Your employer allows you to work remotely. That’s fantastic. Studies show that you’ll be more productive and happier in your work, and the company culture will be more appealing to prospective employees.
In addition, remote workers allow a company to hire from anywhere in the country and even the world. No longer are employers limited to local talent or someone they can convince to move to their home city.
As an employee, this means you have more choices about who to work for without relocating. The world is your workplace, the internet your office, and the possibilities are endless. However, once you’ve been hired to work remotely, you’ll need some key things to set up your home office.
A Dedicated Space
There are a couple of reasons you need a dedicated space for a home office. Just like if you home school your children, they need a place that says “school,” you need a place that says work to you. This is for psychological reasons on one-part and physical reasons on the other.
Psychologically when you go to your work space, your brain is already set to work. It will quickly transition into the tasks you need to do. This will help you be the most productive you can be. It will also help you separate from work when you take breaks or time off.
Physically you need a dedicated space for tax purposes. You can deduct a number of expenses for your home office if you have a certain room you use only for work. Even if you share the room with someone else, your expenses there are tax deductible. This includes a portion of your rent, your utilities, your internet bill, and more.
Your office will need some furniture. This means choosing a desk, a chair, and any storage you may need, including shelves and file cabinets.
- The chair: You’ll be sitting for hours, and you need a chair that promotes good posture and is comfortable. From a ball chair to ergonomically designed ones, take the time to find one that’s right for you. Spare no expense in this area because you’ll be using your chair for a long time to come.
- The desk: A desk must meet your needs, but it’s also helpful if your desk can be used in multiple ways. You may also want to consider a standing desk, as this is one of the best ways to promote movement in sedentary jobs.
- Other items: You may want a mat under your desk chair to keep from tearing up the carpet or flooring under your desk. You probably need a file cabinet and possibly a fireproof safe for keeping important documents and hard drive backups.
Once your office has been furnished, all of which is tax deductible as well, you can begin to set up some of the other things you’ll need.
In order to work over the internet, you’ll need the fastest internet connection you can get in your home. Sometimes this means adding a dedicated router just for your work, so others in the house won’t be taking up your bandwidth while you’re trying to get things done.
You’ll need a good computer, one that has all of the software installed on it that your employer wants you to use for work. Sometimes your employer will provide the computer for you, and others they’ll give you a list of specifications your machine needs to follow and as well as an allowance to purchase one.
Either way, be sure that you have a reliable machine that is fast enough to do the work you’ll need to do and meets the IT requirements of your employer.
If your employer expects you to answer the phone, they’ll often provide you with a link to a business VoIP system that will allow you to take and make calls with your computer on a number they’ll provide you, just like if you were sitting in their offices.
You may also need a printer, a fax machine, and a copier. There are many affordable all-in-one solutions for these items. Whatever technology you would have at your fingertips in another office, you’ll need in your home office as well.
One of the most common areas set up for an office is a spare bedroom. Bedrooms don’t always have the best lighting for work though, so you’ll need to supplement that lighting with lamps and other illumination sources.
LED desk lamps are a common choice, as is the addition of other softer hanging lights when possible. Also, some advantage can be gained by changing the bulbs in the existing fixtures in the bedroom. Just remember to use ones that are good for your eyes and help prevent eye strain.
A Work Schedule and Plan
One of the biggest issues with working remotely is that your personal life and your work life can get mixed. You never really leave work, but you also never really leave home. In some cases, this means you work too hard, and in others, it means you spend too much time on personal things rather than working.
To prevent this, you need to have a plan. Have a schedule and keep to it. Have a lock on the office door and close it when you are not supposed to be working. Share your schedule with your family so they know when and where you’re available and when you’re not.
Working remotely requires some planning and setup. Use this short guide and get to work. Your health and your employer will thank you in the long run.
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