5 Steps To Create the Perfect Home Office

Guides 21st September 2020

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For everyone looking at how to effectively work from home for the long run, I’ve created the ultimate guide to creating the perfect home office. With easy and practical advice here are my 5 top tips for creating the perfect home working space. With everything from what broadband you need to work from home to using the correct equipment, here’s how you can create the perfect home office.

Over the last few months many of us have been working from home in less than ideal conditions. But as working form home for all or part of the week is going to be here for the foreseeable future, we need to look on how to maximise it of the long run. Slouching over the kitchen table whilst the dog runs riot in the background, I for one have found myself tapping ‘creating the perfect home office’ into the search bar more than once. However, after swiftly coming to the realisation I wouldn’t be carving myself a sleek new desk after my lockdown DIY ventures, it got me thinking what does make the ideal home office? Granted ultrafast broadband helps, but what about those who aren’t lucky enough to have FTTP connectivity but still need to work efficiently from home?

Step 1: Decide and de-clutter

Now that working from home is a more permanent fixture, it’s time to find a proper space for your home office. The kitchen table or sofa surfing isn’t going to cut it long term, so it’s important you dedicate a specific area to be your working space.

An area with minimal distractions is vital in being productive. So whether it’s a spare bedroom, an upcycled shed in the garden or a cosy corner of the dining room, chose and commit to a space you feel will allow you to be creative and productive. Having a dedicated working space also allows you to separate work and home life more efficiently, as these boundaries allows you to dedicate quality time to each area of your life. You take the thirty second commute to your new home office for a distraction free, productive day of working from home, then come Friday 5pm it’s straight to the fridge for a beer to enjoy some quality family time. You leave work where it should be – technically a few steps behind you but mentally you’ve entirely separated the two!

The next thing is decluttering! The old saying a tidy desk makes a tidy mind really does ring true, so make sure before you settle down in your new home office, you remove all the un-necessary clutter from your workspace. Clutter can cause chaos when you’re frantically trying to find that important note you scrawled down on the back of a crumpled piece of paper – not very productive and it creates a hectic mindset. That’s why it’s important to keep your working area as clean and tidy as possible. I know it’s a lot easier said than done but trust me, everyone in the house will be happier in the long run if you don’t start hoarding coffee cups and note pads at the kitchen table – I speak from experience!

Step 2: Use the correct office equipment

Using the correct office equipment is vital for our long term health when working from home, so it’s important to make sure your desk area is set up correctly. Screen raisers, proper desk chairs and using keyboards and mice are all incredibly important for our posture, and have on our health. If like me, you spend hours sitting at your computer, I’d highly recommend you speak with your company to see what health and safety assessments they can provide. These assessments will help you gauge the kind of equipment you need for long term working and guide you through how to set up your desk area correctly. This is a great video on how to set up your desk properly and is full of useful information about what checks you can do to ensure you’re working comfortably and safely.

It’s very easy to browse stationery and office equipment stores and be tempted to splash the cash on things you might not actually use. But before you start the next wave of Amazon deliveries, I’d recommend you start with the basics and check what your company will pay for. For example, your firm may pay for a new computer if the one you have is slow and unreliable and is making work unproductive and stressful. A sparkling new printer however, is useful but have a honest think about how often you truly use it at home. If you only need to scan items occasionally then consider using the scanning facility on your smartphone instead.

Step 3: Find a schedule that works for you

The Covid-19 pandemic has opened up a new era of working companies as fully embracing flexible working and switch from the rigid 9am – 5pm to more task orientated work styles. Teams across the world are becoming more efficient because they have more flexibility to work to a schedule that suits them. At Truespeed for example, I encourage all my team to be the best that they can be, and if this means your most productive at 6am before the rest of the world wakes ups, I’m all for it.

That’s why it’s so important when creating your perfect home office, to take an honest look at what schedule works best for you. Especially with home educating being part of the new normal for so many of us, working solidly throughout the day may not be as easy as it once was. Write down the schedule that allows you to be the most productive and speak to your team about it. Transparency is key here, so if you establish the times where you’ll be online and delivering results your daily routine will flow much better. A task focused mantra is a positive step change for many companies, so having conversations about what times you’re most productive and delivering the best work possible benefits everyone in the long run.

Fitting your ideal schedule around your wider time is definitely something you need to consider. For example, if you’re an early riser and tend to do your best work in the mornings then try to allocate these hours to those more brain-intensive tasks. And schedule catchups with team mates and virtual meetings with clients for later in the day. It’s also good to set clear expectations with other members of your team and your boss – and to understand their preferred routines too. And that goes for people you live with as well – if they are aware of your work schedule, there is a much lower risk of someone singing along to their favourite song while you’re on an important Zoom call.

Step 4: The importance of scheduling breaks

When you’re in the workplace with other people, it’s easier to take breaks without even realising you are – having a quick chat with someone by the water cooler or popping out for a walk to grab a cappuccino and cake from the local coffee shop. When you’re at home, though, it can be harder. That’s why it’s so important to carve out time every day to get away from your computer, do something you enjoy and can come back refreshed and ready to go for your next working session. Go for a lunchtime walk with the dog, do a 15-minute online HIT session, have coffee with a neighbour or just chill with a cuppa in a comfy armchair.

Forcing yourself away from your screen refreshes your mind and encourages you to move around to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. You forget how many steps you naturally take around the office which is very much needed for long term health, but when working from home it’s easy to stay sedentary for far too long. I’d recommend using a ‘step counter’ app so you can see your movement for the day. They also remind you when you’ve been sitting for too long which comes in very handy! When you do sit however, it’s important to make sure your posture is correct and take video calls standing up wherever you can. Here are some great stretches you can do at your desk as well which support long term working from home.

It’s important to take mental breaks as well especially when it comes to social media. It’s all too easy to switch from staring at a computer screen for work, to scrolling through the latest pictures on your neighbours Facebook page. That’s why it’s so important to try and avoid using screens excessively so you can allow your brain to focus on other things and give your eyes a break. If you are a social media devotee and cannot help checking Instagram and WhatsApp regularly, consider logging out of all your accounts while you are working. Then you can look forward to logging back in on your designated lunch break or after work for a well-deserved scroll session.

Step 5: Make sure your broadband is up to the job.

If you’re tired of fighting with spinning wheels and drop-outs, and Zoom calls that constantly freeze, having ultrafast, reliable broadband connectivity is a must for anyone working from home. The pandemic has brought about an immense surge in demand for broadband, and with so many more people using it every day whilst working and educating from home, it’s brought to light that it’s time to move away from a substandard, part-copper broadband and into the ultrafast era.

When perfecting your new home office, you need a reliable and fast service in order to maximise productivity. By choosing a full fibre (aka Fibre To The Home/FTTH) broadband provider, you get a fibre-optic connection that runs right to your door, eliminating any hint of outdated copper wire. Don’t be fooled by services labelled superfast fibre or fibre broadband, which are imitations of ‘full fibre’ because they rely on copper phone lines for the final connection to your home and cause unreliable service.

Sadly, not all full fibre providers are created equal so check before you buy. Some ‘subdivide’ the optical fibre coming out of your local phone cabinet and then share it between multiple homes, which can lead to digital traffic jams at peak periods, slowing down your service. Instead, having your own dedicated fibre-optic cable – using Active Ethernet technology – will provide a supremely reliable, high-performance, contention-free connection. Video calls, voice over IP and cloud-based business tools all just work 24/7.

This might all seem a bit technical, so I encourage you to check out Truespeed Regional Manager Will Jones’ blog about full fibre here. It breaks it down into an easily digestible format with some delightful food references – something we can all get our heads around!

So there you have it, my 5 steps to create the perfect home office. We’ve covered a lot of ground, so I’ve summed up the top tips into a handy summary below so you can start your journey into making home working, work for you.

Step 1: Decide and de-clutter

Step 2: Use the correct office equipment

Step 3: Find a schedule that works for you

Step 4: The importance of scheduling breaks

Step 5: Make sure your broadband is up to the job.

Sorting out your home office space, selecting the right broadband service, and finding a routine that works for you and your employer will make for a more fulfilling and more productive work/life balance. And while you might not own that treadmill desk you had been eyeing up, having a home office that motivates you to be your most productive during your work hours, will leave you more time to enjoy all the things you love outside of work.

Truespeed DO YOU GET IT?

Building an entirely new ultrafast network is a bit pricier than simply connecting to existing copper cabling. But we don’t think that’s a cost you should incur and, happily, neither does the government. With their Broadband Delivery UK Scheme, you get it for FREE.

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