If you’re going to work from home, setting up a home office that works for you is incredibly important. It’s where you’re going to be spending a large part of your working day, so you want to make sure you’re going to be productive.
However, what works for other people might not work for you. Get the perfect set-up with these five tried-and-tested home office tips.
1. Shed some light
Whether you like to get up at the crack of dawn or prefer to get your work done in the evening, it can be hard to concentrate if you don’t have the right lighting. But if your place is small or your windows out of reach, how to set up your home office for optimum lighting?
Natural light is often touted as a way to improve productivity and concentration, so if you tend to work later on in the day, can’t set up your home office by a good-sized window, or the murky British weather doesn’t yield much light anyway, you might want to consider a daylight lamp.
If you decide a daylight lamp isn’t for you, make sure you adjust your lighting at home so that it isn’t so dark as to make you drowsy and cause strain on your eyes, but also not so bright that it’s off-putting and likely to give you a headache.
2. Desk isn’t always best
When most people think of a home office, they imagine a desk in a small room, but that sort of setup isn’t for everyone.
While you may want to set aside an area to keep important documents – a drawer, filing cabinet, or just a single ring binder – you don’t have to spend all your time sat at a desk if you don’t feel productive there. It’s equally possible to work well from your dining table, your sofa, or even outside, if the weather is nice enough.
And remember you don’t have to stay in one place. If you move from your desk to the sofa to a coffee shop and back again, that’s fine, so long as you’re getting work done.
So before you invest in that fancy desk chair, think about where you actually work best. If you’re just buying it in the hopes it will make you use your desk more, maybe the desk approach isn’t for you.
3. Surround yourself with things that make you happy
One of the benefits of working from home rather than in an office is that you can create a space that is suited to you.
Whether that means filling the place with plants, hanging a two metre canvas on the wall and drawing on it when you feel stuck, or simply cuddling up with your dog or cat, the more positive you’re feeling about the space you’re in, the better you’ll be able to work.
The internet is awash with all sorts of home office decorating tips, but if you’re a traditional office sort of person, great! Knowing that’s how you work best means you know how to create a setup that works for you.
4. Know what distracts you and keep those things at bay
One of the dangers of working from home is that it’s very easy to be distracted. There’s always laundry that needs doing, a dog that needs walking or something else niggling at you when you’re trying to work.
If you are the kind of person who likes to have a particular room set up as an office then it’s easy to close the door and focus on your work, but not so much if you tend to wander around or like to sit on a sofa.
Music can help, if you have animals, children or even a partner who might prove distracting otherwise. If you know which room you’re going to be working in, see if you can tidy it ahead of your working day so you won’t be tempted to do so instead of replying to emails.
5. Don’t beat yourself up for having an unconventional way of working
Most importantly, don’t feel guilty for not having a ‘real’ office, or worse, feel that you can’t start your business until you have a proper office set up. There will always be gadgets and gizmos coming out that claim you can’t be organised or productive or successful without using them, but that’s just not the case.
While it is of course important to keep hold of important documents, you needn’t force yourself into a conventional set up if it doesn’t work for you, or if it would be too time-consuming or expensive to create. Many people don’t have the income to spend on a property with a separate room to be used as an office or study, but that in no way needs to impact your business.
Do you have any tips for home office perfection? Let us know in the comments.