Whether you’ve been a Denverite for a while or you’ve recently made the Mile High City your new home, working as we know it has changed in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Moving your job into your home has become the standard practice, especially if you operate in the technology sector. Luckily, for these professionals, the city of Denver was prepared to make the switch. According to our recent report on digital economy readiness, Denver ranked ninth among the top 20 most technologically prepared US metros, with 11.8% of the workforce operating in tech.
If you were already working in a home office set-up, you’ve probably faced all the challenges and are able to successfully do your work in this context. If, on the other hand, you’ve recently joined the ranks of those working from home, it might feel a little challenging to adapt.
Here are a few tips that can make your transition to working from home as smooth as possible:
1. Hold on to your schedule
While working from home, try to stick to your regular schedule as much as possible. Keeping your previous office routine might not seem necessary now, but it will help you be more productive and have more time for yourself when you clock out at the end of the day. Start your day as you normally do and create small rituals to signify the beginning of the workday – have a cup of coffee or go for a short walk. It’s important that you take your lunch break and another small break if you usually do that at the office. Just because you’re at home all the time now doesn’t mean you need to work longer hours, especially when trying to finish a project. At the end of the day, turn off your work-related devices and move away from your work station so you can fully relax in your free time.
2. Dress for the job
You might feel tempted to get comfy in lounge wear while working remotely, but wearing your usual professional attire will actually get you in the right mindset. A more relaxed outfit will make you feel sleepy and less prepared to tackle your daily tasks.
3. Create a designated workspace
Pick a spot in your home where you will carry out your work––where you can minimize household distractions and interruptions from your family or roommates. If you don’t have room for a full home office, you should still pick a spot for working, whether it’s in a separate room or just a corner of your living room. This will help you set boundaries for a better work-life balance. You can also pick a table or a desk and make it your own for the duration of your workday. Make sure to let your family or your roommates know where you’re working and when your workday begins, so they can be mindful of your space.
4. Get the work-from-home gadgets you need
Now that you’ve picked the perfect spot for your home office, make sure you have everything you need to carry out your work. Here are some ideas about things you could use to make sure your day run smoothly:
- Desk or writing table
Your dining room table or kitchen table just might not cut it for sitting through an entire work day. You’re better off picking a standing desk or a traditional one to better suit your needs. Working from home is here to stay for a while, so why not go for comfort first? Your body will thank you.
- Ergonomic chair
When picking your desk chair, make sure it’s the right size for you and has padding for added comfort. And you might look for a wheeled one, so your home office chair has some mobility. Also, make sure your chair fits under your desk when you push it in. If you have a sensitive back, you might need to use a chair that offers proper lumbar support and ergonomic arm rests. If you’re looking for a top-notch chair, it’s worth investing in a Herman Miller. While this model is more expensive than average office chairs, it’s one of the best on the market.
- Laptop stand
If you’re a laptop user, getting a laptop stand could considerably improve your work efficiency as it recreates the work setup you’re used to. It’s also a versatile product that folds down in case you need to temporarily repurpose your workspace. Choose a laptop stand like the Roost Laptop Stand, which has a universal fit for both Mac and PC laptops.
- Second screen
Whether it’s an iPad, another laptop or a PC monitor, using a second screen to expand your main device can make your workflow so much more efficient. If you prefer the smaller setup that an iPad brings, but you’re not quite ready to invest in one, you can go for the Asus MB168B. This is a 15-inch monitor that resembles the stand-alone iPad, but only costs $133, less than half of the starting iPad price.
- Wireless mouse
A wireless mouse will make working from home easier — fewer cords to deal with. The Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse is one of the best products on the market now, as is Apple’s Magic Mouse. If you choose to use MX Master with two computers, a USB Unifying Receiver connected to a USB hub will do the trick. You can use it to navigate up to three monitors. And it has a comfortable contoured shape for your hand to avoid cramping, as well as a speed-adaptive scroll wheel in its design.
- Wireless keyboard
You can use a wireless keyboard with your laptop at home to simulate your work desktop set-up. The Apple Magic Keyboard not only travels well, but it’s also great for working from home. It’s slim and light, so you can easily store it away when you’re not using it. It can be recharged through Bluetooth, and it makes barely any sound when you’re typing — which can be important in a busy household.
Getting a pair of headphones can help drown out noise, which is especially important if other members of the household are also working from home. We recommend the Sony Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones, which are great for increasing your work focus.
Now that you’ve added a whole array of new gadgets to your home, it’s time to go through some of your belongings. If your current home office served as a room to store out-of-season clothing and decorations, you could use self storage to keep these items until you need them again. There are many options to choose from when you’re looking to rent a storage unit in Denver, which means you can pick one that’s close-by, in case you need to access it regularly.
5. Make sure your internet connection is up to snuff
Make sure you set up your home office in a room where the Wi-Fi works well. This holds true especially if you live in a house where Wi-Fi reaches some rooms better than others. If that’s the case for your home, look into a Wi-Fi extender that will make sure your internet connection is smooth and fast in any part of your home. It would probably help to let everyone in your household know when you have a conference call in order for them to avoid gaming or using a streaming service at the same time. The current surge in internet traffic is putting a damper on streaming quality, according to a recent CNBC report.
6. Make your workspace your own
Your home office might be a separate room or just a corner in your living room, but that doesn’t mean you should skip on bringing your personal touch to it. You could hang photos or add a small plant or your favorite scented candle. When choosing furnishings for your space, pick calming hues of blue or light green. For a boost of creativity, add in some yellow or orange. If natural light helps your productivity, make sure you also consider this factor when choosing your workspace.
7. Keep distractions to a minimum
Make sure to communicate your work schedule to your family or your roommates in order to avoid interruptions. Also, plan your house chores either before or after your work hours. If starting that laundry load will be nagging at you all day long, it’s better to do it before your workday begins. When snacking, pick something easy to prepare that won’t take too much of your time. Keep your phone at a distance, so you won’t feel tempted to check your DMs or emails. The same principle applies to your mail, books and magazines. Keeping your workspace free of all these items will help you stay on top of your tasks.
8. Take your lunch break as usual
When it comes to taking your lunch break, follow your office routine. If you used to take lunch around noon, you should do the same while working from home. This is the perfect opportunity to try out those new recipes you’ve been longing to cook. If there are restaurants nearby, you could even grab a take out for lunch. This will get you out of the house, even if it’s only for a short while.
9. Keep in touch with coworkers throughout the day
Check in regularly with your colleagues through the messenger platform that your organization uses for employee communication. Be sure to communicate with your manager when you’re starting your workday and when you plan to finish. Make sure also to express if you need to be “out of the office” in order to run an errand, which is to be expected when working from home. Keeping an open line of communication with your colleagues will help make sure that all projects run as smoothly as possible.
10. Reward yourself at the end of the day
Even though you’re at home, you still carried the weight of a regular workday. Why not pamper yourself with your favorite treat? Get that ice cream or sorbet you’ve been stashing in your freezer and feel free to indulge. Your reward could also be watching that cooking video on Instagram or YouTube that you’ve wanted to take a look at all day.
Did we help you set up your home office? Let us know in the comments section below.