If You’ve Always Wanted The Perfect Home Office…Now’s The Time!
Working from home offers many advantages, including the flexibility of setting your schedule, saving time and money by eliminating your daily commute, and even enabling you to start a business with minimal overhead. However, being successful in a home office requires creating an office space that promotes efficiency in a non-traditional work environment. Whether you are self-employed or telecommuting, take time to define a professional working space that separates your work from your personal life.
MrOwl has a How to Work from Home branch with lots of ideas for setting up a home office. Here are 10 great tips for setting up the perfect home office.
1. Invest in an ergonomic chair
Even though sitting doesn’t require as much physical effort as standing, it still puts undue stress on your lower back. Combine the effects of a sedentary lifestyle with sitting all day, and it can lead to various health problems. A well-designed chair will let you sit in a balanced position. Selecting the right chair for your body is an important step in preventing some physical ailments.
2. Get a good desk
Odds are that your desk will be your primary work area. There are a few options for types of desks that you can buy, and it just comes down to your preference or your line of work. As you research desks, the MrOwl Chrome extension is an easy way to save the links of the desks you like and to call out why you liked them for reference later on when you compare them and pick the one that you want to purchase. Remember that you can opt to get an adjustable standing desk if you don’t want to sit all day, or you can get a traditional work desk. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you are at a comfortable height for you.
3. Pick a designated area
You’ll likely spend many hours in your home office, so don’t skimp on space. Also, consider traffic flow and your ability to withstand distractions. Do you work best in the thick of activity, or should your office be tucked away in a quiet space? If clients will be stopping by, a private space with ample seating is a must. Need more space, create a double desk space-based design that gives you more room to move around when projects grow.
4. Use a dedicated phone and phone line
It is very important to have reliable communication while you are conducting business. You may do the bulk of your business through email but having consistent phone service is crucial if you want clients to be able to reach you. This helps you differentiate between personal and business phone calls. Additionally, you can set up a voicemail specifically for your business. That way you can create boundaries between work and home.
5. Buy accessories
A good home office setup requires you to keep your workspace and papers organized.
You will also need somewhere to store your supplies, such as pens, paper, sticky notes, ink, and business cards. If you want something you can maneuver around your office, try a simple storage cart with wheels. And even though we live in a predominantly paperless world, having the option to print at home can be a part of being productive. Try a printer/scanner combo or an all-in-one printer.
Don’t forget about the often-overlooked items. To keep your work safe in case your electricity unexpectedly goes out, having an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) will give you backup power for a limited time. This will give you a chance to save your work and safely shut down your computer. And with any business, there are legal and privacy concerns. To prevent yourself from worrying about the privacy and security of your business, make sure you have a good paper shredder to get rid of confidential materials.
6. Give yourself a view
Position the desk where you can stare at something more interesting than a blank wall when you glance up from the computer. A window’s natural light is ideal, but if you’re in a windowless space, hang a pretty picture above the desk, or position your chair to face the door.
7. Have good lighting
While having natural lighting is best, having enough lighting in your home office setup can be important. Good lighting can help you to see your work and sets the mood and atmosphere of your office. Try placing a few cheap rope LED lights around your workspace. Affix them such that they follow the edges of your desk, bathing it in soft light. Additionally, place a high-quality desk/floor lamp near your workspace. Buy something with a dash of design flair to add some warmth and personality to your space.
8. Get organized
Many home offices aren’t swimming in square footage, so using space efficiently is imperative. Hang floating shelves on the walls to get papers and office equipment off the desk. If you tend to make piles of papers, get a nice basket to tame your mail, and notes. And think about digitally storing and organizing your papers on MrOwl in a branch instead of having piles of paper everywhere to help cut down on the clutter. Think of a branch as a private or public collection that can be organized with subtopics, links, documents, media, and more into a shareable and searchable resource. Making it easier than ever to find what you’re looking for because the search on MrOwl searches not only for the names of the documents but also the words within the documents as well.
If you prefer a clean desktop, wooden or metal cube storage is a fun alternative to bookshelves since each space can be used for books, knickknacks, or baskets of odds and ends.
9. Get Internet service
You may need to get or upgrade your internet service to accommodate your working-from-home tasks. Video calls can use a lot of bandwidth, especially if you’re working for a remote company that has dozens or hundreds of people on a video call. You don’t want to be the employee who constantly has a poor internet connection that causes a blurry video or interrupted audio.
10. Decorate. Decorate. Decorate.
One of the best parts of a home office is that you can dictate its decor to your tastes. Good decor won’t just make your office space feel more inviting, it’ll also improve productivity. A warm, welcoming environment improves productivity. One employee survey found that 83% of respondents said that artwork was “important” to their work environment. When choosing colors, follow color psychology and pick an energy inducing color, such as shades of yellow, orange and red. Avoid dark, dull colors that can make you feel less energetic.
Find inspiration for your home office decorations on MrOwl to get ideas on those special touches that will make your office into the nice inviting space that you want. Look for those extra special touches that can enhance the comfy feeling of your home office, like a pretty mug for a pencil holder, trendy notepads and sticky notes and a decorative wastebasket. Hang inspirational prints on the walls, whether that’s simply your kids’ framed artwork or a classic painting.
Setting up a home office requires a significant change if you’re used to working in a formal office setting. It takes a bit of planning and a bit of effort to make sure this space maximizes your efficiency and productivity. Whether your home office is designated space for running a business, the occasional telecommute, or simply a nook for paying bills and organizing your schedule, you deserve more than a metal desk and extra chair stuffed into a spare corner. An office that reflects the design and comfort of the rest of your home is a place you’ll want to burn the midnight oil.