Setting Up Your Work from Home Office

Setting Up Your Work from Home Office

Setting Up Your Work from Home OfficePhoto by Bench Accounting

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Working from home gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule and avoid lengthy commutes into the office each day. To be effective, however, you’ll need to ensure you have a dedicated workspace and the tools you need to carry out your role.

Although working from home can offer freedom and flexibility, you may face challenges you wouldn’t experience in a standard workplace. There may be more distractions when you work from home, for example, and you may miss out on having resources to hand that you previously took for granted.

Fortunately, a well-equipped home office can enable you to overcome these challenges. With the right workspace and equipment, you can thrive in your new role and make working from home enjoyable, effective and rewarding.

To ensure you get the most of out your flexible working environment, take a look at these top tips for setting up your work from home office…

  1. Identify your needs

The first step to creating a productive workspace is to identify exactly what you’re going to need. Most home workers will require a computer, printer and telephone, at the very least. Of course, your business or job role will determine what other equipment is necessary for you to work at home.

If you’re a web designer, for example, you may require more than one computer screen, whereas a furniture maker will need a power drill and circular saw.

When you’re identifying your must-haves, be sure to consider every aspect of your role. If you’re running your own business, for example, you’ll be managing every facet of your business; from accounting and marketing to operations and customer service. By analysing what you’ll be doing on a day to day basis, you can create a comprehensive list of the equipment you’re going to need.

  1. Choose a workspace

Identifying your essential needs should also give you a good idea of the type of environment you need to work in. If you plan to spend a lot of time on the phone or video conferencing, for example, noise reduction is going to be a priority. Alternatively, if you’ll be meeting with clients, you may want to choose somewhere closer to the front of your home or near the entrance.

In an ideal world, you’d have enough space to dedicate a room or two to your new venture. For most people, however, it simply isn’t possible to create an entire office suite at home. If you have a spare room or a downstairs extension, however, it may be able possible to designate this as your home office.

If you share your home with family members or housemates, you may be concerned about the potential for disturbances. There are plenty of cost-effective measures you can take to soundproof specific rooms, so this may be something you want to consider when planning your work from home office.

Alternatively, you may choose to convert a separate space into your working area. A garage can make a fantastic home office because it’s usually more separated from the family home. If the budget allows, you may even want to install a dedicated garden office or cabin. This gives you an easy way to separate your work and family life and will ensure you have the quiet environment you need to be most productive.

  1. Set your budget

Before you start ordering your office furniture and equipment, you’ll need to set a budget. You may have funds with which to start a business, in which case you can allocate some of these to create your new workspace.

However, you don’t need to opt for luxury office equipment or high-end furniture. You’ll find that there is plenty of budget-friendly equipment designed specifically for home offices, which can help you to minimise the cost of your new venture. With a low-cost desk, cheap laptops and innovative storage, you can start working from home without using up a significant amount of your resources. Whether you’re a remote worker or business owner, minimising your costs from the start will help you to maximise your profits in the long-term.

  1. Create office rules

When you work from home, people often assume this means you’re available during standard working hours. If other people will be at home while you’re working, it’s important to agree to some ground rules from the outset. You may want to agree that you’ll be unavailable during set hours, for example, except in the case of emergencies.

However, it isn’t just your family members or housemates you’ll need to make a plan with. When it becomes public knowledge that you’re working from home, you’ll find that extended family and friends will assume you’re on hand to help out. You may get asked to assist with childcare or end up taking in endless parcel deliveries for neighbours, for example.

While it’s perfectly fine to step away from work when an emergency crops up, constant interruptions will affect your workflow and break your concentration. By setting a schedule and enforcing it, you can ensure that you’re able to work from home effectively.

  1. Install good lighting

If possible, choose a workspace which allows a decent amount of light into the room. Formal workplaces are required to have sufficient lighting for good reasons. If the room is poorly lit, you’ll notice an increase in headaches and discomfort. Furthermore, you may find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand.

Similarly, you’ll need to ensure that glare from the sun won’t prevent you from seeing your screens clearly. If your desk is situated close to a window, for example, you may want to install office blinds which will enable you to control the amount of natural light that enters the room.

In addition to this, decorative office lighting can be a great way to brighten up a home office, while still giving you the illumination you need.

  1. Plan your storage

Formal workplaces rarely have enough storage space so finding enough room to store everything at home can be even trickier. Fortunately, the digital era means that more documents are now stored on hard drives and in the cloud than in filing cabinets, so this will reduce the amount of space you need.

However, it’s important to maximise the space available to you and store things as efficiently as possible. Equipment you’re going to use on a daily basis should be stored somewhere that’s easy to access, for example.

When storing documents, hard drives and other work-related equipment, it’s important to think about security too. A fireproof and waterproof safe, filing cabinet or cupboard can give you the space you need to keep things safe, even if the worst should happen.

  1. Choose a comfortable chair

When you’re buying furniture for your home office, it’s worth taking a little bit of extra time over choosing a chair. If you work at a desk, you’re going to spend a significant number of hours at it each day. Using the wrong chair or sitting at the wrong height is one of the most common reasons for back pain, neck aches and headaches. By choosing the right office chair, however, you can minimise the risk of discomfort.

Many home workers prefer to use an ergonomic chair because of the extra support they offer. Alternatively, you may want to enhance your chair with specially designed back support. In addition to this, a footrest can alter the way you sit and help you to maintain good posture throughout the day.

  1. Separate your personal and professional life

When you work from home, it can be difficult to separate your career from your personal life. In the same way that you don’t want well-meaning family and friends to interrupt your working day, it isn’t fair to turn the family home into your corporate headquarters either. Furthermore, it’s important that you’re able to leave work behind when the day is over.

To achieve this, it’s important to separate your personal and professional life as much as possible. While you might receive business-related correspondence at your home address, for example, this should be kept separate from the family mail. In addition, you should be careful to leave work equipment and tools in your dedicated workspace, rather than leaving things in other rooms. This will ensure your work life is kept separate from your family life, even when you’re living and working in the same property.

Creating the ultimate home office

When you work from home, you’ll have complete control over the décor and office furnishings. If you prefer an uncluttered minimalist office, you can opt for neutral colours and bare walls. Alternatively, if you enjoy a more creative feel, you may want to incorporate artwork and bold colours.

With the freedom to choose your own décor and design, you can ensure that your office is built to maximise creativity and success. Providing you have the right environment and equipment; you can look forward to the flexibility and opportunities that come from working at home.

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