Work from home setup: what makes a great home office?

Last updated on 
April 27, 2020

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Working from home gives you unparalleled power to shape your work environment. But it also poses new challenges for your focus and wellbeing – from domestic distractions and uncomfortable equipment, to the absence of physical boundaries between work and play. The amount of space and privacy you have available in your home also plays a huge factor, and can be especially difficult to navigate when you’re sharing it with kids and other workers.

Naturally, there’s no one-size-fits-all here – but there are a few best practices to help find your ideal work from home setup. Pulling together tips and examples from our remote workers here at Memory, here are a few home office setup ideas to get you started.

Location

While it’s great to change up where you work in your home, you should still have a designated base office space. It can take up an entire room, or just a corner of it – the important thing is that you set a clear physical area for your work. Wherever possible, try to keep your home office space:

  • Self-contained – a separate room with a door is best
  • Fixed – not like the kitchen table, where you have to constantly clear away your gear
  • Adaptable – you should still have the option to change positions and tweak your scene
  • Separate from where you relax – to help mentally divide work and downtime
  • Fed by fast, stable internet –  an Ethernet connection is a huge plus

If you’re sharing bandwidth with other family members during working hours, consider upgrading your network router. You’re likely going to have a lot of video calls, so you’ll need a robust Wi-Fi connection.

Ergonomics

Without the right setup, working from home can be unforgiving on your body. As a general rule, your work surface should be close to elbow height, with elbows close to your sides maintaining a 90-degree angle between upper and lower arms. Your screen should be roughly an arm’s length away at eye level. Respond to aches and try to nail a comfortable office setup from the start, considering:

  • Your chair – is it at the right height and does it support your posture?
  • Screen position – consider getting a laptop stand or dock, external monitors and monitor mounts
  • Standing options – bookcases and ironing boards make good interim standing desks
  • Mouse and keyboards – you’ll need these if you’re elevating your laptop screen
  • Desk space – ensure coffee mugs don’t become workplace hazards

Check out this nice breakdown of possible work from home kit.

Feng shui

There’s a fair amount to consider here – from noise, lighting, temperature and general ambiance – and, as such, huge scope for your own creativity. A few basics you’ll want to think about include:

  • Natural light – let the outside world in, access fresh air and maybe get a little bonus vitamin D
  • Desk lamps – be kind to your eyes when working late (try using an app which sympathetically adjusts the brightness of your screen throughout the day too)
  • Headphones – not every living space has the luxury of silence
  • Plants – these little lives can improve your mood and your indoor environment
  • Personality – light decorative touches can again boost your mood (just don’t be tempted towards clutter)

You may have just lost the best coffee machine of your life. While it won’t quite rival the fancy equipment in your employer’s office, treat yourself to new hot drink paraphernalia, like an Air Press, cafetière or some fancy beans.

The home offices of Memory

Our team has been working together remotely across the globe for six years now. To get your creative juices going, here’s a little insight into what our home office setups look like.

Anahita, Finance

Timm, Product

Emily, Growth

Cesare, Product

Kat, Finance

Matt, Sales

Anup, Engineering

Mathias (Coronavirus edition), CEO

BONUS: remote work Norwegian-style

Working remotely? Use these strategies to keep your work visible

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