Some business people do their work every day at their business address; others work in less structured spaces, or while on the train visiting clients.
However, many ‘solopreneurs’ work days happen at home, and we have therefore put together some great tips for making the most efficient home office environment.
For anyone who has done the bulk of their work at home, they will know it’s not always easy. Take a look at these tips to creating the perfect home office.
Set a Schedule
Without doubt, one of the key attributes to successfully working from home. Trying your utmost to keep to set working hours will play a major role in keeping you on task and avoiding the distractions that working from home can bring.
Maintain Your Boundaries
Working from home can be great for freeing up more time with family, but it doesn’t help if your family is disrupting you constantly. Once you have a dedicated work space and set schedule, maintain the boundary.
Consider where you work best; do you need seclusion from the ‘thick of the activity’ in the household. If you have clients visiting you, then a professional private space with ample seating is a must.
Create a dedicated Home Office Space.
Remember the old adage, Location, location, location.
A home office will have many hours of use, so it is essential not to neglect yourself of the environment you deserve; this will enable you to work to your best performance… You need to feel inspired and motivated in your working environment, so do not squish yourself into a windowless corner to preserve a rarely used guest bedroom.
Your home office desk, home office chair, shelves, and home office storage should serve you, not the other way around. Carefully analyse your workflow and what items you need before investing in home office furniture, and then look for pieces that are both inspiring and functional.
Home office furniture should compliment other rooms and spaces in your house, and not scream “soulless space”. If your home has traditional décor, warm wood and soft, comfy chairs are ideal if you have the space; a contemporary home office can feature artistic pieces of modern furniture.
Treat yourself to great home office chair. You will spend hours in your office chair; an ergonomic, comfortable seat will be worth every penny.
Decorate your home office walls a colour that you love. Forget boring old ‘office white or magnolia’; you need a colour that gets your work motor humming. For some people, that’s a bright, cheery colour like orange or lime green. Others need a calming shade like grey or sea blue to perform.
Either way, you will be able to furnish your home office with wonderful, coordinating furniture.
Choose homely accessories. Unless you’re going for a contemporary look, choose extras that enhance the comfy feeling of your home office, like prints you find inspirational on the walls, whether that’s simply your kids’ framed artwork or a classic painting.
Many home offices aren’t blessed with a huge footprint, so using space efficiently is imperative by use of the right home office storage solutions. Office shelving and office cabinets will help to get papers and office equipment off your desk.
There’s not much you can do to beautify the computer, printer, and phone, but you can hide unsightly cords. Start by making sure your equipment is close to outlets and easy to access if you need to unplug. Feed cords into a desk grommet (this helps guide cords through a hole in the desk and hides them underneath). Use cable management to tame the cord jungle which can easily take hold and create a mess and a health and safety risk.
Cut down on eye strain and headaches with as much natural light as possible. Position your computer monitor so there’s no glare from a window or overhead light, monitor arms can help with this. Also consider a small lamp on your desk for task lighting.
Make your home office truly yours with a few cherished knick-knacks, a piece of framed art, a special photo on your desk; things that motivate you to be productive… Perhaps a photogrpah of your children that will remind you that you’re doing it all for them.
Be Well Stocked and Equipped
Don’t let yourself get unnecessarily stressed or distracted because you ran out of printer ink or can’t find a pen. Ensure you are set up to function as you would in a traditional office environment with the right supplies and equipment to function efficiently.
Clutter is distracting. It can also be frustrating when you can’t find the file you are looking for or are tripping over a printer. Try cutting down on non-essentials, keep cables and wires tidy, bulky machines out of sight, and your space clean.
Make Your Office Comfortable
Don’t neglect the importance of climate control; good old British weather dictates it will be hot or cold with few temperatures in between; don’t waste time being uncomfortable in your home office environment.
Keep a Pet
It can get a little lonely and isolated working from home. Having a pet around can keep you company and help relieve stress.
Let there be Music…
As mentioned previously, distraction can be one of the biggest perils of working from home. Play some background music to keep you focused and drown out other distracting noises.
Get dressed for work
It is essential to maintain a barrier between ‘work time’ and ‘down time’; if your are dressed for work it will instantly help your mindset and focus.
A little soundproofing can go a long way, and it’s really not as difficult as it sounds to add some basic soundproofing to your home office environment. Easy soundproofing items are bookcases, and plants; more complex solutions are available though.
Try an alternative desk solution
Any desk related work can involve a lot of sitting, but this is especially so in a home office environment; you don’t want a sedentary lifestyle to become a habit, for all of the health related issues we have previously discussed. A sit stand desk can help keep your metabolism up and promotes healthier working habits.
Keep some healthy snacks in the home office.
Procrastination can be your worst enemy when working at home; there’s no one around to bounce ideas off. Having some healthy snacks on hand around you can keep you focused and take away your excuses to go visit the kitchen.
Use Multiple Monitors
Using more than one monitor can make multiple projects easier to manage, and focuses you on one task at a time. Another benefit of extra screens is the immediate feeling of ‘genius mastermind’ that they create; just make sure that you take advantage of monitor arms to keep deskspace free.
Get Out Once in a While
We’ve already mentioned that becoming sedentary is a risk in a home office environment, but so is becoming a recluse. Make an effort to avoid bad habits… meet with colleagues and friends from time to time and avoid eating lunch ‘al desko’.
See, it’s easier than you might think to create a stunning home office solution… Some strategic, well thought through planning can open a wealth of great opportunities that working from home can offer.