The first step in building a comfortable office is getting comfortable equipment. You’ll spend long hours at your desk and your computer; the right equipment can make the difference in improving productivity and comfort.
Here are a few life hacks for choosing home office equipment.
Invest in a comfortable chair
A comfortable chair is the heart of a productive home office. You’ll spend nearly half your day on it. Investing in a good one will make a notable difference to your work life.
Selecting the right chair can be a challenge. Prices can range from a basic chair priced around $50 to a high-end Aeron chair setting you back at least $1,000.
To find the right fit, pay attention to back, thigh and arm support. Also consider the material options and warranties offered, if any.
Use a second monitor
A second monitor is the closest you can get to a productivity superpower. An additional screen makes so many tasks easier — coding, designing, writing and researching. It also makes multi-tasking more approachable.
If you don’t like juggling windows, a second monitor should at the top of your wish list. For best results, buy the same model as your current setup so you have the same screen fidelity and experience.
Don’t forget mice and keyboards
The humble mouse and keyboard are often ignored for larger, flashier equipment. Yet, they play a crucial part in improving productivity and comfort.
For keyboards, try using mechanical keyboards. These have mechanical, clicky keys that give a lot of feedback. While they might be noisy, they offer unparalleled typing comfort. Writers and coders will especially love them.
For mice, choose something larger that fits your hand comfortably. Gaming mice are particularly comfortable and accurate, though they do tend to be on the pricier side. Avoid small travel mice — they’re uncomfortable for extended use.
Consider buying a standing desk
There is a growing body of research that show that sitting for extended periods of time is bad for your health. This explains why the new generation of workers are embracing standing desks.
A standing desk is exactly what you think: a tall desk where you work standing up. Most of these desks are height adjustable (i.e. you can lower/raise the height as needed). Some more expensive versions can even be converted into conventional sit-down desks on the fly.
A standing desk won’t magically transform your health, but it will improve productivity, focus and heart health.
If you think your house has enough furniture or you’re not inclined to to buy a standing desk, consider trying a standing desk extender. These desk extenders can also be adjusted by height and are often cheaper. They also allow you to turn any surface into a standing desk. It’s quite convenient when creating a home office for the first time: you can try different places to find the one that works best for you.
Follow ergonomic rules
Minimize the damage sitting for long hours causes to your body by following ergonomic rules. Set up your home workspace in such a way that your back and neck are straight and your arms are parallel to the floor. Avoid slouching or keeping your arms at odd angles.
Make sure you have high-speed internet
Running an online store makes it imperative you have a solid home internet connection. If your service is subpar, consider changing to an alternative internet provider or buying and installing a Wi-Fi router before setting up a home office. It’s easy to get distracted when slow internet connection disrupts your workflow all the time.
For better WiFi signal strength, place your router high off the ground and in the center of your house. Make sure there is no clutter around it, as well as any devices or appliances that can cause signal disruption. For example, microwaves or home phone sets.
For more accurate results, do multiple tests and do them when no one in your home network is downloading or sharing files or doing video streaming and video chats.
It’s okay if the results are about 5-10 Mbps off than promised by your provider. If the results are way lower than advertised, connect your provider and check your network for unauthorized devices.
How to Set Up a Home Office Space
Your office space is more than the equipment in it; it’s a combination of the decor, lighting and overall aesthetic.
Get natural light
The first rule of building a comfortable office is to get plenty of natural light.
Why natural light? A recent study found that adults who get natural light sleep better. Plus, natural light just feels better! So, make sure to position your desk and chair in a well-lit room.
Keep space and equipment for brainstorming
Your best ideas will often come away from the desk. Maintaining space inside your office for brainstorming is a good way to get the creative juices flowing.
How you create this space is a personal preference. Some might prefer a relaxing couch while others might want a simple standing desk and a whiteboard.
At the very least, try to have a place to keep ideas (such as a pinboard) and easy access to pens, notebooks, etc.
Clean your home office regularly
When you create a home office, you have to keep lots of things in mind: equipment, office hours, tasks and calls, balancing your work and family time. It’s easy to forget about cleaning, especially when you’re used to traditional office space being cleaned for you.
Schedule some time for tidying up and regularly clean your office equipment and the room itself. Don’t forget to clean all surfaces and use special solutions like wipes, sprays, and sanitizers.