More Americans are leaving behind a traditional office in favor of a home office. US Census data shows that 5.2 percent of Americans worked at home in 2017, which comes out to about 8 million people. To put it another way, one in 20 workers are doing their work from their house or apartment.
Working at home can be good for the environment, as it keeps you from driving a gas-guzzling car to an office 20 miles away. Research shows telecommuting can also be good for productivity, but only if you do it right. You need to outfit your home office the same way you would a traditional office cubicle. Read on for three essentials for your home office.
A supportive chair
When you’re working at home, you may not want to buy a new office chair. After all, those things can get a little pricey, and you already have a perfectly good kitchen chair, right? Not quite. A chair that’s good for eating isn’t necessarily the same as a chair that’s going to support your body for eight or ten hours of work.
But experts say you should also beware of chairs that are too deep or too soft. While you may think that sounds comfortable, such chairs can push your body into awkward and unnatural positions. Your body isn’t supposed to slouch when you sit. At best, that can make your back hurt. At worst, that can cause disc damage to your back.
If you don’t have the budget for the ergonomic office chair of your dreams, take heart. You can adjust your body by doing things like sitting on the edge of a seat. Creating a perch can also help your body avoid the dreaded slouch. And if you think you’re in a position that feels unnatural, change it.
Don’t just sit there and continue typing because you feel like you’re in the middle of something important. It can wait a few seconds while you adjust your body.
A reliable phone connection
If you’re going to have an office, then you need a reliable way for people to get ahold of you. Sure, email works fine for some people. Depending on your business, email might even work for most clients. But there’s always going to be people who want to call you and hear your voice. It may feel old-fashioned, but it’s still a decent way of doing business.
You may also have to call people to get information or clarify things. There are some times when you can’t wait for an email to be returned. When that happens, you need to be sure you’re working with a signal that’s as crisp and clear as possible. Sure, static on the phone isn’t your fault, but it still seems unprofessional.
If you’ve had reception issues in the past, start researching cell phone boosters from companies like HiBoost. It’s an investment that could pay dividends in the future. You won’t have much of a business if you can’t communicate properly with people.
A well-stocked fridge
Most offices have snacks, even if those snacks come from a vending machine that only accepts quarters. But you don’t have to install a vending machine at your house when you’ve got a perfectly good fridge right there in the kitchen. Make sure it’s well-stocked with healthy snacks that you also enjoy eating.
A box of cookies might give you a sugar rush, but it’s probably not going to help you focus on your work. If you want to focus, drink some fruit juice. It gives you a little charge without pouring a lot of added sugar into your body. And make sure to take an actual lunch break. Resist the urge to eat at your desk. Lunch is a way of giving yourself a rest and preventing burnout.