If you have been given the opportunity to work from home on a part-time or full-time basis, you may look forward to the chance to save time and money by eliminating your regular commute. You may also be looking forward to having a more manageable work-life balance through the increased flexibility of working out of your house. However, if you want to be as efficient and productive as possible while working from home, you need to have a dedicated work space that is designed specifically for your work activities. These tips will help you to create a professional environment in a specific area of your home.
1. Determine Your Primary Office Needs
There are some typical office needs that most people will have, such as a desk with a computer and a printer. Depending on your specific work activities, you may need a larger desk, a secondary work table, a file cabinet, a dedicated landline and many other features or amenities. In some cases, clients may need to meet with you in your home office, so you may need to have a few sitting chairs or professional décor.
2. Choose Your Space Wisely
The right space for your successful home office will vary based on your work activities and your home environment. If you plan to meet clients, it may be better to have a home office in the front of the home so that your clients do not need to trek back and forth across your entire home or even upstairs. Otherwise, it may be better to set up a private area of the home that is removed from the hustle and bustle in the rest of the home. This is critical if you will be working while a spouse, kids or a roommate are at home. A dedicated room, such as a spare bedroom converted into a home office, may be better than setting up a desk in the corner of your bedroom.
3. Select Furnishings
At its most basic level, your furnishings need to be functional. For example, you need a large enough desk for your needs with ample storage space in the drawers. If space in the home is limited, make use of vertical space with shelves. You also need to find a chair comfortable enough for you to sit in for many long hours each day. The style of the furnishings is less important in most cases. If you will be hosting clients in your home office, the style of the furnishings becomes more critical.
4. Choose Quality Equipment
Many people will initially set up a home office on a tight budget, so you may be inclined to buy the cheapest equipment possible. However, your equipment’s functionality and features can directly affect your productivity. List the equipment that you must have, and detail the features that are essential. For example, you may need a printer or a computer with a specific amount of memory. Shop around to find the right combination of equipment that you can afford on your budget.
5. Focus on Lighting
Lighting in your workspace can affect productivity and mood, but it is easy to overlook its importance when you are setting up a home office. Many home offices use a single overhead light with a moderate wattage, but this is not ideal for most work needs. Ideally, the office space that you select will have plenty of natural light, but you also need to supplement natural light with both direct and indirect light fixtures. Ambient lighting may be ideal when you are working at the computer in the early morning or late evening hours. Task lighting can shed direct light on your desk when you are reviewing files. Accent can be used along with these other types of lighting to brighten the space. When selecting your light fixtures, opt for LED lighting to save money on electricity.
6. Ensure Your Home Office Is Used Professionally
In some homes, the home office is the only place with a dedicated desk, a printer and even a computer. When this is the case, the home office may become a place for kids to do homework, for you to browse social media platforms or even for you to pay bills. Your home office ideally will be dedicated entirely to work activities, and it should be properly organized with this in mind.
7. Create a Schedule
One of the benefits associated with working from home is the flexibility that comes with starting and stopping at your leisure. However, you need to work a minimum number of hours each day to tackle all of your tasks. You may also need to be available at certain hours for clients, co-workers and more. Just as you need to set up a regular start time, you also need to have a quitting time each day. This makes it easier for you to separate work and personal activities.
Many people put little thought into setting up a home office initially, but this can be detrimental to your productivity and professionalism. A successful home office should be just as efficient for you to work in as any other office. By paying attention to these important areas, you can create the ideal space for all of your work activities from day one.
Author Bio: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, Joe enjoys spending time with his family, reading about latest tech gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters