Business10 tips to set up a home office

Mary ChapmanSeptember 19, 20199 min

Working from home promotes both comfort and efficiency. You have zero traffic jams, no office chatter and the option to dress in your pajamas if you feel like it.

Yet, if your home office isn’t set up right, you may not be as productive as you’d hoped.

Learn how to minimize distractions and promote efficiency with these ten tips for the ultimate home office.

1. Carve out physical space

Your home office doesn’t have to be large to be functional. But what it must have is separateness. If you just plop your laptop on the kitchen table, you risk being distracted by the dishes, the doorbell and each person who comes in for a snack.

Having a separate space for your office also allows you to turn your work brain off when you aren’t working. Ideally, you want to be able to close the door when you’re done.

A guest bedroom, the basement, or even a repurposed closet can all work well. If you must have your office space in a communal area, choose a functional armoire that can close up when you aren’t at your desk.

Also, aim to keep your work documents in your work area. Don’t let yourself get in the habit of bringing your papers into the kitchen, bedroom or TV room.  This is another positive way to promote work-home balance.

2. Choose paint colours that move you

No need to choose boring beige because that’s what you’re used to in an office space. One of the perks of a home office is that you can let your personality shine.

Don’t be afraid to paint an accent wall a daring hue. It’ll invigorate and energize you as you work.

3. Get the right equipment

One of the most important considerations for your home office is the right tools. Depending on your type of work, this may include a large table with enough space to spread out and a decent amount of storage.

Usually, a fast computer on a secure network with high-speed internet is a must.

As far as printers and scanners go, carefully consider if you will use this equipment every day. If you won’t, perhaps visiting your local copy and print store once a week is a better option.

4. Emphasize ergonomics

Another crucial home office aspect is proper ergonomics. You won’t have a health and safety team coming around to inspect your workstation at home. So, you need to make sure your workspace provides enough support to reduce stress on your body while you work.

Invest in a good ergonomic chair. You might want to choose a sit-stand desk to help reduce the amount of time you sit to work.

Wrist supports or an ergonomic keyboard are also great tools to have to prevent muscle strain.

5. Install good lighting

Good lightning is essential for your home office. Try to let in as much natural light as you can. Supplement the sunlight with in both overhead lights and  task lighting such as a desk lamp.

Install a dimmer so you can control the amount of light in your workspace.

6. Focus on organization

Even if you aren’t a stickler for tidiness, an organized home office is necessary to help you be productive. You may want to opt for a small storage cabinet that you can store your files in. Or perhaps a small bookcase can do the job.

If space is at a premium, don’t overlook vertical space. Hanging shelves, cork or white boards can all help keep you organized without taking up floor space.

7. Bring in a couple of plants

Plants clean the air and boost your mood. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can enjoy the benefits of greenery with succulents or hardy plants such as aloe vera or Chinese evergreen.

8. Add inviting elements

Your home office doesn’t have to look like it belongs on the cover of a magazine, but you do need to create a space that you want to spend time in. Whether that means adding in a comfy throw blanket or some art deco prints on the wall, find ways to make your home office a space that motivates you.

9. Protect your home office

When you work from home, it’s important to ensure you have adequate protection. This includes proper network security, power surge protectors, a shredder and a safe, if necessary.

Working from home gives you a lot of freedom, but not permission to be lax about security.

10. Get adequate insurance

Don’t just assume that your homeowner’s policy will cover your home office. Find out if your current policy includes liability coverage for business visitors such as clients and delivery personnel. You might need a commercial liability insurance policy. Check to see if you have property coverage in the event of theft or damage to your office equipment.

Working from home is a wonderful perk that has many benefits. But if you don’t set up your home office right, you can end up working more, having less time with your family and feeling overwhelmed. Your effort in designing and planning your home office now will set the course for smooth sailing as you begin your time as a remote worker.

Mary Chapman

Graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honors BA English Specialization and has completed several publishing courses at Ryerson University. She is a proofreader, editor, and content writer based in London, Ontario.

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