God expects us to work. Work is defined as labour to produce a result. This could be at a farm, at one’s employment place or at home. Any place we work in is our workplace. Our mission place. God wants us to produce results from the labour of our hands. So we would require the right tools for it. If you are working to get a meal ready at home, you will require the right set of kitchen utensils. If you are a soldier, you need the right gear for combat. If you are a working professional, you will require the right machines or gadgets for delivering effective days’ work. Several years ago, when I started working from home, I realized how important it is to have a proper infrastructure at home to work from home.
For instance, I needed a desk.
I started off by using a plastic step stool to sit on and used the bed as a desk for my laptop. Within a few days, I realized that the arrangement was just not working. After putting in a hard day’s work I found myself sore and tired. I had a study desk at home. But it was used to pile up some medicines that belonged to my mother in law, magazines, a cordless phone and some dry laundry. It was not used as intended. I had to get some changes done to the room I worked in. So, I cleaned up the clutter, placed things in their proper places and bought a comfortable chair and a few other electronic accessories to ease my work. It’s important to use things as per their design and intent to get the best result out.
When we work from home, it’s good to have a few essentials in place. I am stating this based on my experience.
Essentials and Good to Have
1. Choose a place to work:
Make this your private workspace. The room should have natural light coming in. If that’s not possible ensure you have good lighting. A room at the far end of a house will keep away the unwanted day time noise and disturbances that ring throughout the house. e.g. doorbell ringing, sound from kitchen appliances. The basement or the least used bedroom will be a great idea.
Cut down on interference: Ensure that folks at home won’t have to visit your room frequently to get change clothes for kids, their study books, toys etc. Make arrangements to move those in a separate room if possible. Also, see to it that there are no other phone connections in your room. You will do the best when interferences are kept to the minimum.
Ensure that you have a good phone and network connectivity from this room.
An airconditioned room is an added advantage. In regions like India, summers tend to become very warm. An air-conditioned room will help keep away exhaustion (at least the climatic cause). A room cooler is an alternative in case you don’t have/want to invest in an air conditioner.
If you live in a single bedroom apartment, it would be unfair to take over the bedroom all for yourself. Since your family may also want to use the room whenever possible. Try to turn an enclosed balcony into an office area. Or invest in a room divider, that way you can use part of the room dedicatedly for work.
For cases where both the spouses are working from home, it best to create a separate and dedicated workspace. This way, you will not be stepping on each other’s space and won’t get disturbed with talks on calls.
2. Use a desk and chair
Invest in a comfortable desk and chair. There is no need to have a fancy one. The one with the minimalistic feature is always the best. Easy to get cleaned and pile less clutter around. It is important to have the right chair. A chair that’s positioned at the right height or else you could end up with back and leg pain.
3. Use a desktop & external keyboard
Connect your laptop to a desktop monitor and keyboard. You will do a great favour to your neck and wrist. Also, a widescreen gives a better view, especially for designers.
4. Use a mouse
Avoid using the laptop trackpad. For long hours of working and precision clicks, it’s better to use a mouse. A great designer always uses a mouse.
I remember a time when a customer asked me at a meeting why I used the mouse instead of a trackpad. I explained my reasons. It definitely gave him something to think about.
5. Essential stationeries
A book – to keep your notes
A pen/pencil – use a multi-coloured pen if possible. It helps mark priorities instantly on your notes and mark To-Dos. Also, all those colours on your book will add beauty to it.
Sticky notes – to keep some Webex meeting id’s or phone extension numbers handy or incase you want to add more details to one portion of your note.
Whiteboard – It helps if you want to explain a design to your team. You could take a pic and share with the team or do a live video. You could use reusable doodle books as an alternative.
Printer – This is great if you need to rush for a meeting a client and won’t have time to stop by at office or an office supply store to get a printout.
Camera – If your laptop does not have an inbuilt camera, invest in one that has better audio and video quality.
6. Internet connection
Invest in a good internet connection that will support uninterrupted services. While working from home, most of the time is spent on calls, screen sharing etc. So, watch out for the plans you choose. Also, keep an alternative internet connection handy incase the Wi-Fi you use is facing a downtime.
This is a must, especially if you face regular power cuts at home.
Laptop batteries won’t last for long.
Also if you are using a Wi-Fi connection through a modem + router, the modem is connected to the power source. So, having an inverter supply power to that plug point would be beneficial.
8. Phones and Accessories
A good smartphone, with noise-cancelling earphones or headphones, is a must. But using earphones for longer duration is not comfortable for our ears.
It’s good to use a Bluetooth speaker that can connect to your phone. Look for brands that have good voice clarity.
Keep water and some snack handy. Fresh fruit, salad or non-oily finger foods are the best options.
10. Dust cloth or tissue
This is good to have, especially if there is a spill and needs to be cleaned immediately.
11. Clean desk
We use a lot of gadgets and they come with wires. Thus, adding more items on our desk. Look for ways to keep the wires off your desk by taping it behind the desk or tying them with bands. A clutter-free look will help you focus more on work and adds less stress.
Have short breaks in between every task (assuming a 30 or 40 min task).
It’s good to stand and stretch a bit to relax before you jump on the next activity. Sitting for long periods is not advisable.
Don’t forget to breathe well. When we are engrossed in work we may have irregular breathing habits. It's good to fill your lungs completely with air.
Oxygen is vital for our brain function you know.
With sudden requests to work from home, many would not have access to the essentials to jump-start effectively on remote working. Try to make the best use of what you have at home.
Explain to folks at home how important your work is for you and for them.
It's important to have their support. Take steps to make your work from home experience less annoying and stress-free. It’s a very profitable work style and requires some getting used to. Remember: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, ‘ Colossians 3:23 NIV® Give your best to the Lord.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™