Every day, more and more people are realising the benefits that come with working from home, whether that be as individual small business owners or remote employees. Interconnectivity as at a point now where you needn’t be physically with anyone else to gain new information. Information board apps, instant messaging apps like Skype, task managers like Slack or Asana and better general internet connectivity worldwide has meant a shift in the traditional thinking of what a ‘workspace’ actually is.
Home Office Setup Ideas
Setting up your own home office does come with its own challenges. For the general majority, space is at an absolute premium meaning coming up with innovative ideas to make the most out of the space we have. In addition, having a home office brings unique distractions, and at times it can be difficult to separate your professional life from your personal one.
With that in mind, listed below are office set up inspirations and tips for what works best for those who choose to base themselves at home. Feel free to pick and choose and apply what’s relevant to you!
Keep Comfortable With A Proper Office Chair
If your work involves you sitting at your desk for most of the day then it’s imperative for both your comfort and your sanity you’ve got a good office chair. Dragging one in from the dining room may work for a day or two, but if you’re going to be based permanently from home then invest in a chair that’s both comfortable and ergonomic.
Spend some time doing some research online for one that’s both in budget and reviewed well. Drive out to your local office furniture supplier to try some out in person. One should never overlook the importance of a good chair!
Create A Private And Unique Business Line
You’ll find the lines between home and business begin to blur quickly when working from home. Create a degree of separation with a separate phone line for business enquiries. Your landline provider can install this with little to no fuss, and you’ll know when one phone rings it’s strictly business only.
Designate A Professional Phone Number
In addition to a separate line, your business line should have a unique phone number that’s memorable. Again, your telecoms provider will have this service available so while enquiring about a separate phone line in the home, find out how to create a unique number for your business. Depending on the cost, it can work out as a great investment. Nowdays you can do this using Voip lines and take the calls right there on your laptop.
Consider A Sit Stand Desk
Sitting too long leads to stiffness, leads to pain, leads to unproductivity. You need to alternate between the two during office hours. Sit stand desks are becoming increasingly popular with the work from home crowd as they seek to optimise their performance. If you’re on a budget, the Zen One standing desk is a great option as the price point is low yet it still has all the basic features to get you standing more often.
Mix it up by sitting on an exercise ball as well! We’ve got plenty of resources on the blog to help improve your comfort – check out our pain-free posture infographic.
Create And Stick To Office Hours
The term ‘9-5’ exists for a reason. Working hours are designed to give a better work/life balance. Those hours can get blurred when you’re working out of a home office. If you’re your own boss then setting up your own hours can be both a blessing and a curse, leading either to lethargy or overworking. Set up strict office hours like they would be anywhere else, and stick to them. If work starts at 08:30 and ends at 17:00 then ensure at 17:01 your PC is off!
Of course, this all depends on the work you do and the deadlines you set. It’s important you find a balance.
Stop Interruptions In Their Tracks
An issue you’ll run into when transitioning from traditional to a home office is being at home without supervision naturally leads to interruptions.
Make it clear to the members of your household that when you’re at work you’re in your office and are not to be interrupted. They may be offended at first, but they’ll understand it’s personal as you’re trying to make a living! Set boundaries before starting your day.
If it’s urgent then, of course, it’s different, but your family or roommates need to keep that professional line despite you being just metres away.
Turn The TV Off
As you’re working from home, it’s guaranteed there’s a TV in the house. And there’s no better productivity killer then the old’ gogglebox.
Especially these days with Netflix and embedded YouTube, meaning we’re never a click away from whatever we feel like watching.
During work hours ensure the TV is off and stays off. If anyone else wants to watch it, they need to with the volume lowered. If you want the news use Google. If there’s something that’s on you really want to watch then ensure you’ve made the time to watch it!
Double Check Your Insurance Policy
It’s dangerous to assume your renters or homeowner insurance policy covers your home office and its content. Read over your existing policy to know whether or not you’re covered for accidents that may befall office visitors like clients and delivery people. It may turn out you need to purchase a separate commercial liability insurance policy if you’re based permanently from home. In addition, find out if expensive items like printers and laptops fall under your home insurance or need to be listed separately. Better safe than sorry!
Separate Your Home And Your Office
If your office is a spare room in the house then remove all the items that make it a ‘room’ and keep it an office! As previously mentioned, the lines between ‘my house’ and ‘my office’ can easily blur, thus you need to ensure separation!
A key to set up success is close the door when you’re in the office and close it when you’re not to create a physical barrier between the two. Don’t eat or socialise in your office either, it’s for work and work alone.
Some start using their office space as storage for the rest of the house, and this can quickly go wrong. Your office is your office and every item in there needs to be there for a reason
Avoid Financially Confusing Business and Pleasure
Separate your business and personal checking accounts before beginning the day. This will save you both time and effort when it comes to tax season, not to mention throughout the year if some bills are due monthly or quarterly. In addition, if you need to be audited then having a separate business account means books are balanced easier.
Speak to your bank about creating a business account in your name as different fees and interest rates will apply.
Measure Your Potential Deductions
Creating a home office can prove to be a costly outing. Thankfully, working out a home office brings with it tax deductions for office expenses. Everything from your stapler, printer ink and scanner can get your money back during tax season so ensure you’re on top of receipts and invoices come tax season. Some small business has claim to an immediate tax deduction on any item under $20,000 that can be justified to boost the companies revenue and productivity – learn more here.
Get in touch with your tax agent or your tax governing body and ask them how best to approach home office deductions. You may find you’re eligible for specific tax cuts as most governments urge and encourage small business success.
Follow Procedures and Processes
Create a daily routine as you would in a normal office, then have a formal system of operations that you can follow. It needn’t be too formal or strict, but standardising processes like record keeping, time logs, admin tasks and email response times can help keep your office structured and running like a finely tuned machine.
Make It Your Own
You have to want to spend time there, you want your office to feel welcoming to you. Working from home means working however you want to, whether that be in jeans at your desk or in sweatpants on your couch. As long as you’re getting your work done it doesn’t really matter.
It’s also great because you get to choose what you’re listening to, the temperature, even the smells are up to you.
But comfort must be coupled with effectiveness. You’re not pretending to do business, this is how you make a living so your home office must work for you. It must be designed in such a way to get the best out of you. This is why no two home offices should be the same. As you grown and your business evolves, so must your home office.
Leaf It, Go Green!
Real plants do more than adding a colourful element to your office. They clear the air of toxins and keep a fresh supply of O2!
Don’t have a green thumb? Try indoor plants that are hard to kill like aloe vera and dracaena. Go down to your local nursery for some tips. Going green is both good for the air and the aesthetic!
Take the Time To Relax
Working in traditional office forces you to take breaks whether that’s for a meal or a meeting, but when working from home it can be hard to remember to do those things.
Take time out of each day to leave your desk and go outside, go for a coffee or watch some TV. Breaking up your day is important, and taking time out to not think about work is vitally important for your physical and mental wellbeing.
On Occasion, Break Up Your Routine
In the same breath, despite how awesome your home office is – sometimes getting away is the best thing for productivity.
Find a local cafe with wifi and work from there for a day. A change if scenery can let you look at things differently, and being around other people can help fill the social void that’s created when leaving a traditional office.
Create A Furniture Plan
As much as some of us would like the space, keeping your work and personal space separated can prove difficult if you’re staying in an apartment or small holding. In cases like these, you can make the most of your space by making your office do double duty.
Use a tablespace you already have like a dining room table or kitchen island to base yourself off during work hours. A small desk can also be a place to store files when need it.
While it’s not ideal, needs must!
Lighting Is Key
Often overlooked, good lighting influences how you feel in your home office which has a direct impact on how productive you are.
Natural lighting is best, especially during winter months. Otherwise, experiment with different light intensity and tones to find out which works best for you. Different globes can make a world of difference.
Keep It Colourful
Forget office beige or cream white. The colours inside your office have as much an effect on you as the lighting foes, so align those colours with your own personal style.
For some, that means bright and energising colours like lime green or violet, for others a more calming shade of aqua is better. You don’t want your colours to feel like they’re suffocating the space either, so make sure you take the time to research on pages like Pinterest for a tone that suits you best.
Colour also has its own psychology, evoking different emotional and physical reactions, so keep that in mind when choosing your paint or wallpaper.
Blues and greens feel peaceful, white minimises distractions, reds are energetic and purple inspires creative.
Ensure You are Pinterest Pragmatic
Sites like Pinterest can be great for inspiration but their ideas aren’t always practical in execution. We’ve all seen those expectation vs reality posts!
Small vintage school desks, hanging globes and old school chairs may look cool in photographs but are they really helpful when it comes to work? Function over aesthetics any day of the week. In addition, too much visual distraction can prove to be just that – distracting!
Think About Adding Artwork
Personalise your space with photos, paintings, certificates or anything else that’ll keep you inspired.
Whether that’s a gallery-style arrangement with a variety or a single statement piece as your focus, adding art into your home office helps to keep you motivated, adds a personal touch and can inspire creativity!
Remove The Tangle and Clutter
Avoid a mess by utilising as much wireless technology as you can. Mice, printers, monitors, keyboards and internet connections can all be done remotely, giving you more flexible furniture arrangements and keeping your home office space both visually appealing and tidy! our wireless platform phone charger is a must if you’re anti-cords!
In addition, doing a general clean at the end of each day (taking mugs to the kitchen, wiping down the surfaces) ensures your home office space never feels messy. Clean as you go, and make sure no one else leaves their rubbish in there either!
Vertical Space Is An Asset
Make the most of your vertical space by installing some floating shelves, plus they give you an opportunity to display the things you care about or things that inspire you. Floating shelves are an excellent alternative to bookcases when space is at a premium.
Make Small Changes
Even though we’ve detailed plenty of tips for setting up your home office, each is well and truly their own. If you find something that’s not working for you, then change it!
There’s little that well-reasoned thought, a bucket of paint, reorganisation or a few well-chosen accessories can’t fix. Over a single day or weekend, you can totally transform your home office.
Falling into a routine is easy, but a quick home office makeover can be just what you need!
Let’s Round This Up
For those that have liberated themselves from the old school office space, the benefits and perks are evidently great.
You’re liberated from your desk, your office is whenever you make it (a cafe, a library or even on your travels), and your morning commute can be done in a few steps. In addition, you have the ability and the flexibility to set your own tailored schedule and be more available for whatever life throws at you (as long as you’re available for client meetings and commitments of course!)
For a company, allowing staff to work from a home office has benefits towards a bottom line. The first step however in ensuring working from home benefits you and your business (whether that be your own or otherwise) is to create a comfortable and practical home office layout that reduces potential distractions and fully maximize productivity.
Make it your own, after all, it is your home!