5 Tips For Your Small Business Home Office
Many small business owners will spend between 10 to 14 hours a day sitting at their desk. Working all day in their home office, often all the attention is focused on growing the business, generating new sales, finding new customers, promoting products or services. All of these things are crucially important but it’s all to easy to neglect your own welfare. You must take time and spend money to look after your physical and mental health. Here are 5 tips for your small business home office, in no particular order. These will help you maintain your busy schedule and long hours stuck in your office whilst staying healthy and happy.
Why you should take your Home Office environment serious?
Maybe you previously worked for a large organisation? Maybe you didn’t need to look after your wellbeing so much because someone else was looking out for you. Did you ever get that email from HR, saying they’re coming round to do a “Workstation Assessment”? you probably thought, “I don’t have time for this”, but you went along with it anyway and before you realised, a new keyboard arrived on your desk, or a different chair suddenly appeared. All because your Workstation Assessment uncovered the fact you needed an ergonomic keyboard or lumber adjustment chair which was more suited to prevent that backache you sometimes get or prevent that RSI in your right hand.
Well, now you are your own boss and nobody else is going to look after you or your health. So take some time and consider your office environment, because now, more then ever, you can ill-afford to take time off work for health reasons.
Tip 1 – Spend some money
It seems obvious but spend a bit of money on good quality equipment!
All to often small business owners are trying to save money and minimise what they spend, but the result is they work in a damp basement office with poor ventilation or they are sitting on kitchen chairs for hours on end, or maybe they’re working on that 10 year old laptop with poor screen resolution because ” it still does the job”. Start with a decent quality desk chair which has more levers and buttons then a jumbo Jet to make sure you can get your sitting position just right. Forget popping into a high street store and pick up a nice looking, but utterly inadequate home study chair.
Go to the professionals and let them advise you on what a good quality chair looks like. We bought our chair from https://www.2ndhnd.com/ A great company that offer refurbished office chairs. We did some research and we opted for a Steelcase Lets B Hi-Back Task Chair with New Black Leather for £149. It has all the adjustments I need to sit properly, its comfortable and looks great too.
Tip 2 – Don’t stare at your tiny 13″ laptop screen all day
Lightweight compact laptops are great… for resting on your lap…. whilst working on the train or in a hotel room. They are not designed for staring at for 12 hours a day whilst sitting in your office! that’s why they’re called “Laptops”. But you don’t need to spend a fortune on buying a new Desktop Computer. Just get a good quality additional screen (or even a 3rd screen). Make sure it is as least 24″ with a minimum resolution of 1920×1080. We bought this basic DELL E2416H Screen, for less then £120. Its a few years old now but its clear, sharp image and screen size means I’m never straining to read anything on the display.
You can set up your windows environment so that you can extend your desktop to this second screen (hit Windows+ P on your keyboard). Now you can utilise all the available space for the hundreds of windows you have open at any one time (if you’re anything like me). Just check what connection you have on your laptop to make sure you buy a screen with a compatible connector. (I.e. HDMI, DVI, VGA or DisplayPort) adapters do exist from one type to another but they’re not always that great!
We’re using a laptop stand to bring the laptop up to correct height as well.
Tip 3 – Have some good quality entertainment available.
Newsflash! You are your own boss now! You want to watch a bit of TV whilst you’re doing some light admin work? Maybe you fancy blasting your favourite tune on Radio 1? Nobody is going to stop you. Remember you will probably be in this same position in another 10 hours from now. So if you can’t take a break let the break come to you right at your desk. We bought this Panasonic TX-24J330B HD Ready TV with Freeview HD , Black for £149. Now I’m in my happy place watching the Netherlands work their way to the finals in the Euro 2020/2021 whilst I’m working. Although to be honest I might have to move over to the lounge for the big screen for that.
And when I’m not watching the footy? The screen comes with a HDMI port so I can make great use it for my 3rd screen when I’m doing development work and just need another screen to lay things side by side.
Tip 4 – Posture is Everything!
So a good chair is king but without the ability to set your screens at the correct height your posture is still going to suffer and you run the risk of a trip to the GP to get some medication for that chronic back ache again! We bought these highly versatile HUANUO Dual Monitor Stand for 13 to 27 inch Screens, Gas Spring Monitor Arm for Curved Flat Screens, Monitor Mount Support VESA 75/100 mm for just £41.66.
They come as single or double arms and can work well with different sizes and makes of screens. Our workstation looks cool and with all the screens neatly aligned next to each other despite them being slightly different sizes and they are all at the correct eye level to spare my back and neck. In addition because I’m also utilising the laptop as a screen We’re using a laptop stand to bring the laptop up to correct height as well. Here’s a great example of a stylish but cost effective laptop stand https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07P6X63SD/.
And by the way another important benefit of getting a laptop stand and 2nd screen is so that you can stop using that tiny laptop keyboard and mouse pad and get a proper full size keyboard shaped exactly to your hand positions if you need and as a proper mouse. the choices are endless, just try a few and see which are most comfortable for you. RSI is no joke and once you start having problems they’re not always easy to cure.
We bought these highly versatile HUANUO Dual Monitor Stand for 13 to 27 inch Screens, Gas Spring Monitor Arm for Curved Flat Screens, Monitor Mount Support VESA 75/100 mm for just £41.66.
Tip 5 – Make your life simple
So now you’ve got a few gadgets to make your day more enjoyable and keep you in the tip top shape that you are. There is a few things we added to our home office station to finish it off. We now have multiple screens, radio , TV and a Boom Mic for our virtual conferences I needed a simple method of managing all these audio devices. So we bought this very simple Premium 12 Input 2 Bus Mixer with XENYX Mic Preamps/Compressors/British EQs/24 Bit Multi FX Processor and USB/Audio Interface https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008O51872/ for only £72.50.
Now, if the phone rings and the TV is on or the radio in on, there is no mad rush to grab the mouse and mute my audio or find the remote to turn the TV Off, just a quick slide of the main mix slider and everything goes quiet. If we’re in a Teams meeting with a client we can adjust the sound quality, the microphone levels and even the EQ without ever needing to touch the PC.
I know this is a bit overkill for some people. But the point is this; invest in your Home Office so that your time spent in there, which is extensive, keeps you fit and healthy and is enjoyable and fun. We could go on about all the other gadgets we have brought into our home office. From the books on the desk, which I can pick up and read without ever leaving my desk. Or the foot stool under the desk which helps with my posture again. Or even my special VDU varifocal glasses, (bet you didn’t even know they existed? – But ask your Optician). The list goes just goes on and on.
But Don’t forget…
No matter how nice your Home office is now, its important to make sure you do take time away too. Get some fresh air, go for a walk, have your lunch in the garden. Maybe meet a friend for a coffee. A change of scenery does you a world of good.
If you’ve enjoyed this article “5 tips for your small business home office” then leave us a comment below. If you need any help in finding the right equipment for you then just drop us an email at [email protected] Our helpful sales team will be only too pleased to assist you.
Here are 5 tips for your small business home office.
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If you need any help in finding the right equipment for you then just drop us an email at [email protected] Our helpful sales team will be only too pleased to assist you.