Working from home has many advantages, but it also presents several challenges that have to be properly addressed in order to stay focused on your tasks and be productive. It is an option considered by many who are rethinking their career choice. The reasons may be different, from being bored from constant commuting to simply enjoying the thought of being your own boss.
But the comfort of your home can quickly become something that makes it easier for you to procrastinate. This is why designing and building a home office has to be properly addressed. Home offices can easily turn out to be a blessing, but also a curse.
One of the greatest benefits of having your own home office is that you can decorate it and set it up just like you want. Though, keep in mind that in the end it should feel more like work than home, leaving you isolated from distractions of your everyday life.
This is why I have put together this list of steps you have to take into consideration if you want to build a perfect office that will have a positive effect on how much you work and the quality of work you get done.
Plan the Space
Your home office will be a place where you will be spending anywhere from 5 to 8 hours per day. So it has to be somewhere where you will have the space to turn around. A prison-like space can have a bad impact on your mood, and therefore on your effectiveness.
For this occasion, you can use home builder software tools that could help you preview what your office would look like without moving a thing. Having a 3D model of your house and future office in front of your eyes can provide you with better insight on how you want to arrange things.
The utilization of office space is also an important task. Cluttered space is one of the biggest problems you may experience if you don’t plan well.
Choosing a room for your home office is very important, because the position of the room plays a big part in how productive you will be. The room that has the least foot traffic during the day is your best choice. This way you will stay away from distractions.
Utilization of Space
With limited space available, you will have to be creative. For instance, the walls can be used to store files on shelves. The space under your office desk is a great place to put a filing cabinet in case you don’t have many drawers.
Plan for the unforeseen circumstances. When you decide how much space you will need, it won’t hurt you just to add a little bit more. You never know what else you might need in the office when you start working there.
Also, don’t forget why you wanted to have a home office in first place. It has to be designed in such a way that it is enjoyable for you. It’s always nice to have a few pictures in the room or you can also place decorative wallpaper to add some colors in your office.
The proper lighting of your work space is not only essential for productivity, but also for your health. Your primary choice should natural light. Therefore, a room with a window placed on east/north-east side of the house should be your first pick. Light plays a crucial role in keeping the mind focused. Besides that, light can also motivate you to work and a window with a view can help you rest your eyes and mind from work whenever it is necessary.
In case you can’t occupy such a space or you are a night owl, invest into proper lighting. There are many options when it comes to artificial lighting. So make sure to do some research and find the one that is best for you. Its color and the placing can cause your eyes to get fatigued much faster than usual.
The color of the walls in your home office also plays an important role. A good color in combination with proper lighting can do wonders for your motivation. It is a well-known fact that colors can influence our mood. Since there is no specific rule for this, find out yourself what colors affect your mood and in which ways, then choose the wall and ceiling paint accordingly.
The furniture for your office doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. If you have some old desk and chair that can be refurbished and used, go for it. But keep in mind that it still needs to feel comfy because you will be using it throughout the day. The basic office setup usually includes a desk with integrated storage, some swivel chair, storage unit and trash can. It is recommended to start with the basics and only when you absolutely need an upgrade to go and get one.
The usable area of the desk should be large enough so you can place your computer and work on any papers without the need to constantly juggle keyboard and mouse when you need to get something else done.
The only thing that’s is actually worth investing in is your chair. You will be spending hours and hours parked in it, so a well-designed and ergonomically correct one with a comfortable seat is worth every penny.
Since you are the one who is going to pay for the equipment, you don’t want to waste money on unutilized appliances in your office. Ideally it would be great to have a separate computer for doing your business. It can save you the trouble of losing data. But your old personal computer can also serve its purpose. Just create a new user account that will be used for business purposes only.
If you are going to use laptop, it might be a good idea to invest into some wireless hub. By doing this you will get rid of all those cables. Besides, with a wireless hub you won’t be only restricted to your desk.
If your work requires you to have a printer. You can get all in one printers. This way you will be able to scan, print and make copies by using only one device. On top of that, this solution will give you some space.
Investing in a separate phone line may be more expensive than getting a VoIP service when you already have an internet line in your home. Consider all the perks and costs before you make any definite choice. Also, try to avoid using your private line for business purposes. This will decrease the amount of disturbances and your clients won’t have to deal with a busy tone when someone else in the house is using the phone.
Manage the Cables
This is the most neglected part of designing and building a home office. People usually find out how essential it is when they need to make some changes, as this is when your productivity can become derailed. In order to prevent this and save yourself a lot of trouble, you can start by managing the cables from the very moment you move into your new office.
There are a few tricks that could be useful for you in this stage. For instance, if you need a two-meter cable, get the five one anyway. There might come time when you will find those few extra meters handy. Before that you can use some cable-shortening techniques to save up some space.
You should also avoid tangling the cables. Mixing up cords will leave you with a mess that you will have to sort out sooner or later. That’s why you should combine related cables together and put them in the unique patch that makes sense for you and your office. Also, make sure to tag the cables. You can do this by using a ribbon or an actual label. This will help you quickly identify the cable when you need to connect/disconnect or move them.
Go green. It is really not that hard to adopt the eco-friendly mindset. There are just few things to do that can help a lot. For instance, you can make sure that you have activated power saving features on your computer. Also, every time you are done with a day’s work you should switch your computer off, because even in idle or sleep mode it is still spending power.
If your space allows it, put an extra trash bin for the recyclables – you can cast any plastic and paper waste here. You can even step up your “green game” by getting office furniture made out of woods produced from recycled materials.
As you can see, all of this may sound too complicated at first. But let me assure you. If you do everything according to the plan, you will end up having a productive environment that everyone dreams of. There are many factors that may influence your effectiveness and concentration at home. This is the main reason why you have to cover all the grounds and make sure you don’t miss anything. If you like the concept of the home office, be sure to do some experimentation of your own and find what works best for your space and lifestyle.