10 tips on setting up a home office

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You’ve started your own business and now have the excitement of setting up a home office.

Few freelancers give the importance of their new home-based working space a second thought.

Yet they could be spending over 40 hours a week conducting their business from it, so it’s important that the space is comfortable and away from all the distractions on offer at home which you wouldn’t come across in a typical office.

Here are 10 simple tips that may help you set up the perfect home office:

Plan, plan, plan

First, calculate the amount of space needed. Decide where to have your uncramped office: perhaps a spare bedroom, shed, cellar or garage. If there’s not a separate room available, make a dedicated space in your lounge. If you simply float from the sofa to the dining table you are likely to struggle to get organised.

Invest in the right chair

Get one that supports your back properly. Posture is key. It’s worth splashing a bit of cash; investing in a good chair will be cheaper than having to pay private chiropractors’ bills for a damaged back. Ensure that your chair is positioned properly to stop you straining your neck to view the screen.

Position your desk

It’s no good having a desk where you will get glare intruding on to your screen, and similarly you don’t want to spend all day staring at a wall. Choose a space near a window so you get some natural light, as studies show this can make you more productive.

Clean and lean

Reduce clutter. Have a bin nearby. You’ll perform better with a tidy office. Give it an airy feel. Bring in some plants, which are proven to lessen stress rates as well as increasing productivity. Multi-purpose apparatus, such as a three-in-one printer, copier and scanner can save space.

Embrace technology

Super-fast broadband is a must. Keep it wireless. But if you are wire-heavy, ensure that you have several plug sockets available. Invest in at least one battery back-up (or UPS) for your computer. Keep your laptop mobile via docking stations, which leave your desk clutter-free. Use a USB hub to route your printer, mouse, keyboard, card reader, etc. This way, your laptop will only have one line.

Let there be light

Make sure there’s not too much light or too little. Too much light can be overpowering. Perhaps opt for a blackout roller shade. Too little light can strain your eyes, causing headaches and tiredness. Flexible desk lamps can help you get the balance right.

Take stock

Working in an office you typically just have to visit the stationery cupboard if you need something, but at home you’ll have to provide your own pens, notebooks and printer ink. Make a ticklist of items you think you’ll need on a regular basis and then undertake a monthly inventory so you don’t accidentally run out at the wrong moment.

Be organised

Non-digital methods of organisation can still be a great, visible back-up to digital ones. A big wall planner and dry-wipe whiteboard keep you on target and focused daily.

Make communication a priority

Working from home, you’ll need to have effective ways of keeping in touch with clients and any business partners. Have dedicated mobile and landline phones which are separate to your personal numbers, so you can switch them off outside of working hours. You can also make use of technology such as Skype and instant messaging services.

Think about storage

Shelves, bookcases and filing cabinets are key to organising your home office. But for work items that you don’t need access to every day, store them away from your work area, reducing clutter. Make use of that big cupboard under the stairs, the garage or even a well-kept shed.

 

Posted by the Secret Businessman