When the recent lockdown came upon us, I may have taken a greater hit because I have never been in a position to work from home, treating the home as a safe and comfortable place for relaxation.
When I am at home, my thoughts rest as well.
This time, however, forced me to change that perspective, if I wanted to still put food on my table and be able to pay my bills as well.
I realised I was among the many people who would find working from home a whole new experience.
With a lack of control over how much one sleeps, does domestic work, or enjoys leisure, work can be regressive.
There are, however, a few things you can add to your studio apartment without spending a lot, given the economic status at hand.
Here are some things that one can move around or even add without encroaching much on your space and still make a conducive environment for work purposes.
You do not want to work from your bed. For most people, this is the one place from which productivity is largely absent; you may end up binging Netflix or sleeping again. Personally, it has been a negative influence on my working capabilities. Shifting your workplace away from your bed will therefore lift your spirits.
If you have a sitting space, it becomes way easier to make up your office. This could be your couch or other types of chairs you used for the sitting space.
You may need to move the furniture a little bit if the location does not bring in natural light.
According to Edrine Kimera, a 3D designer at Jomera Homes and Gardens, putting your location near a window will allow in more light, creating a better work atmosphere. The light, Kimera says, should be from the sides and not from the back or front of your work space. This, he says, helps in the even display of the natural light.
You will need a place to put your computer, notebooks, pens and other work stationery. A desk is the most appropriate worktop for the job. You may need to choose between two kinds of desks.
Nathan, a freelance photographer, said he always uses a standing desk when doing most of his work since among other reasons, it is good for his back.
A standing desk helps when one is feeling less productive while working at home since it is easy to change working positions more often. .
A standard desk will depend on the size of your space. If your space forces you to be creative, you can use any flat surface available in your house, or get a simple table for your space.
You can as well get a storage desk to help you keep important documents. Desks range from Shs150, 000 to later prices from online shops depending on the size and type one needs, and Shs200, 000 from around Kampala. You can also explore the option of cheaper used furniture.
The accent wall
Working from home involves attending meetings online and you will need a presentable background. Adding portraits to your wall will change much in your office space without burdening your pocket.
“Most people have well-taken pictures, either wedding, travel or funny home pictures. Hang your best pictures either symmetrically, abstractly, or any other kind of alignment on the wall to create a proper environment,” Kimera said.
You may need to invest in a MiFi, or constantly lookout for pocket-friendly data bundles especially when you need to do research or make references, not forgetting online meetings.
While these are not the only things you may need for your office, they could be basics you can start with to assemble a productive home office space. Treat your home office with respect. Wake up, freshen up, dress nicely and get ready for work.
Looking for a good chair that will not affect your back and work will make a good investment. This costs from Shs37, 000 and more depending on the comfort it offers.
Make a list of what you need for home office
You can spend hours on Pinterest scrolling through beautiful, well-staged photos of people’s home offices. But your home office needs can be a lot different from what you see presented on social media.
Do you need a designer couch in your office space? Probably not unless you are a therapist who is going to see clients at home. Do you need fresh flowers brought in daily? Most likely not unless you are an Instagram influencer.
Some essential things people need for their offices include:
A work surface. You are going to need somewhere to do your work, such as a desk or table. How large a work surface depends in large part on how complicated your setup needs to be.
A chair. Even if you decide to buy a standing desk, it is nice to have a chair to sit on from time to time. Your chair does not have to be fancy or full of the latest ergonomic bells and whistles. But it should be comfortable and the appropriate height for your workspace. Consider functionality over form when choosing your chair. A chair meant for a dining room might look nicer than an office chair, but you will wish you got the ugly ergonomic chair after sitting in it for a few hours.
Computer equipment. You need a laptop or desktop computer for most remote jobs. How complicated you make your computer setup depends on your job. Some workers also need a printer, copier, or scanner (or a machine that does all three). Start with the most simple setup and upgrade as needed.
Specialised equipment. Some job types require more specialised equipment, such as lighting for photographers, microscopes and beakers for scientists, and kitchen gear for personal chefs or cookbook authors.
Office supplies. It is easy to go overboard when it comes to office supplies, especially when setting up your home office for the first time. A less-is-more approach is usually best. That way, you do not end up with a stack of sticky notes you never use or a lifetime supply of yellow highlighters. Be realistic when picking out what you need for supplies. If you do not see yourself mailing documents often, you can probably wait to buy envelopes until you need to mail something. If your work is purely digital, you probably do not need the 100-pack of pens or the stack of notepads.
A secure place for documents and files. Even if you mostly digitise your documents, you could have a few important work-related documents. Those documents need a place to live, and ideally, that place is not on the corner of your desk underneath your coffee mug. It is a good move to invest in a locking file cabinet for sensitive files and documents. If you get a fireproof one, even better. Along with filing cabinets, consider some type of shelving or bookshelves to keep binders, books, and other things you might need organised and handy.
Internet and phone. You will need a reliable high-speed internet connection and perhaps a dedicated phone line for your home office. One option is to get a landline alternative, like Skype or Google Voice, to use for business phone calls. That way, your boss or clients do not have to call your personal cellphone or home phone to reach you.
Office and home decor. As with office supplies, it is easy to go overboard on decor. But you do want to make your home office look somewhat warm and inviting, as you will be there for several hours each day. Hang up a few attractive prints or put a few knick-knacks on your desk to make your office a place where you actually want to spend time.