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Working from Home Tips from HIStalk Readers – Environment

March 12, 2020 News No Comments

Multiple monitors are essential and a quiet secluded space. Natural light is preferred, but supplemental ambient lighting can help. A good chair is helpful.


Lighting: natural light is best but use what you can so as not to diminish what you can see. Music: I find Jazz is best for a rationale rhythm.


Give yourself an office with a window if possible.


Separate desk location is key vs. working from kitchen table with lots of distractions. No music or TV…gotta focus!


Open desk area, lots of natural light.


I work at my kitchen table by a window which offers plenty of natural light. I listen to music when not on calls. I work in a hoodie when not on video sessions with clients.


A separate space dedicated for work. Be it a home office, or a temporary space setup to accommodate. I have found that working from the couch or recliner does not lead to me being as productive than working from a dedicated space.


Separate space, mutable phones if you have dogs or kids, conference calls can be challenging. But everyone usually pretty great about it. I have music streaming kind of low or NPR. something about the low murmur of other voices keeps me focused. Desk location is huge. I personally need to see outside so windows matter to me.


Create your own space in your house or apartment. A good spot is away from the kitchen!


An environment with natural light, perhaps by a window where you can see life outside. Make sure that if you’re taking video calls that you have good front-lighting and there is nothing crazy behind you; some people have desks that are extremely distracting and messy.


Set up an office-like experience. Have a desk and workstation away from traffic. Don’t sit on the couch or have the TV on. Use Webex or other conferencing software for meetings.


Know yourself. I need quiet, so I carve out dedicated space away from foot traffic and distractions. My wife also works from home and is productive with background television and radio.


Somewhere quiet at home. Having a desk at home works best. Avoid couch, kitchen table, etc.


Music is OK for some tasks, discouraged for others. For focused working, music without lyrics is best: Henri Texier is a favourite, also Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal.


I have been working from home almost 100% for seven years now. Best environment for me is at my desk next to a large window. Sunlight lamp on (I live in the PNW). I don’t listen to a lot of music during the work day because I am on the phone a lot. I think a Bluetooth headset / earpiece is essential to being hands-free during those meetings.


For me, I need to be able to shut the door to eliminate distraction. I prefer to face the window so I have natural light and don’t feel so enclosed. Having two large monitors is a must. I love that my desk will convert from sitting to standing (you can get an add-on for your desk for under $200 on Amazon). I can get distracted easily so I do not keep a TV in my office and any music I play is “coffee shop” in nature on a low volume.


I need a space separate from my comfortable / living space – desk, kitchen table, etc., away from distractions and noise.


Desk location that is secluded. No printing unless necessary and a shredder if it is. Widescreen monitor helps with good lighting. Music is always an option. Alexa is my spell checker and office assistant for some things.


Natural light, classic music


We recommend that our employees have a dedicated office space that isn’t in their bedroom and where they can shut the door. A good internet connection is a requirement. We provide a special network device to provide the same level of security we have in our company office. Of course, we’ll flex on all things BUT security to meet special needs related to Coronavirus.


A dedicated space is ideal (if possible). It allows you to separate work from home in a way that helps with the routine. Natural light is really important, supplemented by high-temperature artificial light. Sound is very much a personal thing; sometimes none, sometimes podcasts, sometimes music – depending on the task at hand.


Natural light, instrumental / classical music, home office desk. No coffee shop background noise for me.


Anywhere can work: office, kitchen, coffee shop, co-work space, etc. You have to treat it like the office. Good headphones without anything playing are good at minimizing noises around you so leave them on even if you’re not “listening” to anything.


Plenty of light, facing window, a good chair, and proper ergonomics – a sit/stand desk if you can swing it.


Desk location with structured work hours, to ensure productivity. Of course it goes without saying that you need reliable internet access and appropriate hardware – laptop, phone (I prefer a non-mobile device for best sound quality), sound-controlled room, etc. with meeting- and communication-friendly software (Outlook). “Meeting friendly” convening software is desired, however, I haven’t yet discovered a good program / software, since Skype is not good quality.


A big monitor is cheap and essential. Plug a full-size keyboard into your laptop instead of the built-in version. Elbows at right angles to keep your wrists flat, which isn’t always possible on countertops or other non-desk surfaces. Make “going to work” like commuting, set an alarm, dress, be at your desk. I need a view to the outdoors to prevent cabin fever. Do your most important work first in the day. Stay out of the kitchen except at lunchtime and don’t eat at your desk – take lunch as an actual break.


Designate a room in your home for “work hours” and let any family / roommates know that this room is unavailable during these hours to avoid distraction. When I first worked from home years ago, I found that my significant other at the time expected me to manage household duties concurrent with the workday – this will NOT work, so set expectations early on.


I am fortunate to have a home office with a window and a door. Music is always on in the background, mostly smooth jazz to keep my mood smiling.


You to have a space where you can close the door. It helps keep everything separate. Also make sure situate yourself well for web meetings. A window behind you on a sunny day can make it hard for teammates to see you.


The couch, the dinner table, outside in non-direct sunlight during nice weather.


Set up a dedicated work space. Do what you can to make sure it’s ergonomically correct. You can end up with arm and back pain quickly.


Do not use overhead lighting. I only have a lamp on my desk and use a bulb that is near daylight colored. My desk is in a room that serves only as my office as to keep the stress contained. I have a window, which I highly recommend. I sit with my elbows at 90 degree angles and my forearms are supported by the arms of my chair. I have a docking station for my laptop and have two screens that sit at eye level.


Don’t work in your bedroom unless you must – the bed will be calling your name all day. If your bedroom is the best option, have a desk and make it feel like a work area. Also, plan your meals – prep them ahead if you can as if you were going to the office. You’d be surprised at what chunk of your time it takes to cook in the middle of the day.


Fortress of solitude, currently in the basement. Wired LAN connection. Gig speed internet service. Extra big monitor to extend to. 101 key keyboard a must.


When I am the only one home, I work in our open first floor as I feel I am not hiding in an office. It is nice to see the day. If there are others home with me I hide in my office room.


When I’m doing mind-heavy work, laptop plugged into two external monitors on a dedicated desk in a separate room. Music without lyrics or in another language so I don’t get distracted listening to the words. Lots of light but nothing hitting the screen that could distract me. When I’m doing other work/on meetings – plush rocking chair that has a small desk close by for food and drinks and surrounded by plants/out on the porch if it’s nice enough. The rocking helps me burn energy and stay focused when I’m on one of those meetings that I have to be on but I don’t have to do anything on.


Set a dedicated space that you can walk away from when not working. Natural light is the best and soft local radio station music helps keep you engaged while at home.


Ambient daylight, with my desk near the window. Winter is tough due to the short days and not much sunlight. No music. TV on, muted. Occasionally, talk radio is on as background noise.


I’ve been working from home for 11 years – I’ve set myself up with desk lighting rather than overhead, my stand-up desk faces a large window with a great view. I don’t do well with background music – it distracts me. I do make sure to have soft beds on my couch for my French Bulldogs to stay close! I also have a small mini refrigerator in my office and stock with water, snacks, etc. so I stay upstairs until lunch.


I use a dedicated space with a door that can be closed when I need to focus, lower the impact of noise from other areas of the house, and take a call or participate in a web meeting. A window and natural light can help one feel a little more connected to the world. Access to music can help some focus. Watching what you have in the background is important for web meetings. Using dual monitors is a productivity bonus and having the option for a standing desk is great too. With the standing desk, I prefer to have a padded standing area. Just like at work, focusing on ergonomics helps with productivity and the potential pains of your home work area (e.g., proper chair, chair height, desk / table height, foot rest, monitor height). I have a whiteboard that I can easily show from the webcam on my laptop but before I had that, I’d use the 3M sticky top flip charts (be sure your markers won’t bleed through to write on the wall, or if you’re concerned, use 4-5 layers).


Try to find a quiet, dedicated area, with good connectivity.


Separate work area from other daily activities. Try to make sure there is a caregiver for your children if they are also home – you can’t work and care for kids at same time. Make sure to turn off computer at end of day, otherwise, those “pings” from alerts are too tempting.


Dedicated home office with a good wired (not Bluetooth) headset.


Dedicated office space or kitchen table, with a window and soft music. No TV on.


Dedicated work space – not at kitchen table.


For heads-down work, quiet and secluded is best with no tv / distractions. If you have a desk, use it. If not, do not work somewhere where you commonly relax or recreate, as those habits will be picked up with work. For me, brighter is better, so natural light is always premium wherever I work. Quiet is also premium, so I where noise cancelling headphones a good chunk of my day. They also double as a Bluetooth headset.


Dedicated office – no distractions.


Office with a door. Dual monitors. I use my employer-provided iPhone and my own Apple AirPod Pros (the noise cancellation feature on the Pros is awesome) for all of my work calls. Wireless headset / earbuds are a must.


I’ve worked from home since 2014 and my best advice is to create a dedicated space for working. Ideally an office with a door so you can open it in the morning and close it in the evening, just like going to your workplace. You have to create a clear distinction between work time and personal time, and having a dedicated work space helps by creating a physical barrier.


Set up a dedicated workspace, don’t just move into a living room or kitchen. Make it a formal area in which you ‘work’ — otherwise, you may just end up being perpetually distracted. Also, consider it a commute and take the transition from home to work seriously. Take breaks. Go for a walk (alone, to maintain your distancing), do something else, stand up, the same way you’d do at an office. Fight the urge to carry your office throughout your home. Maintain your hours and normal work environment. Get a good lamp, get a good area to spread out your work. Make sure the angle of your monitor is not going to have a sun glare issue.


Sit somewhere that you can see out a window, ideally with a view where you can see people, cars, etc. going on outside. It’s easy to feel isolated when you don’t physically see any other people.




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