop they use to play games to do work, those games can begin feeling like work. Why? Because that device soon becomes a sign of work.
If you can afford to, keep your personal devices separate from your work devices. Buy a cheap laptop for work and have your main desktop be for personal purposes only. Plus, the action of keeping your personal and work devices separate comes with its own security benefits. For example, if your personal device is ever compromised, the hacker won’t be able to steal data from work-related projects.
5. Keep Receipts of Work-Related Purchases (If You’re a Freelancer)
One extra tip for freelancers: if you set up a home office, keep the receipts of purchases you made related to renovating. Peripherals, furniture, devices: all of it is tax-deductible if you use it for work (and work only). Don’t save the receipts, and the government may question the validity of your tax deductions.
Saving the receipts means you won’t have to worry about potential audits come tax season. And the deductions can save you hundreds!
Remote working can be difficult, and setting up your own home office can alleviate some of the stress one feels while working from home. However, setting up the perfect home office requires a lot of planning. With these steps, you’ll be able to quickly plan your perfect home office.