Unprecedented numbers of us are now working from home either on a part time or full time basis. The BBC reports that home working is here to stay for the long run. I believe this is great news for workers in terms of our work/life balances – not having to commute cuts out a lot of stress from our lives, plus there is the added benefit of getting to spend more time with our families.
On a personal level, having spent so much more time at home in general over the last seven months, it has made us really think about our own house and its suitability to being a space in which to work from home. Both myself and my husband are now full time home workers. We are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom which we have converted into an office for my husband, and I generally work from the kitchen table. Now that we are both home a lot we have been thinking about ways in which we can make our house our dream house which is why we have used a mortgage calculator to figure out how much we would be able to borrow to make home improvements. Things have moved quickly and we now have architectural plans drawn up and we hope to complete a kitchen extension in 2021.
Whether you are in the market for a new property or looking to optimise your current dwelling for home working, here are the things I believe are crucial if you are working from home:
An ergonomic workspace
As you will be spending quite a few hours per day sitting at your desk, it’s worth investing in some high quality office chairs – there are lots on the market but they aren’t all created equal. The best chairs are designed to be comfortable and reduce strain on the back. It’s also worth checking that your monitor is at the right height to avoid neck strain. There are a lot of quick changes you can make to your workspace for which your body will thank you.
A dedicated office space
My current situation of working from my kitchen table is not ideal and I must admit I am jealous of my husband who can hide away in his dedicated office all day. When I’m in the kitchen I am constantly getting distracted – the dishwasher always needs filling up or emptying, there is always dinner preparation to be done. As such, I really recommend having an office space with a door that is away from the hub of the home.
Good broadband connection
This is so important! There are websites out there where you can input your postcode and you can find out the broadband providers who can give you the fastest speeds. Whilst the UK’s towns and cities have speedy broadband, some rural properties lack good internet connections. It is perhaps worth enquiring with any neighbours about the actual speeds they get (which can vary from stated estimates) before committing to a long broadband contract.
Access to the outdoors
Whether its a garden or a nearby park, it’s crucial to have access to some form of outdoor space. When we work in offices, most of us tend to get out at lunchtime for a walk – the exercise, the fresh air and the vitamin D boost is great for our health. However, when working from home, it’s all too easy to spend the whole day indoors. Try and get in the habit of taking a lunchtime stroll or even sit outside and have lunch.