Setting up a Remote Workspace

If you're one of the many employers whose employees have found themselves suddenly working from home lately - perhaps along with a partner and children - you may not have given much thought to a home office setup. It's time to change that.

Whether it's for a few more weeks or months, it behooves employers to develop ideas and guidelines around a workspace that supports employee health and productivity. That's especially true if your business decides to maintain some level of telework after quarantining ends. Read on for remote work tools to encourage employees to consider for both short-term and long-term telework success.

Desk and Ergonomic Chair: Probably the first and most important pieces of a home office to put into place. It doesn't have to be fancy, but a desk - whether standing or seated - and a chair with good lumbar support will help employees who are at their computer for most of the day avoid achy backs and wrist injuries. (See this great infographic on office ergonomics from Movability member Thrival.)

Good Lighting: Having some natural light is ideal, but if that's not possible employees should have a decent lamp to avoid eye strain.

A Headset: This is especially true if the home office is suddenly a shared co-working and schooling space. Headsets with microphones range in price from $20 to the hundreds of dollars, depending on whether they plug in, use noise-cancelling technology, or are Bluetooth enabled. Whatever model your employees decide on, a headset will help them hear and be heard on the now-frequent video meetings filling your day!

Phone Charger: We're all using our phones a lot more now; to avoid a drained battery halfway through the day, consider either a conventional or wireless charger near your work space that will give your phone juice so you're not left disconnected.

Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the "it" word you never knew you cared so much about until you, your spouse, and your children all started accessing the Internet at the same time. Adding a second router or replacing an existing router with a more powerful one can improve data flow - but only if your Internet speed is already solid. To address Internet speed, employees will need to communicate with their provider.

Uncluttered Space: Again, this might not be possible for everyone. Ideally employees will be able to carve out a room, corner, or section of their home that they can dedicate to working. Even if it's a desk in the corner, setting up that space to have needed tools within reach, a way to communicate the need for silence and space while in meetings, and good lighting will help boost productivity. Just as important is what's *not* in that space: toys, laundry, dishes, schoolwork and the everyday things that tend to accumulate around our homes. Everyone's adjusting to sharing space in a new way, and it's OK to have one room's contents bleeding into another. But if possible try to keep clutter away from your work station or desk.

Are you an employer or an employee trying to adjust to remote work? Let us know your ideas, challenges, and thoughts about that and other telework topics!

Does your workplace need customized support to create a remote work structure? Movability can help! Contact Kate Harrington to learn more.