A home office can be a great way to focus on work, manage a difficult schedule, put some extra hours into a project, or even start your own business.
As working remotely from the office and freelancing grow more common, people’s need for an effective and fully equipped home office grows more common. If you’re ready for a home office, spend some time setting up shop before you go to work.
A little bit of planning can go a long way when it comes to increasing your efficiency and creating the best office space for your productive activities. Here are six useful tips.
1. Choose a private spot and redefine it
Pick the spot where you’re going to set up your desk, chair, and computer. Seems like an obvious first step, right? But the more thought you put into your location, the better it will be.
One of the most challenging aspects of working in a home office is finding a way to separate your work life from your personal life. So you need to find a spot that is sufficiently out of the way to enable you to turn it mentally into “the office.”
When you enter this area, you need to be ready to work and leave key parts of your personal life behind. The kitchen or the living room are examples of horrible choices. A loft, den, or unused corner or the laundry room are more suitable options … as long as you have enough space to work with.
2. Use your extra space
One of the great things about a home office is the extra space you are likely to have compared to working at a company space. Use this area to your advantage and choose features that will make your work easier, not harder.
For example, seriously consider buying a larger monitor or using multiple computer screens. For most office jobs, this can be a huge timesaver; if you are using your old laptop in a home office, there’s a good chance you’re not being as productive as you could be.
Another and less expensive investment is a set of new shelves or cabinets that you can use for extra, much-needed storage.
3. Create a flexible, open-desk plan
Since you no longer have to work in a cubicle, do your best to make your home office feel different from one. Avoid built-up desks; choose open-desk models for a greater sense of freedom. Open-desk furniture also tends to be less expensive and easier to move around.
Create an airy, flexible setup that lets you reach for all the tools you need in a moment, but also encourages creativity and movement.
4. Upgrade your home security
Now that you are storing sensitive and expensive work information or devices in your house, it’s time to make sure your home security is up to the challenge. Upgrade your home security to prevent theft and remember to practice home safety by locking exterior doors and activating alarms.
Don’t forget about computer security and data backups to protect information from the perils of working on the Internet.
5. Pay attention to your posture
Posture is essential for any desk-based job. A home office may give you the opportunity to experiment with alternatives such as a standing desk.
If you feel less inventive than that, at least put some time into selecting a chair that’s both comfortable and ergonomically healthy. Avoid the temptation to recruit a dining-room or fold-up chair; buy a real office chair for your real office.
6. Aim for natural lighting
Lighting is tricky, but you often have a lot more control over it at home than at a company office. Try to position your desk near a window to take advantage of natural light whenever possible.
Use lighting options that mimic natural light with soothing, muted colors; and add a lamp when some extra brightness is desired.