Working from home is a double-edged sword. On one hand there is less pressure, particularly if you are your own boss, and you don’t have to deal with office politics and people you might not like; on the other hand it’s easy to slack off and you don’t have a work-like environment. You are best of going down to the garage, basement or dedicating a specific room in the house for use as a home office. This way you can have privacy and a clear line separating your private life from your work. It’s not that difficult to set up a decent little office in your home, but it is best to take your time and put some effort into it as the quality of your office space will greatly affect your productivity later on. In this article we are going to address some issues like privacy, amenities, equipment, design and functionality, in order to give you some idea of how to effectively set up an office at your home.
It’s an office, not a man-cave, beauty parlor or a rec room
I know that there is a trend of making offices more informal in order to reduce stress and help get the creative juices flowing, particularly with companies like Google, but working at home is already as informal and relaxing as it gets. Adding a pinball machine or a TV is going to be counterproductive; you can always go to the living room and relax when you are done working. That being said you will be able to personalize your space far more than you would at a company office, and you can design it however you like as long as the décor stimulates you without distracting you. You can go for something more colorful, add some flowers, a painting or two, speakers to play some music that gets you in the right mood, posters, figurines, your favorite tea set – just remember not to go overboard. Imagine you where an executive and that people will be coming into your office on a daily basis and decorate accordingly.
You need to have enough room and enough privacy
Telling your husband or wife: “Honey I’m working now, go about your day as if I wasn’t here” and then sitting five feet away from them, typing away at your laptop, simply isn’t going to work – they will want to talk to you and things will come up that require your attention. This is why I recommend a basement or a garage. A small structure separate from the house seems to work best for people; however the garage is the most common option. You can really fix up a garage and make it your headquarters, a place that you will feel comfortable spending 8-9 hours a day in. To truly make it work you will need to invest a bit of money. A quick fix is to have a modular bathroom pod installed – it’s essentially a compact bathroom with all the essentials that can be transported to you and assembled very quickly – and having a microwave, small fridge and coffee machine set up in your new office space. That way you have all the essentials right there with you and you can clock in a full shift without having to leave your office constantly to get food or go to the bathroom.
Buying the right furniture and equipment
For a lot of people working at home, like bloggers for example, a computer, desk and chair are all that is really needed to perform their jobs effectively. Others may require additional equipment like filing cabinets, shelves, a safe, proper lighting, a printer and so on. When buying furniture and equipment you want to get the most cost-effective items you can. This doesn’t simply mean cheap – it means that it’s good enough to do its intended job, and is of the best quality available for the price. A good office chair is something worth investing a bit more on since you need it to last and to provide good support for your back. I recommend mesh chairs, coupled with a sturdy wooden desk, a moderately priced laptop, a good lamp and some cheap office supplies as a good basic office kit for almost any line of work.
With all this in mind you can set out to create your optimal work environment. Feel free to customize it to fit your needs and preferences, but always make sure you have privacy, a serious work atmosphere, and all the little commodities that you will need during a long day of hard work.