Many of us dream of working from home. We want to start our own businesses out of our house. Making money for ourselves while working flexibly around our families. Or even start working as a freelancer, building client lists and enjoying a more flexible way of working. More of us than ever are shunning traditional employment for this way of life and even those of us that do still work as employees would still like the opportunity to work from home at least some of the time.
But, working from home isn’t always as easy as we want it to be. Before we get started we dream of sitting on the sofa in our sweats, working on our laptops while we binge on our favourite shows on Netflix. Or else playing with our children between tasks, enjoying the freedom that comes with not having to pay for childcare. The realities are often different.
Working from home can be tough. Your house is filled with distractions. While working and watching TV is lovely for a time, you’ll never work at your best if you can’t give your job your full attention. Other people can be off-putting, and you can’t always choose when you want to work. You might find that important files get lost and that you can never find a pen. People often find that working from home is stressful and tiring. That they can’t focus, or that they take on much more work than they had planned. That they work all of the time and never allow themselves to take time off. They spend less quality time with their friends and family instead of more, but their work still suffers due to a lack of focus. Working from home can seem like the ideal world, the best of both worlds. But for many, it ends up being the worst.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix to make working from home everything that you dreamed of. But, the right home office can help. A home office that’s well designed and laid out gives you a place to focus — a place that’s your own, away from family life. Somewhere to keep your files and stationery safe. And somewhere to work, without interruption. Having an office can help you to improve your work-life balance and even encourage you to clock off and leave work behind for the night when you close the door behind you. If starting your own business, or making more money from home is one of your goals for 2019, here are some of the things that you need in your home office to ensure that it’s a productive space that helps you to reach your goals and inspires you to succeed.
Location, Location, Location
Unfortunately, not all of us have got a spare room waiting to be turned into the perfect home office. You might have a tiny box room or even a closet that you can convert. But, many of us don’t even have a small room that we can squeeze a desk and chair into. In this case, you’ll want to consider your options carefully.
Often the lounge is the biggest space. But, adding a desk to the back of your family room isn’t always the best option. This is the room where your family spends most of their time. It’s filled with noise and mess. You’ll be facing constant distraction, and you won’t be much more focused than you would be on the sofa.
The bedroom can also be a poor choice. You might find it hard to switch off and sleep if you start to think of your bedroom as a workspace. Think about the other rooms in your house. Do you have wide hallways, that you could divide to add a small office? Is there a space under your stairs that could be emptied out and opened up? Do you have a large kitchen or dining room? Even a garage that you don’t use could be ideal. Of course, ultimately, it depends on the space that you have available but think carefully before just throwing a desk at any wall.
Keep it Well Stocked
If you want to work productively, you need to be able to sit and focus without having to leave the room to get things that you need every ten minutes. You’ll need a computer or laptop, paper, a printer, and cheap toner, pens, and paper and anything else that’s specific to your business. You might also want to keep some snacks and drinks to hand in case you want to take a break.
Think of Your Comfort
To work well, you need to be comfortable, both when you are working and when you are resting. Add a sofa or comfortable seat to your office space if you can, perhaps with a side table. This gives you an easy way to take short breaks when you need to, and an excellent setting for meetings. Then, make sure your desk and chair are ergonomically set up, that they support your back, and that you can sit for a long time in comfort.
Brighten Things Up
Whether we are working at home, in an office, in a shop or in a warehouse, we work more productively when things are light. White walls, light decorations, bright lighting, and natural light sources can all help us to stay focused and alert even when we start to feel tired. If possible, set your office up close to a large source of natural light. But, either way, make sure the walls are light and that you have lamps as well as overhead lights.
Make Sure You’ve Got Storage
A cluttered desk can make it hard to concentrate and work. It can also look unprofessional and messy and can cause you delays in your day as you try to find things that you need. Make sure that your office space has plenty of storage so that it’s easy to keep tidy and organised.
Add Calming Touches
A productive home office doesn’t need to be impersonal. Add some things that make you happy and relaxed. These could be plants, accessories, photographs, artwork, and textiles.