Setting up your workstation at home: a useful checklist

If your job is work-able from home, your employer is likely encouraging it. Scale up social distancing, avoid that long commute, and hunker down in your home for the sake of public health and wellbeing. 

But if you’re new to remote working and don’t have a dedicated study, how do you quickly set up a comfortable and efficient workstation at home that enhances your workflow? This checklist has you covered.

Define your space

First, find a space that is quiet and free from distraction. Great if you can close the door, but an out of the way nook in the corner of a room or wide hallway can work just as well. The dining table is fine if you can clock off before the table is needed for dinner or other activities. 

Work environment

Other things to consider when setting up your space are:

  • Is the lighting adequate? Prevent eye fatigue by ensuring lighting is bright enough to read and work without straining.
  • Do you have access to natural light? Natural light is proven to boost mood and wellbeing. Work by a window if possible, and move outside for short breaks to up your natural light fix.
  • Is the area well ventilated? A stuffy space could leave you feeling drained and headachy, so open a window where you can – even if just a crack – or bring in a fan to circulate the air. 
  • Check your room temperature and aim to keep it at a steady level – 22 degrees Celsius is generally considered the optimum temperature for highest productivity.


You want your desk to have enough surface area to rest your computer, writing tools, phone and enable you to work comfortably on mixed tasks. It should be a comfortable height, with clear legroom below. Ideally, you’ll have an ergonomic chair and be able to comfortably sit close to the desk with your feet resting flat on the floor. 

Check with your manager with regards to relevant work-from-home health and safety guidelines.

Office equipment and tech

Take some time before you start to Identify what you need to work efficiently. You may need:

  • A desktop computer, laptop, monitor, keyboard, docking station, mouse, hard drive,  USB and headphones.
  • Your mobile phone and/or landline.
  • A powerpoint within easy reach, cables, chargers and extension leads.
  • An uninterrupted internet connection.
  • Software or apps to help stay connected to your team and access your work? Ensure you have set these up correctly and have login details to hand. Apps like 1Password can help you manage your passwords and sensitive information. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re “removing trial limits to help businesses work securely from home”.
  • A printer and paper. Consider going paperless to eliminate the need for these additional items and keep clutter to a minimum.
  • A timer or way of keeping time so that you stay to task.
  • Stationery items and supplies such as pens, highlighters, a notepad, diary and calculator.

Storage and personal items

Keep your space clutter free with a few simple storage solutions, such as:

  • Clear a handy drawer or cabinet shelf for items you’re not using immediately but need close to hand.
  • Folders, files and a document tray will keep papers and reference material organised.
  • A board and pins or Blu Tack could be a useful way to lift reference material off the desk surface.
  • A rubbish bin within arm’s reach means you can remove waste from your space immediately.

Keep additional desk items to a minimum, though you may need:

  • Essential personal items such as reading glasses or a magnifier.
  • Preferred personal items to boost your productivity or enhance your work-from-home experience such as a radio or speaker.
  • A water bottle to ensure you stay hydrated and consume your two litres a day.
  • Plants can remove toxins in the air and increase humidity so you aren’t left with itchy eyes and a dry throat. Move a potted plant to your desk and maintain a connection with nature.
  • Burning a candle or essential oils will keep the space smelling fresh and help you focus.

Written by the Circle In team.

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