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If you’re like most Australian professionals, you’ve been working from home since late 2020 – either full-time or at least a couple of days per week.
How are you finding it? Is being kilometres away from your boss and your team everything you expected it to be?
If your WFH arrangement does not resemble a workplace nirvana, don’t despair. A lot of fellow professionals are in the same boat – and are struggling.
Many are looking for tips and rules on how to make work from home more enjoyable. Productive. Palatable, even.
The top 3 complaints are:
- Lack of structure.
- Inability to focus.
- Inability to switch off after work.
In hindsight, these findings are not surprising.
City offices – as dreary as they can be – are not without value. They provide structure. A clear divide between work and home lives. Opportunity to mingle. Room to vent, moan and – dare I say – flirt.
Some of those are basic human needs – and are critical for our mental well-being.
Zooming away at your fellow inmate… I mean, colleagues – for 40-50 hours per week from solitary confinement of your spare bedroom does not help you realise many of those.
But not all is lost.
The key to survival in work-from-home arrangements lays in your ability to bend the environment to your needs.
Let me address 3 of the most important areas that you need to focus on.
1. Get A Top-Notch Desk & Chair.
This won’t make you more productive, but it will save you money in the long run.
Your posture isn’t just for preserving your good looks. Poor posture leads to health issues such as heartburn, indigestion, headaches and even incontinence.
I personally love stand-up desks from Movi (read my review of the best standing desks in Australia here) and office chairs from Herman & Miller.
The latter are very expensive, but hold their value ridiculously well.
You’ll be able to sell yours for 75% of its initial retail value on Ebay.
Don’t like the idea of forking out your hard-earned cash on work-from-home furniture? Well, if you do freelancing on the side and live in New South Wales, you may be eligible for a $500 government rebate on your workplace accessories.
The details are in the video below:
You’ll find full eligibility criteria here.
2. Make Your Workplace Zoom-Ready.
Ah, Zoom. The coalface of the new normal.
Just because you can get away with your WFH “set” looking daggy – complete with children’s toys, your dog and your kettle in the background – doesn’t mean you should. As the concept of working from home is maturing, the expectations around what counts as a Zoom-acceptable workspace is rising.
What’s the #1 secret to looking good on camera? Lighting.
The primary light source should be in front of you. This will avoid nasty cross shadows and dramatic contrast jumps.
The best way to achieve this is by facing your desk into the window. If this isn’t possible, your next best option is to be at 45 degrees to a window.
If you live in an igloo or a bunker and have no windows, don’t rely on overhead lighting. Consider investing in simple and relatively inexpensive artificial lighting solution, like this one from LumeCube.
3. Get Lunches Delivered.
You’ve worked for a few hours. Time to make lunch. Right?
If you’re not careful, you’ll spend half of your workday mucking about the kitchen. Time hemorrhages twice as quickly when working from home, and food prep is one of the biggest timesucks.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking. Don’t get all of your meals pre-prepared and pre-delivered. But lunches – and possibly breakfasts – are best treated as functional meals, the purpose of which is to fuel and nourish you during a highly productive workday.
(Related: Funkiest Coffee Machines For Your Home Office).
How To Work From Home: Concluding Thoughts.
Work from home is, as pundits on the news like to say, the new normal – for now. If you’re finding it to be a frustrating, unhealthy and unproductive experience, change your environment and your habits.
I hope that the above guidelines, ideas and tips have been helpful in helping you improve your work-from-home environment.