Working from home has its advantages, but if you don’t have a good office space, it can be very challenging. If you are thinking about putting your skills to work from home, there are several things to consider first, starting with your potential home office. From web and graphic designers, the following tips will help you create an office that is conducive to work.
Choose the Best Space
When deciding where your office should go, consider the size of the space in relation to what equipment you will need, as well as lighting and proximity to the hub of your home. For example, if you spend a lot of time talking on the phone, it wouldn’t be a good idea to put your office next to your children’s bedroom.
If it is impossible to get away from the noise in your home, consider investing in some soundproofing or good pair of headphones to isolate you from the inevitable intrusions. You can find tons of ideas to soundproof your office room at Soundproofing Tips.
If your home has limited space, you may have to get creative. You could transform a small closet into an office by adding shelves, a desk, and chair. Replace the door with a curtain so that you can fit comfortably, while still being able to close up your office space at the end of the day. Additional options include making the spare corner of a room into your office space or even setting up a space in the garage if it is temperature controlled.
You will want to start with your desk. There are thousands to choose from, so look for one that will be most compatible with the way you work. Just like in a workplace, choose a chair that you can comfortably sit in for hours at a time. Make certain that your feet will be able to firmly rest on the ground or on a stool. Be aware that you may have to spend a little more for a high quality ergonomically designed chair, but it will be well worth the cost.
Determine what other things you will need, such as file cabinets, a printer, fax, phone, etc. You may want to purchase a small table to sit your printer, phone, and other extras on to keep your desk cleared up for work.
Don’t forget to stock up on the little things you will need. After all, you have to supply the office supply closet. This includes pens, staples, paperclips, post-it notes, labels, etc.
Focus on Lighting
Natural light has been shown in innumerable studies to improve your mood and productivity. If at all possible, try to create your office close to a window. Your overhead light should be adequate for earlier or later hours. It is also a good idea to purchase one or two table/ desk lights for additional lighting options.
Get Creative with Storage
If you have room for a file cabinet, then this is always a good option.
If you do not, look up. Hang shelves above your desk and purchase see through bins so you can easily identify what is in them.
You can also use a bookcase or even a child’s library style display shelves. In a worst case scenario, you may need store files, books, etc. in a separate room.
Create a Relaxing Environment
If your work requires a good bit of reading or thinking and you have the room for it, set up a small reading space. Choose a comfy chair, ottoman, table, and lamp. It’s much more comfortable for reading, taking notes, etc. than sitting at your desk chair. If you have young children at home, I have found a good pair of children’s headphones can really help them to relax, and professional headphones for yourself can help to melt away outside noise at times when I need my full focus.
Sometimes a little airflow and white noise can improve your home office environment. A good tower fan with passive noise reduction can keep you cool during the hot and humid months. You don’t need to spend $400 on a Dyson because there are some really good ones to be had for around $100-150.
Set Professional and Personal Life Boundaries
Use a separate phone line for your business, whether that’s an added land line or a cell number. Everyone answers your home phone and your message is likely one that reflects you family life. This can be confusing to potential clients.
It’s also important to set clear cut rules for your home office and explain them to your family. For example, establish home office hours and make sure your children know they are not to interrupt you during this time. Be aware that you have to stick too. When working from home, it is easy to lose track of time and realize that you have worked well past the time you intended to stop. Keep a clock in your home office and when the day is over, close the door or pull the curtain shut.
Working out of a home office can be extremely beneficial. Just be sure that you have a home office that works for you.