Whether you’re using it to study, to work remotely, or to start your own home business, the needs of the home office always remain the same. You need to be able to work in it first and foremost. That’s why you need to treat it like a whole new area of the home. Even if it shares a room with another part of the home, that zone needs to be just right.
It’s not something you put in the room, itself, but it’s a feature that needs to be set in stone. For one, the room is work and for work alone. You can share a home office with someone easily if you have space for more than one workstation. You can’t share it with someone who’s just coming in to have a chat, however. If you’re running a home business, then make sure you set some rules for your own sake. Maintaining your work-life balance is important, so have clear work hours that you don’t work outside of.
Now looking inside the office, we need to think about what enables to be more productive and happier while you work. Your physical well-being is going to play a big role in that. Poor posture and seating plans can make you cramped and have serious effects on your back and joints. Ergonomic seats, desks with the right height, monitor placement and a bit of mobility are all qualities of office furniture you should be looking for. Otherwise, the hours spent in that office can do you a lot more harm than good.
When you think of the tools you’re going to be using in the home office, then the digital devices are an absolute must. These costs need to fit your budget, so instead of buying a new device, you could instead refurbish an older one, wiping it of all its data. If your home office is too far from your router to get a reliable connection, then you could look at how the best wifi extender can keep your connection stable and even make it much faster. Of course, most tech will fail at some point. It’s a good idea to have backups in the form of extra digital storage and a mobile device or two for when the computer goes down but you have to keep working on.
The best tools and best furniture might help you work more efficiently when you are working. But there are plenty of distractions that can get in the way of work, even when your family or housemates aren’t poking their head in. For instance, if you listen to music when you work, consider instrumental music which tends to be much less distracting than attention catching lyrics. Think twice about sitting near a window, if there’s a lot of activity which draws your focus away from your work, too.
Better office surroundings can make you feel a lot more at ease and even more productive when you’re working, too. Good lighting is essential. Natural lighting has been shown to have a positive effect on mood, while desk lighting that can compete with the glare of a monitor can reduce the risk of eyestrain. Similarly, think of colors and décor to the room that’s bright and energizing. If you design a hum-drum office, it can feel like it’s sucking the will to work right out of you.
Physical comfort is just as important as visual comfort. We’re not just talking about the office desk and chair, either. If you have moments where you’re not sitting at the desk, such as talking on the phone while having a pace, or writing plans and brainstorming, then a little extra comfort can make you feel a lot more pleasant in the office. A soft rug, a plush mini-couch, a fresh houseplant in the room. A bit of comfort goes a long way to offsetting the stress that can easily build during the working day.
It’s not all about your needs emotionally, but your practical needs, of course. One of the needs that every office has is the need for storage. You’re likely to have plenty of documents to print, plans to keep track of, and need for office supplies. A handy supply closet beside the desk can be a real help. Then for the wall, you can use things like cork boards that allow you to conveniently pin and revisit notes and plans without having to rifle through a filing cabinet for inordinate amounts of time.
A messy environment is not a good one to do work in. For one, if you have any clients or collaborators visiting your home office, it doesn’t give the best of impressions about your professional ability. But clutter and dirty surfaces also have a real effect on productivity and lowering your motivation. Too much dust and unhygienic surfaces are likely to make you ill more often, too. Besides giving the room a regular once over, you can make it a lot clearer so dirt and dust have less room to gather. Cable ties, for instance, can help you neatly arrange all the wires that most offices are going to have an abundance of.
Home security is important, but when your home is also your workplace, it’s even more crucial. Particularly if you’re running a home business, investing in a security system, in safes for the most important documents, and digital security measures, is vital. Then there are other risks to devices, like power surges that can not only fry devices but lead to serious fire and electrical risks. Simple accessories like power surge protectors can easily eliminate that risk entirely. Make a proper security risk assessment of the home office and see how you can better protect it.
The right home office can make you see all the joys of being able to work from your home. It can make you a lot more productive and a lot happier. Simply put, it might be the best workplace you’ll ever find.
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