Tips to Set Up Your Home Office for Transcription Work (and Beyond)

As a transcriber, your work environment could likely use an optimization or two.

Now that many of us are unexpectedly staying at home due to the coronavirus, you could be facing new challenges. The spouse who used to work at an office could now be beside you all day. At the same time, children might be around all day as schools are temporarily closed in many parts of the world.

Now is a great time to rethink your home office setup in order to remedy the current season’s adjustments.

Why a Good Home Office Setup Matters

An optimal office setup can do wonders for your productivity. This is true for transcription work and far beyond.

You’ll want an enjoyable and comfortable space that allows you to focus and stay uninterrupted.

The show must go on.

While the world is currently facing a pandemic, the bills would keep coming. At the same time, customers still need our talents. Transcription requirements keep flowing.

You’ll want a space that will allow you to stay productive regardless of the season.

Turn your home into a conducive space so you wouldn’t miss your favorite coworking space or similar go-to work area.

With an ideal office setup, you’ll be encouraged to spend more hours in a productive manner.

Prepare to Get Started

Before you jump into getting the tools to set up your home office, you will need to understand these things before getting started. The endeavor of setting up your office can get out of hand if you do not fully understand the key considerations.


Minor tweaks or major overhaul?

Could your space use a revamp? On top of that, how much wiggle room do you have?

Decide on time, budget, and space constraints outright.

Maybe, you have an entire room to reconfigure. Maybe, you have just one desk space to play with. This way, you can calibrate your expectations and perspective.

How about Decor?

This one is completely optional and works in a variety of ways for each individual.

Simple post-its with motivational quotes or plants (succulents!) can help put you in a good mood and boost productivity. Do note that you do not have to buy anything new. Just look around the house, and take whatever you like and place it near your desk or office space.

Home Office Setup or Building Tips

Moving on, this is where the fun begins. It’s time to set up your office!

Find the right location (and time)

This is the most important thing you need to consider. Location is vital in helping you focus since this is the area where you will be working.

We recommend an isolated space where you won’t get distracted. E.g. kids playing nearby or some or someone else watching TV.

Now, we know that space constraints may limit your options. Having said that, you can designate a schedule that will define your “office space”.

For example, you may communicate with housemates that the bedroom is your office from 10 am to 5 pm.


Working in an environment that is filled with unnecessary materials is going to take away points from your productivity. Go and clean up your chosen area first before setting up.


It’s critical to stay as comfortable as you can because transcription requires repetitions.

Certain desks, chairs, and other equipment tout their focus on healthy ergonomics. These tools help you avoid repetitive stress injuries, preventing wrist and back pains.

Consider a Second Monitor

This is one of the more expensive options on the list, but if you can afford it, a second monitor can be one of the biggest productivity boosters. For instance, one monitor can have the Scribie Editor in full screen while the other might be dedicated for research and references.

For a more affordable setup, you can use your laptop in tandem with an existing, older PC that you might already have at home.

Lighting Matters

Good lighting helps your circadian rhythm, the internal clock that defines your sleep/wake cycle. Work with natural and artificial lighting. Natural lighting is all about allowing sunlight to brighten up your workspace.

Artificial lighting (e.g. ceiling lights and lamps) rescues when you’re unable to get sunlight. Maybe, the room lacks access to windows. To add, this helps night owls who tend to be most productive while everyone else is asleep.


No transcriber setup is complete without the necessary tools. Make sure you have these ready before working.

Noise-canceling headphones

One of your most vital tools is your pair of headphones. Get ones that cancel out the noise to block out sounds from within the house or maybe the neighbor’s barking dog to get the best results when transcribing.

A great desk

This shapes your work area, so choose wisely. A good desk with ample amounts of space for your laptop or computer and other equipment will work. Make sure that the height is comfortable considering the chair you’ll pair it with.

Measurements and planning can only do so much. Make sure to try and feel how comfortable it is!

If you worry about sitting down too much, a standing desk is a viable option.

Ergonomic chair

This kind of work requires long hours of sitting down. An ergonomic chair not only provides comfort but helps your body relax better and helps avoid physical problems.

High-speed internet

Don’t forget your internet connection. High-speed internet is invaluable for making sure you have access to all online resources you need, like downloading audio files in a matter of seconds.

You’ll want to revisit your Internet Service Provider options.

Beyond that, check your computer’s local connection. Maybe, you need a better Wi-Fi router. Alternatively, it’s worth exploring a wired ethernet connection if resources permit.

Input Devices: Mouse, Keyboard, and Foot Pedal

It’s worth reiterating that you’ll want a keyboard and mouse that you find comfortable to use. You click and type for hours every day so these devices better be ergonomic.

To add, you might want to explore getting a foot pedal to level up your transcription efficiency. They can be modified to go forward, pause, or rewind the audio you are listening to without having to take your fingers off the keyboard.

Over to You

There’s no denying that work can be more challenging to come by nowadays, due to the current global crisis. If you happen to be a freelancer looking for work and have the relevant skills, a transcription job might just be the right fit for you.

If you are interested and think you have what it takes, we highly encourage you to apply now

If you’re already a member of the Scribie community, we hope that this piece inspired you to enhance your space. Head over to our Slack chat to discuss tips with fellow transcribers.

One Comment

  • Thomas Cosby says:

    Thank Allan, very useful tips. When reading your article, I realized that I was set up my desk in the wrong location. Will move it to the other place that has more light immediately

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