Working from home, or never leaving the office depending on how you look at it, has plenty of benefits, but there’s a few key things those housebound aren’t doing enough of.
More on that later.
First the benefits: no frustrating commute, being able to dress neatly from the waist up while sporting tracksuit pants and Ugg boots below for those all-important video links with the boss, and spending more time with your previously lonely pets.
But first, you need to ensure your office set up is comfortably and your tech is up to speed if you are to avoid big backaches and headaches.
Getting adequate internet speeds will be a significant issue. Use an internet speed test to see what you’re getting. You should be aiming for 20Mbps for downloads and at least 4.5Mbps for uploads.
If your office is in a different room to your Wi-Fi router, buy a Wi-Fi extender and simply plug it into a power socket near your computer to increase the range and amplify the signal.
If that’s not enough due so solid walls, interference or distance from your router, you could purchase a powerline adaptor, which will turn your power sockets into Ethernet network points, then use a LAN cable to directly connect to your computer.
If your router is in the same room as your office, connect a LAN cable from the back of it to your computer.
If that still doesn’t work, call your internet service provider and ask about upping your speed limit. Sometimes it is just an extra $ 10 a month to double your speed.
Invest in a high-quality desk chair. Do not compromise – get the highest quality chair you can, claim it on tax and protect your posture.
Equally, buy a wrist rest and footrest if you find them comfortable.
Invest in a monitor so you’re not hunched over a small laptop screen. If you stick to just a laptop, elevate it so the screen is at eye height.
You’ll be saving a lot of money not buying lunches and coffees, but be careful not to overeat with your well-stocked fridge and pantry temptingly nearby.
Remember to drink plenty of water as you’ll probably consume less without that office water cooler at hand.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIPS
Top of the list for LinkedIn Learningsenior director Jason Laufer is communicating with your team.
“When working from home it is important to foster professional and personal relationships to break up the work day … asking a colleague how their weekend was, inquiring into how they are handling remote work, sharing something personal about your home work environment,” Mr Laufer said.
“Five minutes out of your day can significantly improve productivity and morale.”
Number two is taking regular breaks.
“Whether this means setting a time in your diary everyday to get some fresh air, taking a walking meeting, scheduling lunch, or getting up to stretch your legs every 30 minutes, it is crucial for your mental health and efficiency to take regular breaks,” he said.
Third is differentiating your home life from you work life.
“As our two worlds mesh into one, it becomes increasingly difficult to shut the laptop and switch off when the end of your day hits,” Mr Laufer said.
“I like to turn my notifications off and leave my laptop in a different room to ensure I gain time to myself and to also focus on my family.”
Also, maintain your online networking
“While social distancing remains necessary, networking online is crucial to connecting with your network and maintaining your professional profile,” he said.
“It’s as easy as liking relevant content or sharing content that means something to you.”
You could do a course on working remotely, which now comprise 20 per cent of LinkedIn Learning’s most popular offerings.
“We saw a spike of over 10,000 per cent between February and March of people learning about remote working,” Mr Laufer said.
“Likewise, Australia has seen remote job applications increase by 4.26-fold as Australians seek to work from home during the pandemic.”
Check the Australian Taxation Office website for the multitude of deductions you can claim such as utilities bills, noting you can only claim for the business part of the expense. If your home is your primary place of business, you can even claim occupancy expenses such as rent or mortgage interest and insurance, but get expert advice to ensure you’re claiming the right amount.
Contact your insurance company to see if you can lower your home and car premiums. Being at home most of the time, your risk profile for theft or other calamities is much lower.
And turn your car engine over once in a while. You may not realise it hasn’t happened all week!