Whether you’re an independent contractor or a remote worker, your home office has to be much more than a desk set up in an empty corner of your home.
Like any other serious workspace, your home office should be a dedicated environment set aside only for work tasks. If you’re setting up a new home office, or looking for a way to increase your efficiency while working at home, creating the right work environment is crucial for a positive work experience.
The Work Environment
Most will agree that the most important part of setting up a home office is to set aside a dedicated area that’s off-limits to everything except work tasks.
Setting up the laptop on the kitchen table might work for one day stuck at home during a snow emergency, but for working on a day-to-day basis you must be able to make that mental break from home to work mode. A separate environment is the easiest way to do this.
Your best option is to have a room with a door you can shut. Even if you only have a doorway, installing curtains over the empty space gives the feeling of a closed door. A closed door signals to others in your home that you’re working, as well as emotionally separating the space from the relaxing other parts of your home.
If you don’t have an entire room you can spare, try a walk-in closet or another small space you can set aside. If all you have is a corner of a main part of the house, build walls around your workspace with bookshelves or folding screens. Anything that gives the feeling of “going to work” will increase the mental separation from home, giving you a more businesslike mindset.
Home Office Equipment
Don’t shy away from spending money on solid, dependable office furniture.
You’ll be spending dozens of hours there each week, and it’s important that you’re comfortable while you’re working. Never cut corners on your desk chair, at the very least. Get one with a solid, comfortable seat, look for lumbar support in the back and find a version with arms for a variety of sitting positions. Your desk doesn’t have to be fancy, but find one that’s sturdy enough that it won’t begin to wobble within two or three months.
Your computer is probably the most important piece of equipment you’ll buy. The choice between desktop and laptop is a personal one, as is the choice between PC and Apple. Get what’s comfortable to you. Setting up a new office can be frustrating; learning a whole new computer will just add frustration to the situation.
Your Work Tools
Some of the tools in your home office will depend on the type of work you do.
If you create physical objects to sell in an online gallery, for instance, a good photography setup will be important. But whatever you do to earn your living at home you’ll have some basic office needs. Don’t make any of these an afterthought.
- A good printer setup. Printer/scanner combos are a great bargain today, so much so that everyone with a home office should be able to afford one. Not every home worker needs a printer, but if you deal with clients who insist on paper, you’ll need a printer you can rely on.
- A solid phone system. Find a way to completely separate your home phone or personal cell from your business phone. Even the most remote workers have a need to communicate with clients once in a while. Make sure they get a businesslike feeling from you.
- Multiple data backup methods. There’s nothing so disheartening as working on a project for a week, only to have a computer glitch eat the data at the last minute. Set up multiple backup methods and make a habit of using all of them, every time you work. Have a variety of methods, such as cloud storage, thumb drive, external hard drive and laptop memory. It only takes one incident to convince you of the wisdom of being over-prepared when it comes to saving data.
The Comfort Zone
One of the best parts of working from home is the ability to create your own work environment. According to Zooomr.com, a top car leasing and used cars in Delhi transaction platform, many of their employees work from home.
Sure, you’ve got to have the basic equipment installed, but you can also let yourself go to make your workspace your very own. Don’t forget to add some personal touches that make going to work a pleasure each day. Keep a rack of your favorite coffee mugs on hand, put an antique rug underneath your desk, post your favorite cheesy motivational posters or add a shelf full of nerdy action figures. Whatever makes you smile.
After all, what’s the use of working from home if it isn’t more fun than going to an office?