At one point in life, you may need a home office that you can work from when you don’t have to or don’t want to make an appearance in your main work station. If you are a remote worker, you most definitely need a proper work station. If you are doubting if working from home really works then this is the time to change your mentality. What most people don’t realize is that work from home success starts by setting up a dedicated home office. Here are some tips that will help you in creating a great home office;
1. Note down the things you need
The first thing to do when setting up a home office is to plan for the things you need depending on your profession. By things I mean, your tools of work. To be on the safe side, write down all the items that you cannot do without to work efficiently. However, there are must haves irrespective of your occupation. The most basic ones include; a desk and chair, computer, cabinet/shelves and internet. You might also need extra storage space if you deal in equipment or do a lot of manual record keeping e.g. files.
2. Spot and claim a perfect space
This is the most crucial part when creating your home office. It is wise to choose a space that is rarely used to avoid a lot of distraction when working. Choosing a perfect space also depends on your job type. For instance, if you are the kind of person who works from home most of the time or attends to clients, you will have to consider a more spacious or separate room. Your setup should be well organized and as professional as possible to accommodate your clients. Whatever the case, depending on your work, house design and preferences, make sure that the space you choose really works for you.
3. Establish boundaries
You might not have the privilege of having an entire room to yourself to create a home office but that shouldn’t worry you at all. If you decide to pick on a shared space then, you need to establish the boundaries. Set aside a space that anyone is able to distinguish from the rest of the house. I trust that you don’t want to be tempted to attend to issues that are not work related during working hours. Establishing boundaries will also make you feel at ease during zoom or Skype meetings with minimal disruptions.
I highly recommend that you separate business records from your personal records including finances. Also, open a business bank account to be able to differentiate between home and business expenses. It will be of great help to you at tax time as IRS analyzes tax deductions linked to home offices. You should therefore strive to meet the IRS definitions of a home office and evade an audit at all cost.
4. Consider good lighting
Set up your home office in a space that has access to good lighting. The area or room you choose should be well lit with natural light. This is also the perfect time to take advantage of the free vitamin D that comes from the sun for better health. If you will be working from a room without natural light such as the basement or the garage, use a desk lamp. If you don’t have one, consider purchasing one. This is because it gives more direct light to your working surface.
Overhead lighting is also important as the desk lamp might not be sufficient. In this case, install bulb lighting that is neither too bright nor too dim to avoid straining while working especially when reading hard copy documents. Ensure that the room is well it so that you work efficiently.
5. Good air circulation
You need lots of fresh air streaming through your work space to work better. If you can create your home office next to a window, the better for you. Fresh air has a way of making you happier when you breathe in after the release of the ‘happy hormone’. It also rejuvenates your body and gives you a sharper mind to focus even better. If it is not possible to have your home office close to an opening, then you can get a fan to improve air circulation inside the room.
6. A good view
If you ever want to distract your mind while working from home, let it be from a good view. If you live in a storied building, you can have your home office upstairs to enjoy the beautiful views outside. A window downstairs will serve the same purpose. If you don’t have any of these options, a picturesque wall art will do. Locking yourself in between walls and staring at bare walls all day will make you feel bored and result to poor focus. With time, you might lose interest in your home office and even dread to set your foot there.
7. Consider a calm spot
This is one of the greatest factor to consider especially if you are living with your family and have kids around your house most of the time. If you are keen enough, you will be able to spot a space or room that is calmer. The last thing you want to experience is distraction from noise and movement from people around your house. Remember, the goal is to keep the focus and to maximize your productivity when working from home.
8. Access to plugs
It rarely crosses most people’s minds that an outlet is very crucial when it comes to setting up a home office. Consider having at least one outlet where you can plug your devices when you want to charge them. I recommend that you buy an extension with multiple plugs to be able to charge several devices from a central position.
9. Internet source
It is really not possible to work without the internet nowadays regardless of your job type. A strong Wi-Fi signal is therefore key when setting up your home office. Ensure that your router gives the best signal at your working spot. This will definitely improve your work efficiency.
10. Organize office equipment
Don’t stress about getting the best office furniture especially if it’s your first home office setup. Start with a basic desk, chair, a small printer and a cabinet with at least one lockable drawer. You can also have open or floating shelves and a number of storage bins to make the place look organized. Ensure that the height of your desk and chair are comfortable to help you maintain a good posture. The available chair may not be the best but you can use cushions to make it feel more comfortable.
Have a file on top of your desk to avoid cluttering your workstation with piles of paper. A pen holder and a small box is also a great way to remain organized by putting things such as sticky notes and maybe a flash disk.
It might feel a bit outdated hanging a calendar in your home office but it’s worthy to have one. It will serve as a reminder about your schedules every time you walk into your office and track your schedules even better. Also, place a litter bin near your desk to get rid of unwanted clutter in your office.
11. Add some décor
Just because your home office is meant for work only, doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. You have the freedom to personalize it and play around with art and colors. Add life to your office by adding simple decorations such as a beautiful flower vase on top of the cabinet. Nicely placed vases and gem stones on various sections of your open shelves could also bring a whole different vibe to your office. Colors are known to set the mood so choose ones that will get your work engine going.
12. Create an inspiration center
Some days are just bad and on others, you don’t look forward to working. That is why you need an inspiration center with your favorite books and magazines to get your work motor humming. You can have your favorite motivational quotes chart stuck on the wall. This spot is simply meant to fuel you to keep going every time you feel like it’s not worth it. Remember, your eyes should always be on the prize.
13. Work address and contacts
As much as you put effort to organize your physical home office, you also need to have a proper work address and a dedicated work phone number. The impression you create is what will determine if your clients will take your business seriously or not.
Don’t make a mistake of using your personal line as your work line. I recommend that you get a Google number for a start. You can then redirect your work calls to your cell phone and adopt the culture of picking calls only when you can give your full attention. Keep in mind that you might be talking to a potential client on the other end.
Start with a Gmail account before you get a website for your business. You also need to create an email signature with your full address including your; location, work number and links to your social networks and website when it is ready. Don’t forget to have a back-up service for your computer to back up your data.
I know you can’t wait to have your dream home office all set up and working for you exactly the way you wanted. I believe that the tips I have shared with you will help make your dream a reality.
Check out: Fun things to do on your break to kill boredom while working from home. It will help you use your free time better.