How to Work from Home Comfortably and Safely
Optimize Your Work from Home Space
Roughly 40 percent of Americans work from home full time. I’m currently one of them. Perhaps you’re one of them too.
Not long after starting, I noticed there were many factors that affected the work-from-home space that wasn’t immediately obvious, like the quality of indoor air, privacy during conference calls, or even home security. It’s about more than just standing desks and comfy office chairs. Keep reading to discover how to work from home effectively, comfortably, and safely in ways you may not have thought of before.
Keeping the Right Temperature
If you work from home in a basement or home addition, you’re probably familiar with what I like to call “Icy Finger Syndrome,” especially during the cold months. Your hands get so cold and damp that it can become hard to concentrate.
When you’re in the office, these poorly heated rooms don’t get used much, but now that you’re spending one-third of your day in one, it’s time to get more effective heat.
One option is a wall furnace, which is a wall-mounted heating unit that doesn’t require any ductwork. You can also consider floor-mounted room heaters, some of which have a neat fireplace look. Either option provides excellent heat for one room without you having to mess with the central heating system.
What if you work from home with a spouse whose temperature preferences are completely opposite of yours? You might feel hot all year long, but they’re always cold. The best solution for keeping everyone comfortable is a ductless mini split system.
Mini splits can heat and cool spaces independently, although they all usually connect to one condenser outside. You can set the individual fan in your home office to one temperature, while your spouse bakes in their self-created sauna down the hall.
Staying Healthy at Home
With more Americans working from home and many children doing e-learning, the house is more crowded than ever during the day. This increases the amount of dust, germs, and other biological pollutants that are released into the air and could lower your indoor air quality.
Improving indoor air quality is linked to improved productivity on the job. In one study by Harvard Review, participants who worked in a building with improved ventilation and cleaner air had better decision-making performance and higher cognitive function.
You should start by checking and changing the air filter in your furnace regularly. If you already do this, you may have to increase the frequency of change-outs due to all the extra time sitting at home.
Beyond that, there are several options for purifying the air in your home, from air cleaners to HEPA filters. One increasingly popular solution is ultraviolet (UV) light technology, which can be installed in your HVAC system or plugged into the wall to help eliminate bacteria and viruses.
Spending more time at home means you’ll also quickly become aware of humidity issues. During the winter, running the heat all day will almost certainly dry your home out. That’s where a humidifier can be a gamechanger. The opposite is true during the summer when it’s wet and sticky. In that case, a dehumidifier will remove the excess moisture.
Finally, it’s important to make sure you have working carbon monoxide and smoke alarms that will alert you and your family to any danger while you are busy working from home. Having the right work-from-home gear to keep you safe should be a priority.
Work from a “Smart” Home
Now that you’re spending your entire day at home, it’s the best time to justify investing in smart home devices. Choose a smart home hub like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and start connecting smart gadgets to make your work from home space comfortable and safe. It also adds the convenience of controlling various aspects of your home from the room in which you’re working, which can improve your productivity.
Start with a smart thermostat like ecobee or Nest. Both are designed to learn and adapt to your temperature preferences, as well as integrate with your smart home hub. ecobee even comes with a built-in Alexa, so you can give your thermostat song requests to help offset the stress of work.
Smart tech can also keep you secure while working from home. Security cameras and electronic door locks can be monitored from your smart home hub or mobile device to keep the bad guys out. As far as smart locks go, you can even install one on your home office door to keep your curious kids from getting their hands on your company’s quarterly reports!
Once you go smart, you don’t go back. There are smart lamps, fans, sump pumps, you name it. Make your home work for you, while you work from home.
Work from Home Effectively
Hopefully, by reading this article, you’ve discovered some ways you can work from home comfortably and safely. Things you may not have realized before can make a big difference.
Improving the comfort, air quality, safety, and convenience of your work from home space can help you stay motivated and become equally productive, if not more so, than if you were in the office.