Working from home is certainly nothing new, but it’s been becoming more and more popular lately. It provides a work/life balance that can rarely be achieved anywhere else, but in order to work effectively out of your home, there’s one important thing that you’ll need: a home office.
While you might able to work at your breakfast nook or dining room table, more often than not you’ll need your own, separate space in order to work efficiently. Designing an office because you work at home is much different than designing an office for homework space or someplace for you to do taxes and pay bills. In order to create the perfect home office, it will take some planning.
How You’ll Use Your Office
Before you begin, it’s important for you to understand exactly how you’ll be using your office. Sure, you’ll be working. But will you have clients? Do you need a private space where you can really get down to work, without being interrupted? These are all important considerations, and there some other questions you should ask yourself before creating your home office space.
· How will you be using the space? What will you be doing?
· What type of work will you be doing?
· Will you be storing reference material?
· What kinds of equipment are you going to need?
· Will you be taking conference or video calls?
· When will you be working?
Once you have the answer to these questions, you can start creating your home office. It’s important that your home office meets your needs, without offering anything that you won’t need, or that could potentially be distracting. If you’re going to have a computer, printer, and fax machine, you’re going to need enough room, and a phone line.
Separate Work and Life
More importantly, you’re going to want enough room in your home office to keep all of your work there. You don’t want work bleeding out into the rest of the home, just as much as you don’t want your home coming into your home office. This means that you’ll need to have planned to have enough space in your home office. If you use a lot of files or reference materials, keep them in your office. You don’t want to break up your routine or productivity by having to go to another room to get something you need for work.
There’s another benefit of keeping your work in your office, and not in your home. A big part of working from home is typically so that you can have a better work/life balance. You need to be able to leave your work in your office. When you leave, you are done working. When you are out in your house, work isn’t present. On the other side of the coin, when you’re in your office, you are at work. Home life doesn’t enter, just like you wouldn’t be bothered if you were at an actual office.
With this, you’re going to want to create “business hours” for yourself. Creating a schedule, or routine, will help you further keep work and life separate. Blurring the two together is a big issue that most home workers encounter, and you could easily find yourself working all of the time, instead of spending time with your family. Or, you could even be avoiding work too much. Your home office is one level of separation. Creating hours for yourself is another level, and it will make working out of your home office that much more manageable.
Mistakes to Avoid
When you work from home, it’s easy to fall into certain traps or mistakes. You might want to put a television in your office, so you can keep up on the game, stock market, or your favorite show. This is a big distraction, and brings your home life into your work life.
· Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can tune out something. Keep the television out of your office. Keep anything out of your home office that you wouldn’t have at a corporate office. This will minimize distractions, and help you switch into the mindset that you’re at work.
· Plan for enough storage. As previously mentioned, it can break up your productivity if you have to leave your office for work materials. Keep everything you need for work in your office.
· Nothing’s more frustrating when trying to work than having your equipment be too slow.
This is your income, so make sure that your computer works, and works well. You might need to spring for better networking options, so you can avoid slow or disconnected internet or WiFi.
· Manage your wires. This one might be small, but cable management can be important. A neat workspace will let you focus easier, and if you’re constantly having to shuffle wires around, or they’re visually distracting, find a way to manage them and hide them.