Work from home setup guide

Working from home became a reality for many of us in 2020. And what some thought would be a temporary arrangement entered our lives for good.

But having the proper setup can make your working from home experience more productive, and help you achieve a better work-life balance.

Essential equipment and tools for a comfortable work-from-home environment

Ergonomic office chair and desk

You might feel tempted to work from your couch, but it may not be a good idea.

A great office chair and desk can potentially reduce the risk of back, neck and shoulder pain. Sitting in a comfortable, supportive chair can also help reduce fatigue and increase productivity.

Quality webcams, headsets and mouse

If video calls are now a regular part of your day, a high-quality webcam and headset can be a great addition to your setup. A clear picture and sound can help you:

  • present yourself professionally
  • keep meetings running smoothly, and
  • make your message crystal clear.

Noise-cancelling headphones can be an excellent investment. They can help keep you more focused by cutting the background noise and minimising distractions.

A mouse could be a good idea if you work from a laptop. It can make navigating your computer more accessible, and help you perform tasks quicker. You can choose a wireless mouse for less clutter and more freedom of movement.

Essential office supplies and stationery

When working from home, there are some essential office supplies and stationery items that you may need to work efficiently.


Whether you use yours or the company’s, a reliable computer is critical for any work-from-home setup.

Ensure it has the necessary hardware, such as a:

  • keyboard
  • data storage, and
  • sound and graphic cards.

Also check that it has the software you need for work. For example:

  • web browsers
  • image editors, and
  • office suites.

Internet connection

A reliable, high-speed internet connection is crucial for accessing work-related materials, attending virtual meetings, and communicating with colleagues and clients.

Standing desk

Sitting and standing for long periods can cause issues. One possible solution is a standing desk, which allows you to alternate between the two throughout the day.

Printer and scanner

You may need to print and scan documents as part of your job. So, having a scanner and printer at home can be handy – so an all-in-one laser printer is a great acquisition. This allows you to print, copy and scan in one device.

A laser printer can be a more expensive investment at first, but it can save you money in the long run – a laser toner usually lasts longer than an ink cartridge.


Essential items to help you take notes, make to-do lists and organise your work can include:

  • pens and pencils
  • sticky notes
  • notepad or notebook
  • paper clips, and
  • stapler. 

Create a productive home office space

Maximise space and light

Good lighting is essential for your eyesight, and can help you create a refreshing and vibrant home office space. Consider how much natural light you'll receive in your workplace, then plan according to different times of the day.

Maximising what you have can go a long way for those with limited office space. Think about the following:

  • Declutter your room to make space for a desk.
  • Use shelves and bookcases to store items vertically to save space.
  • Invest in space-saving equipment – such as a laptop instead of desktop, an all-in-one printer and flat-screen monitor that can be mounted on the wall.

Create a room with a nice vibe

Your home office, your rules. Take advantage of working from home and give your workspace your identity.

  • Style up a few items that inspire you, from photos to quotes.
  • Add a touch of greenery by adding indoor plants to your office.
  • Make room for a notice board or sticky notes with your ideas or appointments.
  • Install warm fluorescent light bulbs. They can help keep your eyes from straining too much while making your inner body clock more comfortable.

Reduce distractions and improve focus

Working from home can have many distractions, so keeping your desk free of additional ones can be a good start.

  • If possible, don’t set your desk facing the television or noisy areas of your home.
  • Keep only the essentials on your desk.
  • Avoid scrolling through social media on your phone. If you don't need your mobile for calls, keep it away from your desk.
  • Set time to check emails and phone messages throughout the day.
  • If you can't avoid the noise, noise-cancelling headphones can be helpful.

Best practices for maintaining a good work-life balance

Separate work and personal space

Even if you set up your office in your lounge room, try to dedicate a space in your home exclusively for work.

If you can, steer clear of setting up your workstation in your bedroom. If you use your bedroom as your office, you may associate your bedroom with a workplace that requires you to stay awake – which can be bad for your sleep hygiene.

But if your bedroom is the only room available for an office, don’t work in bed. The more time you spend in bed awake, the harder it can be for your brain to switch off at night.

Establish a routine and schedule

Working from the comfort of your home can offer more flexibility. But it's essential to try to keep a work routine going.

  • Determine work hours and try to stick to those hours as closely as possible.
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day, including lunch breaks and short breaks to move around.
  • Regularly review and adjust your routine. Consider what works well and what doesn’t and make changes if necessary.
  • Unplug at the end of the day. Once your workday is over, disconnect from work-related tasks and devices. This helps you mentally transition from work to personal time.

Set boundaries with family and friends

This can help you focus on your work and be more productive.

Constant interruptions can lead to distractions and decrease your productivity – which might impact the quality of your work.

  • Communicate your work schedule. Let your family and friends know your work schedule and when you’re available to socialise.
  • Set expectations and make it clear to your family that you expect them to respect your work time. For example, only allow calls during work hours if it's urgent.
  • Set physical boundaries. If you have a dedicated office space, close the door while working.
  • Consider alternative arrangements. If you can, hire a babysitter or dog walker to take care of your children or pets during working hours.

Protecting data and devices with strong passwords

Cybersecurity and data safety in remote working

Strong passwords

Use strong passwords for all your accounts and avoid using the same password across multiple accounts. Using a password manager – like Keychain for Apple products or Chrome Password Manager – can help you keep track of your passwords and store them securely.

Two-factor authentication

Consider using two-factor authentication on your accounts. This provides an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a second method of authentication, such as a code sent to your phone or email.


Be cautious with emails. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), two-thirds of Australians over 15 years old were exposed to scams in 2021-222.

When you receive emails, always check the sender, and don't click on links and attachments in emails. If your company has an IT security department, notify them of any suspicious message.

Avoid public wi-fi networks

Ensure you use a secure wi-fi network when working remotely. For example, avoid using free wi-fi from public networks, such as airports and libraries. They can be unsecured and may allow hackers to access your data.

When working from public places, use your mobile as a hotspot instead – and protect the connection with a strong password.

Back up important files regularly

Regular backups provide a way to recover data quickly and easily. But before you start backing up, check with your employer the procedures and standards available according to the company’s data security protocol.

If running your own business, external hard drives can be a simple way to back up your data. You can manually import files or use backup software to automate the process.

Cloud storage services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, might be a convenient way to back up your data.

Keep software and security programs up to date

This is essential because it:

  • can help protect computers and data from security threats
  • improves performance, and
  • ensures compliance with organisational requirements.

Check for updates regularly and install them promptly to stay protected against the latest security threats. The same goes for your phone. 

Ensure your home office is covered

With GIO Contents Insurance — either by itself or combined with Home Insurance — home office equipment will be covered if stolen or damaged in an insured event. Claim limits apply.

Explore Home Insurance 

Read more:

1 Sleep Foundation | Better Sleep for a Better You

2 13.2 million Australians exposed to scams | Australian Bureau of Statistics (

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available.

This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.