Now more than ever, office work isn’t done in the office anymore. During the  early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies were sending workers home to protect them from illness.

Remote work technology has been around for a while, but really experienced a boom in 2020. Here we are 2 years later, with many of those work from home employees still hard at work from their home environment or working a hybrid/office schedule.

Long commutes, high gas prices, increased dining prices for lunch, and challenging office co-workers, those are just a few of the reasons employees are resistant to return to the office. A 30-minute commute into the office each way is about 10 extra hours a week with family that is lost. That commute time isn’t compensated time and office workers are reluctant to give up so many hours each week for work that isn’t paid for. Many urban areas saw reduced air pollution and better traffic conditions with fewer cars on the road. 

Software technology like Teams and Zoom give employees a connection to co-workers when collaboration is needed and many people have effectively transitioned to electronic records and virtual meetings. Most digital conferencing platforms allow you to blur out your background or drop in a pre-configured background so that you don’t give the impression of working in the bedroom.

What do you need to create a work area at home? Most new homes and apartments are built with a work from home office environment, but if you don’t have a home office set up, you can still create a productive work area. Afterall, the work area at the office can be a pretty busy, chaotic place at times. 

You’ll want to carve out a quiet space with good lighting and a strong Wi-Fi connection. Think spare bedrooms, large corners in the family room, sections of a rarely used living room or dining room. Many people turned extra closets into cozy office areas.

You’ll need a workstation and comfortable task chair for sitting. It might also be a good idea to have a raised computer monitor or lap-top riser to avoid neck strain. We’ve seen folks use an ironing board as a work surface! Just as long as you are comfortable. 

Bluetooth speakers allow you to connect with your office and vendors while freeing up your hands for the keyboard and helping to keep the rest of the house out of the work conversations. You might also need a printer. 

Depending on the phone system used by your company, likely there is an app that you can download to your cell phone that will mimic the office phone. This will allow you to make and take office calls on your cell phone without letting everyone know your cell number.

It will be handy to have the same office “tools” at home that you did in the office. Pencils, pens, highlighters, paperclips, staples & a stapler. Don’t forget a notebook for meetings and a message pad if your position is such that you relay messages back and forth. Oh, and phone numbers and email addresses for your contacts. 

Remember, just over 30% of people working from home say they work longer hours since the office is just down the hall. Don’t forget that work-life balance and take time to refresh yourself, too.