Home office essentials

We are living through an unprecedented situation right now, and it’s affecting all of our lives on many levels. The real difficulty comes when trying to manage our lives, both personally and professionally – and those two sides of ourselves are currently unexpectedly colliding. The nature of work is suddenly changing direction and many people aren’t set up for working from home, or find it difficult to separate home and work – but it’s made a lot easier if you have the right kit

COVID-19 has become very serious, very quickly for us in the UK; many of us who are fortunate enough to still have jobs who are not working on the ‘front line’, now find ourselves working in our homes. The problem is that not all of us are set up for home working, either because we’ve never had to before, or because the business we work for doesn’t have a flexible working policy in place. Once the worst of this pandemic has blown over, this is highly likely to change – but, for now, there are many things we can do to temper this emergency through preparation.

Technology

The most important element of working from home is, of course, a trustworthy computer. During a time of isolation, a laptop or netbook is best for this, as the furthest any of us are likely to travel for a while is our own back gardens. Having the ability to print, scan and shred are also important elements of the home office; printing remains an everyday essential, scanning improves efficiency and security, and shredding ensures that rules around safe paper destruction are still adhered to, even away from the office environment – many people are still likely to be handling sensitive data and, even in your own personal home, this information isn’t safe unless it’s dealt with correctly.

Ergonomics

We’re all about to be stuck within our own homes for an indeterminate length of time, away from what are probably rather plush, and high-quality, office chairs. Investing in good seating, particularly at this critical time when we can’t get to the gym, or move around as much as we normally would, is vitally important for physical health and wellbeing. It’s been proven that bad seating – and very long lengths of time sitting still – are detrimental to our health in the long-term, and can do irreparable damage to our spines. At the very least, you need a back support, wrist supports and, preferably, to keep your feet elevated when you are sitting down, using a foot rest.

Desking

It can be tricky to find a place to sit down and work within the home – especially if other members of the household are also working from home, and/or there are children roaming around. Sitting at the kitchen table, or even working from the sofa with a computer on your lap, aren’t ideal, and lead to discomfort and long-term damage. An adjustable desk riser – which you simply place on top of any desk or table – allows users to sit or stand to suit their needs throughout the day, ensuring your body has a chance to move and stretch, even when you’re in the middle of something you can’t step away from. For those who take their home offices even more seriously, a treadmill or cycle desk will ensure that you won’t miss those spin sessions at the gym!

Stationery

Stationery is often overlooked, as many of use are more than happy to pick up and use whatever pen we’ve accidentally taken home from the bank, or been sent in the post. The reality is that good stationery is a joy to use, and can make all the difference in how you plan your day, making home working all the more pleasant. Invest in high-quality pens for making notes, highlighters for drawing attention to important passages, and sticky notes for the same purpose, to help you organise your work and your thought patterns.

Planners and notepads

Hand-in-hand with stationery go notepads, diaries and planners, all of which have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. Much of this has been driven by the rise of freelancers and home businesses, with millennials keenly adopting bullet journals and weekly planners that allow for vast personalisation opportunities. These can be immeasurably helpful when it comes to the ongoing organisation of note-making and to-do lists.

Security software

Ensuring that all of your technology has security software embedded within it is essential for the ongoing safety of your work – and your job. An open or easily-accessible network, of any kind, can lead to breaches, which can create enormous problems for both you and your organisation – so investing in the security of your own home technology is key.

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