For our parents’ generation, maintaining a work/life balance was easy. Work was from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, and that rarely, if ever, varied. Then, a funny thing happened. People started working longer and longer hours. In 2014, polling data indicated that the average American worked 47 hours per week, and at least half of salaried workers reported working anywhere from 50 to over 60 hours per week.
With the increase in working hours came a big decrease in family time, and that’s not a good thing for American families. In recent years, working parents have started to push back, demanding reasonable schedules and additional flexibility in how they do their jobs. One of the primary ways many employers have responded has been to institute flex-time programs, allowing employees to work around their family schedules. Another way they’ve adapted is by becoming more amenable to telecommuting.
For busy parents that have the option of flex-time or telecommuting arrangements, the benefits are clear. The catch is that you still have to get your work done in an effective and efficient manner, and you’ll be doing some of it outside of the office. That’s not always easy in a home environment filled with potential distractions. To make it happen, a suitable home office environment must be created and maintained, and it must be equipped accordingly. Here’s what it should contain.
Obviously, any home office begins with dedicated space. An enclosed room is best if one is available, but any space can work if necessary. First, a home office requires basic items like a desk and a comfortable chair. If you’re the type that likes to move around while working, a standing desk might be a great option. Otherwise, just about any kind of desk will do, but make sure to give yourself as much desktop space as your home office location will allow.
As far as finding the right desk chair, there are plenty of options at all pricing levels. The key is to know which type of design you’re most comfortable sitting in for extended periods. You’ll encounter a variety of chair types in your search. You’ll need to choose between high-back or low-back, the type of fabric used (leather, standard textile, or mesh), and if you’d like your chair to have wheels or not. No matter which combination you choose, it should be possible to find an option that won’t break the bank.
The Right Equipment
Once you’ve got a desk set up, the next task is to get the right equipment to sit on it. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer that provides you with a company-owned laptop, you’re ahead of the game. If not, don’t fret. Start your home office off with a PC that fits your budget, and work from there. You’re also going to want to purchase an all-in-one printer, a desk lamp to ensure adequate lighting, and a paper shredder to deal with discarded work documents.
To enhance your productivity, it’s also a great idea to pick up a set of noise-canceling headphones, which will help to keep outside distractions from impeding your work. In that same vein, if your work will require you to be on the phone for a majority of your work time, consider a telephone headset as well. There are headsets for VoIP business phone models of almost every type, so you should be able to find something suitable no matter which kind of desk phone you’re using for work.
Make the Most of Your Time
The keys to a successful home office are comfort and having the right tools to get your job done. That means that the items mentioned here are just the beginning of what your individual circumstances might require. The guiding principle you should follow in acquiring other items is to ask yourself, will this help me finish work faster? If you find yourself answering no to this question in regard to a specific item, keep it away from your home office. Remember, every minute that you save in getting your work over with is another minute you can spend with your family, and that is why you’re working from home in the first place. If you always keep this in mind, you’ll be able to give your attention back to the people that matter most, without missing a beat at work.
This is a featured post by site supporter Andre Smith
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