With more and more people working from home, it is important to learn how to create a functional office space. Your line of work will determine what type of office is best for you, but here are a few basic tips on how to set up your home office.
Choose an Area to Set Up Your Home Office
When considering where you’ll put your office, first assess the possible locations in your home. The kitchen island may seem like a good place to set up multiple computer monitors, but the kitchen is often the most used room in a house with little privacy. If the kids are also home, you may not be able to work peacefully there.
An extra room, like a guest room or an attic, might be the ideal place to set up your office. If you use a bedroom that is away from the rest of the house, you’ll have a quiet place to focus. Plus, a bedroom has a door to close when privacy and focus are needed.
What do You Need in a Home Office?
Working from home allows you to plan a space to meet your needs. You can create a comfortable work area to boost productivity and improve your mood. Make a list of items you will need in the office. Generally, you will need a computer, a strong internet connection, and maybe multiple screens for maximum productivity. Is a printer necessary for your job? A sturdy desk and a quality printer stand with drawers to store paper and ink will come in handy.
If your home office is a good distance from your kitchen, you may want to add a small coffee maker and mini-fridge to reduce the number of trips through the house. Filing cabinets and shelving will be useful if you will be storing documents or other products of your work.
How Will You Use the Space?
Much of the layout of your office will depend on what you will do in the area. If you will be seeing clients in your home, plan for adequate seating. Will you need to have co-workers over to work on projects together? A large desk or table will provide a space to collaborate. If you’ll spend a lot of time on the phone or in virtual meetings, create an area that is quiet, private, and comfortable.
Make Your Schedule
Determine your work hours and make your schedule available to family members who share the house. Small children will be excited that you’re working from home but may have a hard time understanding boundaries and your availability. Post a schedule in the kitchen or on your office door. Use a Do Not Disturb sign for times when you cannot be interrupted.
Set your schedule for your own benefit too. Some workers find that the lines between office hours and family hours begin to blur. Choose the times you will be working and stick to your schedule. Have a morning routine that includes a shower and getting dressed before beginning each day. Creating balance is especially important when your office is in your home.
Set Up a User-Friendly Home Office
Don’t make sacrifices when working at home. Even if you expect to return to an office building in the future, invest in a comfortable chair and sturdy desk. Natural lighting is important but when windows aren’t an option, choose high-quality, full-spectrum bulbs. To prevent glare, don’t use overhead lights directly above a computer screen.
If you’re working in a busy or noisy home, wear noise-reducing headphones when you need to focus. Finally, keep your home office tidy. Clean up and organize often. Having everything in its place will help your workday go smoothly.