Whether you do freelance work or are self-employed, your home office is important to your everyday life. You can’t afford to let key aspects like functionality and organisation fall to the wayside during hectic workdays.
If you want to be able to work comfortably and efficiently in your home office, as well as enjoy working in it, there are some things you need to keep in mind when setting it up.
Create a functional space
When designing your home office, it should not only be practical and useful, but also fit your professional requirements. For example:
- Freelance writer – Create an open space that lets in enough natural light and invest in organisational accessories to help you meet deadlines.
- Freelance graphic designer – Use a large desk to work on your illustrations and add storage for your drawing tools. Also consider pinning illustrations on a corkboard and hanging wall prints to give you inspiration.
- Accountant – Invest in smart storage to help you organise all the paperwork you have for various clients.
No matter what your profession is, you should invest in an ergonomic chair, a desk, a telephone, stationery, storage and hardware such as computer, USBs, hard drives, printers, photocopiers or scanners. Additionally, choose a room with windows to let in fresh air and natural light or use lamps or task lights to help you see better. Proper lighting can reduce eye strain, allowing you to work longer and more safely. Also invest in fans for extra fresh air and to keep you cool on hot days.
With a well-lit and well-ventilated office that has everything you need, you’ll have a functional space to work in.
Be storage smart
Having all your papers and office supplies organised can help make you more productive. Here are some smart ways to store your things:
- Install built-in shelves above your desk to store computer manuals or backup disks.
- Use filing cabinets to store files and add labels on the files.
- Invest in pencil cups and desk trays to store stationery.
- Use storage baskets or boxes to store papers and work-related mail.
- Add bookshelves or divider walls that double as bookcases to store reference books and hardware.
- Use card holders to store your memo and business cards.
You can also use shelves to store your files, and with a filing system you won’t have to waste time looking for what you need. Additionally, transform other empty spaces or corners in the office into storage areas.
Working at home means you can wake up later, choose your work hours and not have to commute every day. But it also comes with distractions, whether it’s your family, pets, clutter, or the way you set up your home office.
Here are some tips for minimising distractions:
- Tell your family about your work hours and to not disturb you during these times unless it’s an emergency.
- Keep your pet in another room and only feed it when you’re on a break.
- Don’t put non-work-related items in the office, such as household bills, junk mail, and a television or musical instrument.
- Put all of your office supplies in storage instead of having them lying about everywhere.
- Don’t just hang posters, photos or paintings on the walls, also hang a corkboard and calendar to help you stay focused and organised.
- Add plants to give yourself something non-distracting to look at.
- Shield your home office from nearby areas with portable screens or divider walls if it’s not in a closed room.
- Install air filters and low fans, which operate at a quiet speed, to muffle other noises.
- Add signage (eg ‘Quiet please’ or ‘No interruptions’) somewhere by the office if it has no door to remind your family that you’re working.
The less distractions there are, the more focused you’ll be.
Secure a fast Internet connection
Imagine working on the computer and you need to send an urgent email to a client, only to find out that the Internet is so slow that you can’t open your email account or attach a large file. This is one of the worst things that could happen to you while you’re working, especially if your job relies heavily on the Internet. To prevent this from happening in the future, sign up to a nbn (National Broadband Network) plan, which has a fast Internet connection speed, giving you peace of mind.
Set office hours (and stick to them)
Whether you choose to work from 9am to 5pm in your home office, or a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night, make sure to stick to it. This’ll allow you to balance your work and personal life, as well as help you to organise your day and be more productive.
Make your home office work for you
Aside from the benefits of working at home such as a flexible work schedule, there’s nothing better than having a home office that boosts your productivity and you enjoy working in. So if you follow these simple steps to setting up your home office, you can make it work just how you need it.