Having thousands of bank workers in big, expensive city offices “may be a thing of the past”, Barclays boss Jes Staley has said. About 70,000 of Barclays’ staff worldwide are working from home due to coronavirus lockdown measures.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to many more of us working from home, accelerating a trend that has been with us for some time. There may be no going back, especially if we work in professions or sectors of industry where the location of our work is not considered crucial. If we haven’t already done so, perhaps we should all make sure that if and when we have to operate from a home office, that office serves us well?
There are an infinite number of considerations to think about – such as the funds we have available for furniture and equipment or the physical space available in our apartments and homes to name but two. We don’t pretend that our check list below is comprehensive but you will find a strong focus on the aspects of a home office that enable you to be productive, efficient and communicate effectively with your colleagues and clients.
Dedicated space: Think about what you need to have around you to be able to focus and concentrate. Carve out a dedicated space if you can that gives you easy access to technical equipment, files, books, material. It’s going to become exhausting if you have to clear everything off the dining room table whenever you – or anyone else – wants to eat.
Lighting and fresh air: If you are lucky, you may have good natural light in your chosen working space at home. If not, think about good desk lamps or uplighters. Good lighting lifts your mood – working in a dark room dampens your spirits and is bad for your eyesight. Keep your working space well-ventilated by opening windows or airing rooms.
Comfort AND safety: The corner of your sofa may be perfect for watching Netflix but it won’t help your posture or prevent you from developing back and shoulder pain when it comes to hours of working on your laptop. A comfortable supportive chair is a good investment and have a work surface at an appropriate height that enables to tap away on your keyboard all day if you have to.
Minimise noise and distractions: If you need to place calls, speak to colleagues, stay in touch with clients the best solution is to have a separate room at home to work in. If this is not an option, a good pair of headphones will help as will negotiating some “quiet” time with others who live or work in the same space.
Fun AND Tidy: We are all much more productive if we work in a space that gives us pleasure. Brighten up your work space with photos or personal objects, perhaps a plant or some flowers. A notice board (or a blank wall) is great for post-it reminders. Don’t forget to keep your space well-organized so you can find what you need easily.