Working From Home Isn’t Cheap
I’m sure you’ve seen tens of posts on Twitter and LinkedIn about how much money people are saving by working from home.
They spend less money on gas, less money on transportation, less money on coffee, and less money on everything.
And at first, it appears to be true. Working from home comes with a bunch of perks and saving opportunities.
But here, I’m going to prove to you why working from home isn’t necessarily cheap, and why it shouldn’t be.
The Working from Home Honeymoon
Working from home is a relatively new phenomenon for a lot of workers in the United States. The Covid-19 pandemic forced most offices to close, pushing companies to start operating from home.
If you were used to the regular 9 to 5 job in an office, working from home seems super refreshing.
There’s no need to commute, no need for public transportation, no more overpriced coffee on the road, no more late trains, no more stress about getting to the office on time.
If you work from home, you can technically wake up 3 minutes before your workday.
You may not even have to leave bed to go to work.
For a lot of people, this is a dream come true. And it also seems like a lot of savings at first. Between the cost of gas, car maintenance, transportation, being stuck in traffic, and stopping for an expensive coffee cup.
And it is true. You start saving a lot of money when you start working from home. But these savings are only temporary.
Designing the Right Work from Home Office
Working from the comfort of your bed, or on your kitchen counter seems like a great idea at first.
But after a little while, you will start missing an actual office structure with a furnished and optimized working space.
Your couch may be comfortable. But is it that great if you spend your 8-hour workday on it, then four more extra hours to watch some shows on Netflix?
You’ll soon realize how having a dedicated work from home environment can make working from home a lot more pleasurable and sustainable.
Depending on where you live and in which kind of habitation you occupy, finding a way to create an office space can be tricky.
The ideal scenario would be to have a specific, dedicated room to set up the perfect home office. But for some of you, that might not be an option.
Anyhow, deciding on a spot that you will use only for working is what matters most.
You will have to invest time and money to make sure you design the most comfortable and pleasant working space to be in.
You don’t necessarily have to spend fortunes on your work from home office. But here are a few things that you should never neglect:
- Having a nice office chair
- Having nice lighting
- If possible, having your desk in front of a window
- Having a computer monitor
- Having a mouse and keyboard
About the Office Chair
You will be seated for most of the day, so you might want to pay extra for a nice, comfortable office chair.
Make Sure Your Office is Lit
Lighting makes a big difference in terms of how a place feels. I am using Philips Hue bulbs in my office to change the intensity and the colors of the light the way I want it. But you don’t have to get something this fancy, make sure that your space is decently lit.
Desk Placement Matters
Having your desk in front of a window helps with inspiration and deep work. Being able to look away from the screen, and in the distance helps with getting a restful pause, even if it’s for a few seconds.
If you can’t have a desk in front of a window, try having a TV in the distance, or any other screen that can stream some pretty landscapes or live streams of trains or cars driving. It may seem silly, but I’ve done that for a while, and I can assure you that it helps.
Bigger Screens Mean More Done
Having a computer monitor also helps with getting more stuff done. You may be thinking that your 13-inch MacBook Pro is enough, but trust me, you will get tired of such a small display. Having a bigger monitor helps with more extended workdays.
Don’t assume that a bigger display is solely for people who multitask. I only open one app at the time, but I still take advantage of a 24-inch monitor. The experience is just more peaceful, everything is more clean and organized, and I end up doing more in less time.
Don’t Use a Trackpad or a Butterfly Keyboard
Do yourself a favor, and get yourself a decent keyboard and a good mouse. Your trackpad may be huge and incredibly precise, but you won’t want to use it for 8 hours straight. Same with the keyboard. Yours may be good enough in your opinion, but you may get sick of it sooner than later.
If you have a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard, get yourself an external keyboard. The butterfly keyboards aren’t reliable, and you don’t want to start working on your phone because three of your keys stopped working for no reason.
You Are Now Responsible for your Work Environment
Companies spend lots of money on making sure that their workers benefit from the best working conditions possible.
Between a suitable desk, a decent enough chair, fast internet, coffee, food… It can add up.
These expenses are usually not seen as necessary by workers. Some may complain that their monitor at the office is not sharp enough, or that the keyboard and mouse are quite terrible. But proper equipment costs a lot of money. If you have lots of employees, the total amount can represent tens of thousands of dollars.
Now that many office workers are working from home, most of them tend to work with the setup they currently have. Which, for most of them, is just their laptop.
Here is the thing: you are now responsible for the investment of making sure your working from home experience is comfortable enough. And that costs a lot of money.
The comfort of your office had an invisible cost that you now have to pay. Yet most remote workers choose not to. Designing a sustainable home-office is expensive, and it requires quite some time to set up the perfect environment.
While most people focus on the money they are saving by working from home, they should be investing in their working from home conditions.
Working from home is a new phenomenon, and because we tend to focus more on the immediate benefits, the money saved isn’t reinvested towards a working space.
Making Working From Home Sustainable
If you plan on working from home for a while, and you probably should, you need an office.
Working from your 13-inch laptop from your living room couch isn’t a sustainable solution. Even if you may think that it is enough, it isn’t. It may seem fun right now, but it will be a nightmare in a few months.
Your office doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to be in a separate room. You need to choose a spot and design a home office space. If you want to know how to get started and what kind of approach you should have while designing a working from home space, check out this article.
Most homes are designed for the regular 9 to 5 job. Our living rooms are limited to a couch and a TV. Bedrooms are mostly a bed and a “getting ready” area.
When it comes to working, we delegated that space to an external office. But now that going to the office isn’t an option, you need to integrate this new room in your home.
Even if you might not feel the need for a dedicated work from home space, it will become necessary sooner or later.
One of the best decisions you could take right now to make your working from home experience a lot better would be setting up a home office.
Take the money you saved on transportation, coffee, and eating out, and invest it towards your work from home setup. You’ll thank yourself in the future.
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