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How to Optimise Your Work from Home Setup

Written by: Victoria Strange
Published on: 17 Nov 2020

As legal professionals embrace the prospect of long term remote working, we offer a few tips for ensuring that your remote workspace works for you.

Optimise your work from home setup

Now we’re into Lockdown 2.0, it’s looking increasingly likely that many of us will be working from home until at least Spring 2021. What’s more, 93% of respondents who took part in our recent working from home survey agree that they would like the opportunity to regularly work remotely once office work resumes.

Although working from the sofa or in our bedrooms was great in the beginning, the novelty of this is rapidly wearing off. We’re starting to realise that we need a working set up with more longevity in order to increase productivity, improve comfort and avoid injury when working from home. With remote working becoming the new norm, it’s time to look at how we can improve our home workspace in order to work more effectively from home.

TotallyLegal has come up with 4 tips to help you optimise your home workspace.

  1. Invest in your physical setup
  2. Have a designated workspace
  3. Purchase a webcam
  4. Upgrade your WiFi

Invest in your physical setup

Curling up on the sofa or sitting on a kitchen chair all day can not only become uncomfortable after a while but can be detrimental to your health and productivity. Plus, it can also look less professional when on a video meeting with a client or colleague.

Slouching over your laptop can cause a myriad of issues such as back and neck pain, so the physical set-up of your home office is vital to avoid injuries. Now that working remotely has become more long term than we anticipated, many of us are more open to investing in equipment that will mitigate the above health risks and improve productivity. However, it might be worth checking with your line manager or HR before investing in any of the below recommendations yourself, as many companies supply office equipment for their employees.

The best starting point when considering your home office optimisation is to invest in a desk and office chair. Purchase a desk that meets the recommended work height or has adjustable legs so you can move it up or down according to what is most comfortable for you. Similarly, many kitchen or dining room chairs are not designed for sitting for extended periods of time, so getting yourself a good office chair that helps you avoid hunching over will do wonders for your comfort throughout the day, and more importantly for your posture over a longer period of time.

Despite working from a desk and chair that encourages good posture, many of us are still working from our laptops, meaning we are still having to look down at our screens. Therefore, we also recommend purchasing a monitor. Connecting a monitor to your laptop can help you avoid neck strain as monitors are aligned with your eyeline, encouraging you to look straight ahead rather than down into your screen. If you do not have space for a monitor, then a laptop stand is a good alternative.

Have a designated workspace

Living and working in the same environment can be challenging. Having a separate work area is pivotal to creating boundaries between your professional and home lives, ensuring you’re maintaining a healthy work and life balance. If it’s not possible to have a completely separate work area, then try creating a dedicated work space. Set up your desk in the corner of the room and ensure it’s only used for work purposes during the day. Creating a dedicated area like this will emulate the office style environment most of us have been used to our whole careers. Make sure you put everything away at the end of the day to allow you to relax and unwind at the end of the day. 

Purchase a webcam

Following on from this theme, our next tip is to purchase a webcam in order to create a more realistic interaction during meetings. Purchasing a webcam is such a simple tip but makes a huge impact on the quality of your team meetings or one-to-ones. Since most legal professionals started working from home, the vast majority of meetings have been held via video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Switching your camera on instead of speaking to your computer screen makes conversations feel more realistic as you can address who you're speaking to, maintain eye contact with them and view their expressions. This will also help to maintain relationships with coworkers as it’s a lot easier to chat to people when you can actually see them. In turn, you’ll probably find your meetings to be a lot more productive. 

Upgrade your WIFI

A good WiFi connection is fundamental to working from home effectively. We can all agree that the camera freezing on an unfavourable expression during a video call can be embarrassing and hugely distracting. Equally, getting cut off during calls with clients or colleagues can be time consuming and may even impact the quality and productivity of the meeting. Try moving closer to your WiFi router as this can help speed up your internet connection. However, now remote working is becoming the new norm it may be time to speak to your internet provider about upgrading your WiFi to ensure your video meetings can run smoothly, without interruption. Your employer might be able to help with any costs, so it’s worth having a chat with your boss.