How To Set Up An Effective Home-office Work Space


As Alison Krueger tells Entrepreneur.com, “offices are a thing of the past. Colleagues communicate via instant messages and bosses use tools like Skype and Base Camp to delegate tasks. Physical work spaces have become less important and, as a result, more people are working from home.”

Anyone who has set up a business or works regularly from their home will tell you that their work space is directly tied to their productivity, comfort and overall success. While some people might not have the funds to dedicate a whole room to their work space, others are able to turn a spare room or backyard shed into the home-office of their dreams. What ever your situation, getting your home-office right is the first step to success when working from home.

–Make yourself comfortable

It’s likely you’ve already got yourself a computer, otherwise you wouldn’t be running a business from home at all. Will Thomas from alternative online bank Eccount Money says that “the world has changed dramatically and irreversibly since the advent of high speed internet. Anyone can set up and run a business from home these days. With everything a business needs to run from banking, taxation, design, marketing and social networking all available with a few clicks of your mouse, you can move mountains from your living room.” But a good internet connection and a nice machine is only the beginning.

If you spend a lot of time at your desk either typing or scribbling, sketching or on the phone, you need to invest in an ergonomic work station. A flimsy desk will move every time you pull your chair in and likely spill your coffee, a cheap chair will result in discomfort and back problems. Apartment Therapy advice that when it comes to chairs, most people want “comfort and durability” and list their favourite office chairs, starting with the uber-stylish but expensive Steelcase Store, but also include Herman Miller, Humanscale, Knoll and Emeco.

If you can’t afford a new version of these stylish but also very well-made chairs, you can always buy them second-hand online at stores like Officecw.co.uk where you can pick up a high-end brand for much less than half price and pick up other office items like used desks and furniture. Don’t discount antique shops and charity shops when it comes to items like desks and bookcases.

A sturdy old desk will not only serve you well, but it will prevent your home-office looking like it came out of a corporate catalogue. Why not consider a stand-up desk? According to Mashable stand-up desks are the best way to avoid an early death, reporting on recent studies that suggest “those who sit for most of the day were 54% more likely to die of heart attacks.”

–Making the best of what you’ve got

Entrepreneur.com agree that renovating an entire room can be expensive. They suggest that “instead of completely converting the space, consider using a screen to set off one corner for work. Otherwise, set up shop in an isolated, sparsely used spot, such as an attic or basement.” Whether you’ve got a dedicated home-office or you’re using a quiet corner of the dining room, it’s wise to choose stylish furniture and decor. Apartment Therapy says, “orient yourself and furniture in the room so you’re most comfortable.

There are no constraints based on rules and requirements at the office - you can move your desk if you want to.” They recommend plenty of natural light but warn busy-bees to be “wary of monitor placement in relation to the window so you’re not dealing with glare coming off the screen” and suggest adding a few personal touches like photo frames and pot plants.

Keep the area tidy with filing cabinets and organisers, adequate bins and cable management. Pick up home-office storage with clean lines and without a spending a bomb at shops like Ikea and keep your eyes peeled at your local supermarket for cost effective storage ideas.

–Functionality

When you’re setting up your home office, make sure you consider what you spend most of your time doing. For those who spend all day on the computer, be sure to have a desk that will allow you to keep the screen at a comfortable distance from your eyes. Choose a sturdy desk with plenty of storage for paperwork, tax receipts, and to keep things like batteries, books, pencils and stationery.

For those who need a large working space for drawing or design, consider setting up a workshop in the shed or in an un-used attic space. You’ll get plenty of room to explore your creativity without the rest of the house paying the price. If you regularly have clients visit for businesses that offer consultations, then be sure to have an area like a dining room or space where you can receive clients without feeling as if you’re inviting them into your private life.
If you have the space, designate a small sofa with a coffee table clear of domestic detritus. Keep the nook or corner clean and tidy and use things like room dividers or large pot plants for demarcation. And while function is king in the home-office world, don’t forget style.
About the author: And while function is king in the home-office world, don’t forget style. In the words of Lisa Kanarek from Workingnaked.com  “the right window treatments, flooring and art you display can change the look and feel of your home office. Don’t forget about personal touches, including family photographs, gifts from friends or family, or a souvenir from your last trip.”

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