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How to Build Your Home Office Oasis
Danielle Cerny /

How to Build Your Home Office Oasis

In the past year, office workers have quickly adapted to working from home by clearing out guest rooms, beefing up Wi-Fi, and scheduling meetings around their child’s nap time. At first your ideal home office may be as simple as a room without your kid’s online learning in the background, but if you really think about making your workspace perfect for productivity, there are clearly other aspects that need to be considered. In my quest to put together my ideal home office, I examined all critical components, from hardworking hardware to a motivating ambiance.

Your Set Up

At the beginning of the pandemic, most of us thought we’d be back in our cubicles by July. Working at the kitchen table or on the couch may have seemed feasible for a few weeks, but we are almost a year in and it looks like many companies will be looking at a hybrid working environment (partial working from home) even when we get back some semblance of normal. In this case, investing in proper work furniture and a dedicated workspace will make the environment more healthy, productive, and secure –it’s time to get serious about your set up.

Your Chair

There’s a reason they dedicated an entire episode of The Office to getting new chairs. The proper chair mimics your chair in the office, in that it allows for proper foot placement and supports your back. Working on a bad chair is like sleeping on a bad mattress – and you probably spend more time on the chair. Many companies are offering discounts on office furniture for the budding home office crowd. Your back will thank you later.

Your Screen

No, your coworker is not using all caps because she knows you’re working on a tiny screen. Unless you lugged your computer tower home, you are most likely using a laptop. Working on a laptop display is fine for the short-term, but when setting up your home office, consider a full-sized quality monitor. You will avoid eye and neck strain by placing the monitor further away and at eye level. You can also work faster by using both your monitor and laptop screen to work on multiple documents at once. Not to mention, the coworkers that you miss will be three times the size!

Your Keyboard and Mouse

Since a laptop keyboard is flat and narrow, using one for a prolonged amount of time can cause stress on wrists, hands and forearms. Also, primarily using your touchpad to move your curser has its limitations, especially if you are working on an intricate document. Many brands like Dynabook offer more efficient wireless keyboard/mouse combos so that you can not only work more comfortably, but you can easily travel from couch to kitchen.

Your Printer

While many offices have gone digital, sometimes it’s just easier to print a document, whether it’s a memo from HR, contract, or to-do list. Compact multifunction printers are ideal for working seamlessly and productively at home. To get the most bang for your buck, make sure the desktop printer of your choosing is not costly to maintain, has duplex printing (save the trees) and perhaps most of all, is easy to use. Because let’s be honest, everyone in your household will be using it.

Your Security

The security of your home network is probably the last thing on your mind as you’re trying to meet deadlines from the bedroom, but it shouldn’t be. Hackers are always looking for the easiest points of entry, and the hottest headlines to imitate. According to a new report from Microsoft, COVID-19-themed cyberattacks spiked to nearly a million a day during the first week of March, and are not expected to rest as long as COVID-19 persists. The scary part: this number is barely a blip in the total volume of threats Microsoft sees in a month.

It is important to take steps to ensure the security of your company’s IT infrastructure. Always use your company’s virtual private network (VPN). VPN encrypts communications, prohibiting interception from unauthorized individuals. You should also use malware detection and anti-spam software to guard against cyberattacks. If you think your company could use a security checkup, the Sharp Managed IT group can give your company a quick assessment to make sure you are as close to Fort Knox as possible.

Finally, keep the Fortnite to the home computer. Even though your company laptop may be the bee’s knees, allowing family members to use your business computer, whether it’s for games or homework, introduces the possibility that malware could compromise it.

Your Team Collaboration

Keeping in touch with coworkers from your home office isn’t as easy as walking up to their desk and asking for those TPS Reports, but the right technology can simulate it. A simple video conferencing system is helpful, but the office experience requires a more holistic communication strategy. A great example of this is Microsoft Teams as well as the GoTo Connect Platform, which allows you to secure tools to call, instant message, schedule a meeting, meet ad-hoc, share files, see schedules and more.

Remember meetings in 2019, when coworkers simply walked into a conference room? For those living the hybrid work style, meetings with coworkers that are both home and down the hall can be cumbersome. The Windows Collaboration Display from Sharp (WCD) has a built-in microphone, 4K camera and IoT sensor hub that works seamlessly with Microsoft 365 tools. You can walk in a conference room, plug in, and those at home can feel like they are in the room with you. Now that’s collaboration.

Your Oasis

The secret to a home office oasis is creating a space that inspires you to get to work instead of back under the covers. An office away from your normal office should include the comfortable amenities that motivate you and keep burnout far away. If you make it your own, you will confidently turn off your computer at the end of the day feeling accomplished. Not every home office oasis is the same. Sharp can help you find the technology, but it’s up to you to find the rest.

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