8 DIY Home and Tech Tips for New Telecommuters

COVID-19 or coronavirus has caused a shutdown of businesses, school closings, and postponed events. Many businesses that are open are initiating work from policies while small business owners are trying to transition online home businesses. Either way, you’ll need a home office which should be an organized place to get your work done without distractions. However, it is a struggle to make an office space you truly want to enjoy and where you can get work done, so here a few diy home office tips to help you.

Find a Space to work and to Work On

The first of many diy home office tips is to make a home office to work in. You can set up a workspace on just about any surface in any room but that doesn’t mean you should. Find a space in your home where you either set up a table or there is a desk/table or other piece of suitable furniture for you to work on that is fairly isolated from children, family, and pets. If you can’t get a separate room, one fo the best diy home office tips is to try putting up a barrier of some kind to section off your space. It’s pretty simple to make a divider from PVC pipes and curtains. Make sure to have enough outlets, a place to sit, effective lighting, and possibly other supplies depending on your occupation. If you have an extra room, turn into an office, and if you already have an office and desk, then make sure you’re prepared to work.

If you don’t have space on even your dining room table to work, you can make a homemade desk. You can use anything from a cutting board to wooden scraps to make a lap desk. If you want a full desk, you easily make one from any number of things. A slab of wood laid over two filing cabinets or shelves or other similar-sized pieces of furniture. Similarly, if you have sporting equipment, especially surfing, wakeboarding or similar equipment, you can make a desk out of those, either permanently or just a temporary fix.

Once you have a place set up, make sure you have your computer set up similarly. Create a new account to work on and save your work in a separate drive. You’ll also want to take your time making sure you have space and enough outlets for any and all devices you may need while working.

Of course, you want to be able to stay away from distractions. Work in a room with a closing door so you can prevent distractions from pets or children. Not every distraction will be so easy to block. It will require discipline to not surf the internet to spend hours online gaming now that there’s no risk of a supervisor seeing.

Cables, Cables and More Cables

As anyone with experience setting up a computer can tell you, there will be a lot of cables. Luckily there are a lot of different ways to organize your cables depending on how permanent a solution you need and how many cables you have. For starters, you should either hide your powerstrip in a basket attached to the underside of your desk or mount it under your desk or to the wall. After that, you can get a cable station, or make one, to keep all the cables used for charging on your desk in easy reach. If you have a tower computer or another kind fo station setup, you can organize your cables into bundles with twist ties, gear ties, or zip ties. If you want a more permanent solution for your cables, you can put your cables through a hose clip, which is used to secure pipes and hosing in plumbing, and use that to bundle your cables together and secure them along a leg of your desk.

Papers, Please

Filing cabinets are useful but not very attractive but if you have them you can spruce them up with a coat of paint and some contact paper. Here are a few the next diy home office tips to help keep your papers straight. If you don’t have have any filing cabinets, there are tons of solutions for you. You can either but from a plethora of options a paper storage rack or you can make one out of old cereal boxes, hot glue, tape, and wrapping/contact paper.

  1. Prepare the boxes: First, Cut the top tabs of all the boxes you are planning on using. Then, figure out how you want the boxes stacked together. Do you want them all even or bigger box on top or on the bottom? Once you have a pattern you like, more to step 2.
  2. Stick the Boxes Together: Your next step is to glue all the boxes together in the shape you want. You can use any kind of glue but hot glue will probably work best. After they are glued let them dry for 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Decorate: Now you warp your shelves in contact paper or wrapping paper. To keep the edges of the shelves from getting worn out, cover them in duct tape.

You can also use cereal boxes to make organizers for pens, pencils and other supplies, magazine holders, drawer organizers and more.

What Time is it?

Did you know there are no clocks in jail? Usually, the only clocks are in hallways, positioned where they can be seen only by guards or in common areas. This is meant to cause problems with sensing passage of time. And your office could start feeling like a prison cell if you don’t have a way to keep time. Not only will the clock keep you from accidentally working 14 hours a day but it can remind you to take breaks and eat lunch. Short breaks where a person moves around can actually be extremely helpful in refocusing your attention.

Another way to keep time is to have natural lighting available. This may be impossible for some, but one of the best DIY home office tips is to have a window in your office. Not only will it be relaxing and motivating to look outside on a warm spring day but, according to a sciencedaily.com study, the natural can stimulate your cerebral cortex, helping improve performance and alertness as well as counteract sleepiness, and depression. You position your desk near a window or get a natural light lamp if you don’t have windows. It’s okay if there are shrubs or trees in front of the window, so long as you get some light. If your windows are completely blocked but plant life, consider looking into a local tree or shrub trimming service as it’s a difficult thing to do yourself.

Animal House

According to the Washington Post, 68% of United States households have pets. Of those, around 43 million people own cats. Dogs are fairly easy to entertain while you work from home, especially if you have a family or kids to entertain them, and cats can be too. But if you and your pet are all alone, what do you do? Well, dogs are pretty happy to just sleep at your feet or neighboring chair or couch and relax all day. Cats, however, will not do that. Cats, are very curious and often want to be involved in what you’re doing. That’s why you’ll end up with Fluffy trying her hand at typing or checking your paperwork.

There are a lot of diy home office tips for how to keep your curious cat, ferret, hamster, guinea pig or other small, curious animal at bay. One of them to create a DIY tunnel maze that can be be made from a variety of materials. Cardboard is both cheap and easy to work with but will not last a particularly long time but PVC pipes can be used to construct cat towers and ladders, and tunnel mazes for smaller pets. You can also purchase or make wall hangings for your cat to climb on and around as well as hammocks where they can lay, preferably near you without being in the way.

Hot or Cold

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends office environments maintain temperatures between 68 and 76 degrees and humidity settings between 20 and 60 percent. But When you’re working from home, you can set your home office to whatever temperature you want. However, if you set the thermostat and your office is too hot or too cold it can drive down productivity. There are a few diy home office tips to make sure you’re comfortable:

If it’s too cold

  • Make sure no furniture is blocking vents
  • Check your oval duct work for leaks and breaks
  • Clean your vents and ducts
  • Buy a portable heater
  • Check your HVAC system for any issues
  • Check your insulation

If it’s too Hot

  • But a small fan
  • Turn off as many lights as you can
  • If you have a large tower computer, make sure the fans are functing properly
  • Close heating vents
  • Check your air conditioner for errors or breakages
  • Keep doors and windows open

Keep it Personal

One of the most important diy home office tips is to make sure your office is comfortable for you. Don’t just make it a utilitarian boring space, make it your own. Fill your office with the artwork you enjoy, hang up your favorite picture of grandma and your engagement photos, and display things that inspire you. Make sure you have furniture you can relax on, and add touches like comfy pillows and blankets. Keep a selection of your favorite restaurants‘ menus around to order from for lunch once in a while. You can also put up bookshelves to create an office/library. The important thing is to make it your own. You’re going to be utilizing this room as often 8 hrs a day so it should be comfortable for you to spend time in and enjoy.

Go Home

One of the most important parts of working from home is knowing when to stop and relax. When home and work collide you can lose yourself in part of the other, take these diy home office tips to heart. It’s really important that you take the time to relax and leave the office behind. The world is a stressful place right now and it’s important to stay physically healthy and mentally healthy. So take breaks, exercise and get away from your office a few times a day to stretch your legs.

Working from can mean being lazier than ever which can really hurt you in the long run. Exercise can help you stretch and refocus so try to find some way to move your body. It can difficult to adjust to new kinds of workout, so take your time before trying to find a way to get back to it. Gym and pool closings have made it difficult for a lot of fo people to keep up their routines so don’t worry if the only thing you can do is go for a walk or jog.

Whether you’re working for a big business form the comfort of your office/library or a small business owner trying to run your business online from your kitchen table, know that even the best diy home office tips can’t help you find motivation so keep your goals in mind. It will keep you motivated if you know what you’re working for. You can write a goal one sticky note and put it on your monitor or make a poster and hang it on the wall. Whether you are saving up to buy the engagement ring of your partner’s dreams or to get that new car, having something to work for can really help you work better.