Wednesday, 25 Oct 2017 | 8 min read
Your complete home office setup checklist
Working from home can be a great way to beat the commute, save time, and enjoy work-life balance. Whether you’re self-employed, you work remotely full time, or hybrid in-office and work-from-home, you’ll want your home office to be comfortable and supportive of productivity.
This checklist outlines everything you need for setting up a new home office from scratch or if you’d like to upgrade your existing home office.
Home office furniture & seating
Your furniture is the key to providing a comfortable workspace where you can feel productive. You’ll probably spend long periods of time in your home office, often seated at a desk, so you need the right furniture to ensure your body is properly supported. To achieve this, you’ll need to start with a few basics:
Studies suggest that height-adjustable desks, or sit-stand desks, are better for the health of your spine and improve your energy levels and concentration. Today, adjustable desks are affordable with options to either add a sit-stand function on top of your own desk, or go all out and get yourself a whole new heigh-adjustable desk.
When purchasing a desk, make sure it’s wide enough to allow for sufficient leg room as well as room for a footrest if you use one. Also make sure to measure the height of the desk, including any drawers or shelves that might be in your way, to ensure your legs will fit comfortably under the desk.
For an ergonomic workstation, you’ll need to make sure your elbows can sit comfortably at a 90 degree angle and your feet touch the floor. Some of this will come down to the desk you use, some of this will depend on seating.
No home office would be complete without a comfortable chair.
Choose an office chair that offers ergonomic support for your back, neck and shoulders and make sure it’s the right size for you. You’ll want to look for an office chair with lumbar support that can recline slightly to 100 or 110 degrees.
Your desk chair should also offer adjustable heights so you can set it so your knees are at about hip level or below, your feet are flat on the floor (or can reach a footrest), and, again, your elbows are in line with your desk at around a 90 degree angle.
If you’d rather not replace your office chair just yet, the next best thing is to invest in a good lumbar support pillow. This helps you sit better for longer periods and helps to transform most chairs into one you can comfortably sit at while you work.
If you see clients in your home office, don’t forget to add a few extra chairs for these in-person visits. If you have a waiting room, a comfortable couch and coffee table will also be vital.
Shelving and storage
Keeping an uncluttered workspace is a good idea as it reduces stress and anxiety, improves your efficiency, and keeps you from getting distracted. In your home office, you can avoid too much clutter with shelving and storage.
Depending on your job, you might need to consider storage solutions like:
Set of drawers
Before you head to a store to pick out what you think you might need for shelving and storage, first review your paper files, stationery, and supplies and estimate your requirements.
If you’re running your own business from home, you might also want to consider what storage you may need for keeping your products, samples, promotional items and materials, outgoing packages, or other items that you’ll need.
Good lighting isn’t just there to improve the décor and mood of your home office space, it’s also essential for practical purposes: you need to be able to see without strain.
Explore different lighting options, and try to incorporate natural lighting as best you can by opening up the blinds during the day.
You might also consider use a combination of overhead lights and desktop or floor lamps to get your lighting right.
When setting up your lighting and furniture for your home office, make sure you take screen glare into consideration as well.
Power and charging
Your home office will need to power and charge a variety of tech products, but too many cords can look messy and become a trip hazard.
Organise your power and charging accessories so you’re not at risk of tripping over them. You might want to use cord organisers to affix longer cords to the edges of your room. You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of outlets to power up everything from your computer to printers, so get an extension cord with multiple outlets if you don’t have enough in your office.
For charging multiple devices, you may need to look into multi-device charging stations or ways to organise all your chargers so they’re handy but out of the way.
A surge protector helps protect your electronic equipment against power surges. You can find surge protectors in-built to outlet multipliers, and you can even find them with USB ports to make charging your devices easy.
Surge protectors generally have a life span of around three to five years, so if you can’t remember how old that one is that’s just been laying around the house, it’s probably a good idea to get a new one.
Tech, hardware & phones
The right tech equipment and communications setup will help you get productive and connected. These days it’s essential to have the right tech stack to get your job done well and to keep you productive.
Deciding on whether you need a PC or a laptop will depend largely on what you need it for, how portable you’ll need to be, and to some degree, also your own personal preference. Some laptops can convert into tablets too, which some may find a handy feature to provide additional flexibility.
A desktop PC may offer you more computing power in areas like CPU, RAM, graphics card, and hard drive, but for many professions, these extra capabilities may not be needed. There are many powerful laptops on the market today that come close to what a desktop PC can offer, so do your homework and assess what’s right for you.
A computer monitor is essential for any home office setup. Make sure the screen is large enough so you’re not having to zoom in for intricate work. If you work with multiple documents, two monitors can boost your productivity and make it easier to work across multiple documents and programs.
A monitor stand or a monitor with adjustable height functions ensure that your screen is at the right level (at eye level or lower) to keep your workspace ergonomic.
A multifunction printer with copying and scanning capabilities will probably be sufficient for all your paper-based work.
However, before you jump in and buy a printer right away, explore whether you can set up a paperless home office. Many businesses today can get by without a printer as there are programs and apps that can support a paperless office. Explore these options first, and even trial working without a printer and see how necessary it actually is for you.
If you decide you do need a printer, prep yourself with backup toner and ink cartridges.
Keyboard & mouse
Look out for an ergonomic keyboard and mouse to boost comfort.
One option worth exploring is a mechanical keyboard. These are generally ergonomically better for your hands, more comfortable, and more durable than regular keyboards, but tend to be more expensive.
Computer mice also come in a range of sizes and shapes, so make sure you find one that’s right for your hand size.
Phone & mobile
Depending on your role and the company, you may also need to set up come form of phone communications. Here you have a few options, including:
Before running out and setting up a phone system in your home office, examine what you’ll need it for and whether there are other solutions, like software and video calling apps that might fill the same need better.
Phone options like softphone make it easy to set up a business line with minimal overheads. Likewise, mobile SIM plans with data sharing could also serve a better option, depending on the reasons why you need the phone system.
Whether you use a VoIP or traditional landline phone, your phone should be compatible with your computer or landline setup. Make sure it supports the features you want, such as call waiting, conferencing, and loudspeaker.
A stable internet connection is vital for working from home. Ensure you get a reliable connection by having the right router. Check with your ISP for recommended models, so you can achieve maximum speeds.
Now it’s time to get to work!
Setting up a productive home office is about your needs and personal preferences. Having comfortable furniture is vital, along with getting set up with the right IT infrastructure and fast broadband. Adding personal touches like artwork and pot plants can help you achieve a positive mood and ambiance.
Aussie Broadband is an Australian-based, industry-leading ISP providing award winning telco services to households and small businesses around the country. Get a free quote from Aussie Broadband today on nbn™ internet plans, mobile phone plans, and phone services, to see how we can help you achieve your work from home goals.
Editor’s note: This article was updated and refreshed on July 15, 2022 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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