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How Our ShieldGeo Remote Workers Set Up Their Home Offices

Whether you’ve just moved into a new space or revamping an old one, setting up an office at home can often be a daunting process, especially if you’ll largely be working from home.

Rooms are often small, could be shared with spare beds or storage and investing in products can feel overwhelming in a saturated market.

If you’re an employee working from home your employer should set you up with specific items or a budget for purchasing them, but you may not know what suits you until you begin working.

To help with decision making, we’ve made a list of some of ShieldGeo’s home office set ups with links to where you can purchase the items for yourself.

ShieldGeo offers a considerable budget for each office item with recommendations to help make choosing less painful. It’s extremely important to us that our employees have a safe, comfortable and functional work space conducive to our employee’s individual lifestyle and work needs.

It’s important to note that setting up a home office isn’t just about choosing the best items. OHS standards must be met for remote workers working from home and this should be guided by your employer. We cover this in another article – Keeping Your Remote Worker Happy — A Guide For Employers. However, as a general overview, home offices must be set up safely with an even floor that is clear of tripping hazards and potential fire risks like cords close to heat sources. There must be fire extinguishers, fire alarms and first aid kits available and care should be made to ensure electrical safety by not overloading sockets. Importantly, lighting and temperature should be monitored to ensure they can be controlled for adequate working conditions.

Asia Hundley, Account Manager, Spain

Laptop | Chair | Mouse | Laptop stand | Charging lamp | Keyboard | Mousepad

For Asia’s first few months with Shield, while Madrid was still experiencing the Summer heat, she worked in her downstairs living room.

“I can’t be upstairs because my apartment’s really hot,” she says.

“Then I realised I wanted to move into my own space because it was difficult for me to separate and turn off my ‘work mind’ at the end of the day.”

Asia found having your home office in a totally separate room can help enforce breaks and an end time for your workday.

“I have to literally go downstairs to go into the kitchen, so it forces me to separate my working time and my relaxing time,” Asia says.

It’s also vital for Asia’s productivity and personal wellbeing to have a neat and tidy space.

“I went back and forth rearranging everything on my desk, and I also clean it very often because I feel like order is very important to my productivity,” she says.

“I like having everything in order.”

In terms of buying pieces for her office, ergonomics played a big role.

“Last year I was having a lot of issues with my neck and my back,” she says.

“So, it was really important for me to have an ergonomic chair that was comfortable that wasn’t going to make my problems worse.”

Bree Caggiati (Me!), Journalist, Australia

Headphones | Mouse | Keyboard | Stand

Before taking on my role with ShieldGeo, I was already working from home. This meant I had a desk set up that I was happy with and used my setup allowance to update some of my tech. I ended up going over budget with a few items and made up the balance myself.

I bought a MacBook Air, wireless Apple keyboard and mouse as well as a laptop stand and Bose noise cancelling headphones.

I’m someone who moves around a fair bit when I work. Every week I’ll spend some time at a local café and have regular days at a coworking space. Everything I bought had this lifestyle in mind. All my items can easily fit inside a backpack or tote bag which makes my changing environment easy and the soundproof headphones are somewhat necessary for my time in a noisy coworking space.

When considering where to set up my workspace at home, one of the most important things for me was the environment. The second bedroom in my apartment was already set up as an office, but I found it too dark, especially in the afternoons. I feel a lot better in the living room space and see that affects my productivity too. Due to my mobile nature, I prioritised this light in the living space over setting up a closed off office space for myself. Lighting in all rooms will be something I seriously consider in my next home so I won’t have to choose between the two. As my current work area is in a shared space, I also like how small all my items are which means they can be stored neatly without too much distraction during my relaxation time.

Eliza Rose, Accountant, Philippines

Chair | Laptop | Headphones | Keyboard + Mouse

When Eliz started working with Shield, she had already been working from home in her previous role. However, she hadn’t had an opportunity to set up a workspace and was working from her dining room table.

“I reorganised our house … [so that] my workspace now is in our bedroom,” she says.

“What was important was the segregation of the space.”

Eliz has a young child who is in the house as she works, looked after by a nanny.

“For those of us who have children it’s important that you can have a closed door so you can concentrate,” she says.

Eliz also considered the air conditioning in her bedroom when choosing the space as the weather in the Philippines, where she lives, is hot and humid. 

In terms of choosing specific items, Eliz spent most of her time choosing her desk and chair.

“Before purchasing, I set them up in the store and sat on the chair and did a feel test,” she says.

“I got a really good table, there are a lot of cheaper tables [out there], but mine is tempered glass and its really wide [which I love].”

Aside from ensuring your space is appropriately set up for your comfort and concentrations, Eliz encourages investing in tech, so you don’t have to keep replacing items.

“When I have the headset that comes with [a] phone I just ruin them easily,” she says.

“I really like the headset I got – it’s a good brand [and] the material is [sturdy]. It’s not like the phone one where if you bend it the wiring inside breaks.”

Jake Sedlacek, Project Analyst, USA

Wireless Keyboard and mouse combo | Laptop Stand |Chair | Charging Desk lamp | Monitor

Jake spent a lot of time making sure he was making the best purchases possible for his office.

“I hadn’t worked remotely before, so I wanted to make sure I was getting stuff to set me up with a real home office as opposed to a random desk,” Jake says of the setup.

“I love comparison shopping,” he admits and says the online forums, articles and even Pinterest were a big help.

For Jake, purchasing a second monitor was a game changer in creating a space conducive to productive work.

“It’s so easy not to realise how big of a thing that is until you don’t have it,” he says. “If you’re just on a laptop all day and you’re actually doing real work it’s hard to do it with such a little screen.”

Jake also agrees with Eliz on spending time picking the right chair and desk.

“When you think about it – it’s where you’re going to sit for half the day 5 days a week,” he says.

“It really does impact how hard you can work, how well you can work if you’re not comfortable.”

Jake’s desk is set up in the living room because of the light and space available. He likes where it is but does admit it can make switching off tricky.

“Even where you place your office is a huge part of the design, which is something I never considered until I started working [from home],” he says.

“If you have it in a room that you’re going to be all the time it makes it easy when you walk past to go, ‘ok I’m just going to check this one thing,’ and it adds on a whole hour to your day.”

In addition to spending a lot of time deciding on the practical items of his office, Jake also put in effort in styling his space.

“Honestly, for me at least, it makes work more enjoyable,” he says.

“It makes it your office as opposed to just an office.”

Katrina Philbin, Account Manager, UK

Katrina already had a fully equipped home office when she came on board with Shield.

“At the moment, I actually use the computer desk that also houses our home computer,” she says.

She did, however, buy herself a new laptop which she connects to a monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse to make it more work friendly.

“I couldn’t work without them,” she says. “It makes life so much easier.”

While this shared set up is adequate for the moment, it has shown Katrina what she would like in the future.

“Comfort is going to be very important so the chair and layout of the desk will be high on the list of priorities,” she says.

She’s also keen to have her own space where “everything will be matching.”

Katrina deems the comfort and aesthetics of a space essential to the success of a home office.

“Remember it’s your work area, it has to work for you and no-one else, if you want pink flowers, or dancing toys on your desk, you have them!”

After all, as she says, “You’re [sitting] there around 8 hours a day you may as well like it.”

– Bree Caggiati

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