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How to Boost Your Remote Team’s Wellbeing and Productivity: The Home Office Essentials

Kelly Peters

pic 1 plant desk

When done right, remote work can be more productive than the in-office alternative.IIn fact, it can even lead to happier employees. Our kitchens and living rooms may not seem like the best places to work remotely. However, you can turn them into fully functional home offices – if you apply a bit of design thinking.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Keep ‘work’ and ‘home’ separate

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that working and relaxing in the same space can threaten your work-life balance and sleep quality.

If you or your employees have the luxury of a spare room, turning it into a home office is a no-brainer. For employees who don’t have extra space available, it’s a matter of claiming a specific area at home and dedicating it to work.

Here are some things to look for when designing your home office:

  • As much natural light as possible: It’s the most desirable office perk in the country and can help you stay focused. (A good desk lamp is a worthwhile investment if natural light isn’t available.)
  • A private, quiet space: Noise kills productivity. If you can’t shut the door on noise, consider noise-canceling headphones.
  • A clean, organized work surface: Clutter increases stress.
  • Distance from the bedroom: Working from or near your bed makes it harder to relax later on.

Then, when your employees leave that dining room table, armchair, or whatever else, they’re leaving ‘the office’.

Invest in the essentials

While we’d argue that plants, picture frames, and scented candles are essentials, there are a few basic things that every home office needs.

Encourage remote employees to start with these basics:

  • A good internet connection: It goes without saying that slow internet fosters anxiety and reduces productivity. If necessary, get a better connection, a better router or a faster Wi-Fi access point.
  • A monitor or laptop stand: While monitors might not be feasible for everyone, laptop stands are an affordable way to preserve your neck and back while working.
  • A separate keyboard and mouse. If you’re using a laptop as your main PC, a detachable keyboard and separate mouse will make it easier to adjust the ergonomics of your workspace and reduce the risk of a repetitive strain injury (RSI).
  • A supportive chair: You’re saving on office overheads by going remote, so set up a chair budget for home workers. Or, share some advice for improving home office ergonomics.
  • A hydration station: There’s a reason the water-cooler is an office staple. Not only is it a productivity booster but a cornerstone of good mental and physical health. Encourage employees to keep a jug nearby.
  • Redecoration. A personalized home office isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’. Interiors have a significant impact on our mood. It’s important to encourage employees to spend time customizing their new home office space. Happy employees are, after all, 13 percent more productive. Making simple changes is an effective way to promote employee wellbeing, so consider setting up a policy to contribute to this cost, too.
  • Desk plants and flowers. One of the quickest ways to reduce stress and boost productivity is to introduce some plant life.

Working and living, together

The best place to work remotely doesn’t have to be an upscale café or a hushed library. In the current circumstances, they’re often not even an option. Now, it’s a matter of working with what we’ve got and turning our homes into working hubs.

If you encourage your employees to turn a corner of their house into a home office the right way, you won’t just sidestep potential work-life balance pitfalls. You will also help them to create a workspace that promotes wellbeing and productivity.

Kelly Peters

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