How to set up your home office like a boss
I’ve been a remote worker for over a decade now. Initially, working for myself in my own startups then moving onto working with other super tech teams on other peoples start ups. The nice thing about being a remote worker or at least working in a flexible team is that you get to choose the environment where you do your best work.
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There’s massive benefits to working from home (WFH), but you need to make sure you’re set up properly before you begin. With the lockdown, so many people have moved to WFH arrangements and now that New Zealand is out of lockdown and has moved to level one, some companies have opted to allow,and even encourage their staff to continue some form of remote operation.
It’s a huge win win. I am a firm believer that people don’t do their best work when forced into a synchronistic schedule and that there are many profound efficiency and health benefits of both working from home and adopting a flexible work schedule.
I have my home office set up in a very specific way to allow me to be at my best.
We live in a smallish town down the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand in a renovated villa that is over 100 years old! It’s truly beautiful with high ceilings and ornate features. So, I’ve made the sunniest front room in the house my work sanctuary.
There’s a few things I can’t live without and I wanted to share these with you so you too can set up your home office like a boss.
1. Dry Erase Sheets
Hear me out. Whiteboards are so 1992 right! Wrong! Whiteboards, or their close cousin dry erase sheets are the latest in hip and funky brainstorming and goal setting.
I’ve just ordered a second dry erase board for my office as the one I put up in January is now just not cutting the mustard. I need more space for creating! Arrrghhh… so I’ve ordered a second bigger one.
These things are the bomb. Easy peasy to put up, no nails or hammers required… and I promise you that your home office doesn’t feel like an 1980’s classroom.
And lots of them. I’m a plant hoarder. Plants bring you joy. They are calming and transformative. Some of my plants actually have names…. Ha ha ha .. Juliet (first left) has been with me for a few years now and is a foot long cacti, sadly we had a fatality though, Patrick the succulent died last year due to overwatering I think!
That last one on the far right is a Jade plant, or money tree grown from a cutting my friend gave to me. I like to think it’s a good luck plant 💚
Martha, in the middle outgrew her terrarium so she’s been re-potted.
Plants give you routine. They allow you to stop. Pay attention. Get into flow. And they allow you to tend to something that is not yourself or your worries.
They also look super cool, clean the air and swap your CO2 for O2 in the air. Niceeeee.
I aim for white or black pots and succulents. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and a minimalist and the white and black makes it simple for me to pick new pots or display collections.
Succulents are easy peasy care and don’t need a huge amount of water or tricky care techniques. You can often grab succulents for cheap as chips from your local fresh food market on the weekends.
You can also propagate (is that the right word?) your own wee creatures out of cuttings and “knobs” that come off your other plants. I’m no expert here… so Google this one! But I have done this with string of pearls and cacti before successfully.
3. A kick ass lady boss white trestle table
I have a LONG ass trestle table that has a white board that literally sits a top of two trestle legs. Its kick ass. Its huge. Reminds me of my days as a clothing designer, where you needed lots of room for cutting and planning.
It’s white… of course … duh… and fits perfectly into my bay window space.
I’ve also got a really good ergonomic chair that keeps my back healthy and a foot stool so my little legs don’t dangle and create pressure where there shouldn’t be pressure. You can also get a solid plastic mat for under your chair so it doesnt wreck your carpet…. These can be pricey but worth it if you spend a lot of time in your chair!
I got mine from a New Zealand online store. But I believe it’s an Ikea one so you can probably find one there.
4. Google Wifi System
Our house is pretty big and we used to have ethernet cables dragging around the house to ensure good connections when on calls or gaming… but we switched to the Google Wifi System and have 3 units spread around the house, one in my office, so we get a great signal.
New Zealand gets pretty good interet, but this has proven to be invaluable and my calls now don’t drop out, especially with our brick walls! The devices are small and … white! Yes! Win win win.
5. Candles and Palo Santo
Hmm… now this one will sound a bit woo woo for you I’m sure! But … let me tell you this… having a couple of beautiful candles and some palo santo handy can be a super simple way to change your mood and reset your brain.
I like to burn Palo Santo to cleanse the energy in the house – including the teenagers rooms on occasion. Ha ha ha ….. they tolerate me… and call me a nerd… but I’m sure they secretly love it!! ….
Palo Santo literally means “sacred wood”in Spanish…. It has a beautifully scented oil (or maybe resin?) and helps alleviate anxiety and stress. It comes in sticks – looks a bit like kindling to start your fire with… you light and burn it as you would an incense stick…. moving it into corners of your room… it’s truly a beautiful and calming thing.
Optional extras that I highly recommend:
- 1x decent sized monitor
- Plenty of dongles to connect your devices to various gadgets (esp if you’re on Mac)
- 1x small, white fluffy dog (of course! My WFH bestie)
- 1x cup of chamomile tea in a beautiful cup (you’ve got to create beautiful routines for yourself)
- 3 teen children (helps to keep you grounded and forever connected to reality!)
Working from home is the way of the future. We can’t keep circling burnout with our current office and transit habits. But it’s important to get yourself set up right from the start.